Welcome to the new teachers at Caledonia Public Schools: Alex Lange, Stephanie Fingerson, Megan Sager, and Mitchell Bechtel.
Alex Lange, 9th grade civics and 11th grade geography
Alex Lange is the new 9th grade civics and 11th grade geography teacher at Caledonia Public Schools.
This is Lange’s first year teaching. He was a substitute teacher at many schools in the area last school year, for various ages and subjects.
Lange, a Fillmore County resident from Harmony, is the youngest of four siblings. He graduated from Fillmore Central and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
When asked why he selected Caledonia Public Schools, he explained, “Caledonia is the perfect school district for me to teach at because they have strong academics along with strong athletics. I would love to coach someday as well.
“I believe that students should enjoy the learning process and that life skills are very important for students to learn as well,” Lange said.
Asked about the impact of COVID on teaching, Lange commented, “COVID has impacted everyone in the world, and in many ways, it has affected teachers in the same ways – not being together for instruction, not seeing the faces of the students. Hopefully, as time goes on, things will continue to improve and become more normal again.”
Stephanie Fingerson is the new kindergarten teacher at Caledonia Elementary.
Fingerson was born and raised in Rochester, Minn. Her parents live in Rochester, plus she has a half-sister, who live in Texas with her husband and children.
Fingerson went to high school at Dover-Eyota High School in Eyota, Minn., and graduated in 2015. Fingerson explained that she went to Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) for post-secondary classes during her last year of high school. She graduated with an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from RCTC in 2016. Then, she transferred to Winona State University-Rochester and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2018, and entered a program called the Graduate Induction Program (GIP). In 2019, Fingerson graduated with her Master of Science degree in Elementary Education.
She taught for one year at Elton Hills Elementary School in Rochester in a 4th-grade classroom while working on her master’s. Then, she taught students from kindergarten through 5th grade at Kindercare in Rochester. At the same time, she was a substitute teacher and general education paraprofessional at Hoover Elementary School in Rochester. In her homeroom, she also taught 5th grade science and language arts for one year at Chatfield Elementary School and Action 100 (independent reading) and social studies.
Asked about her reasons for accepting a teaching position at Caledonia Public Schools, Fingerson said, “I love working with children and have had teaching experience along with experience working with kindergarten students through teaching Pre-K/K Sunday School for 10 plus years and working in a daycare center for four years (taught toddlers to 12-year-old). The change of pace and going from teaching intermediate students to primary is interesting to me. I have always wanted to set up a Kindergarten classroom and teach students the necessary skills to ‘do’ school. Caledonia is still relatively close to Rochester (hometown), but far enough to start settling into my own life.
“Children learn in different ways. All students have different wants and needs and different learning styles, whether visual, auditory, hands-on, writing, etc. I believe teaching to the Minnesota state standards, having learning targets up in the classroom, and having many different formal and informal assessments play a vital role in a student’s education. Creating relationships with the students, parents, and staff is the key to success. The teacher needs a relationship with the student before any learning starts. I also believe a teacher should be organized, ready to go, helpful, and respectful, among many other character traits,” Fingerson said.
Reflecting on how COVID has impacted her classroom, Fingerson noted, “COVID has and will impact the classroom. Whatever challenges come this year, I will try to implement strategies to help my students learn the best they can. For example, I have incorporated hand washing, putting on hand sanitizer, social distancing, cleaning tables, and (at this current point) recommended mask-wearing in my classroom.”
Meagan Sager, grades 1-5
Meagan Sager, the new 1st-5th grades special education teacher, grew up in Chisago City, Minn. Her older brother lives in Seattle, Wash.
Sager attended high school at Chisago Lakes and continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
She previously taught at Northside Elementary school in Blaine, where she was a setting three special education teacher in grades K-5.
Sager shared why she said yes to the teaching position at Caledonia Public School. “I recently moved to Hokah and was looking for special education teaching positions in the area when I came across the position at Caledonia Elementary. The position of special education teacher and behavioral specialist is exactly what I had been looking for. It is the perfect fit.
“My teaching philosophy is that all children have the ability to learn, and we need to help them discover and utilize the tools that work for them,” said Sager.
“COVID-19 has and will continue to impact my classroom as children experience hardships that come from the pandemic,” shared Sager.
Mitchell Bechtel is the new 6th grade Minnesota history, 7th grade U.S. history, and 8th grade geography teacher. Bechtel grew up in Eitzen and attended Caledonia Public Schools. After high school, he went to college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
“Since I grew up in the area and my family still lives here, it is great to be back. My mom works at the local clinic, and my younger brother is currently a junior in high school, so it is great to be able to watch his last couple of years of sports and even be able to coach him some,” shared Bechtel.
Bechtel said he accepted the position at Caledonia Public Schools due to the culture and environment of the school. “The teachers and community support the school the best that they can. It is also great to give back to a community that had given so much to me as I was growing up and in my younger school years. It is great to be back home!” he said.
“I believe that students should have a voice in the classroom. I want my classroom to be as student-centered as possible and I want students to feel that they have a large role in what goes on in the classroom. It is my role to guide and assist students along their path of knowledge and learning in the classroom,” Bechtel said.
Regarding how COVID will impact his classroom, Bechtel said, “COVID, like with every job, does impact my job/classroom. There are many activities and lessons that I would love my students to take part in, but COVID has created another element that we as teachers must plan for. COVID, however, has also created some positives in the way my teaching has developed; I am now able to include a lot more ways to involve technology into the classroom.”
Here’s to the new teachers. Have a great year!