Lanesboro Public School welcomed five new teachers to its staff with the beginning of this school year: Alexa Horihan, Emily Goodnow, Lori Crum, Michelle Leon, and Kirsten Bakke.
Alexa Horihan, originally from Houston, Minn., graduated from Houston High School, and went to college at RCTC and later WSU, Rochester. After graduating in 2020, she chose not to teach her first year out due to COVID. The following year she was hired at St. Peter’s School in Hokah to teach preschool for two years. She then taught second grade at Fillmore Central for a year before coming to Lanesboro to teach sixth grade math, science and spelling.
Alexa was drawn to teaching by the relationship she formed with many teachers as they helped her as she grew up. She chose K-6 because she’s always loved being around kids and seeing them learn new things.
Horihan is looking forward to “getting to know the staff better and the community that Lanesboro School has built.” She sees making the jump from second grade to sixth grade and familiarizing herself with the sixth grade curriculum as one of her biggest challenges this year.
Horihan’s goals for the year include building relationships with staff and students and learning more about the upper grades.
In her spare time, Alexa enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, golfing, and spending time with her nephew Kameron.
Her family includes her mom, dad, two brothers (and hopefully soon-to-be sister-in-law, according to Alexa) and her nephew Kameron.
Alexa is making the short commute to Lanesboro School from her home in Rushford where she lives with her roommate Brooke and her two dogs, Pebs and Whitney.
Emily Goodnow comes from a family dedicated to education. Both of her parents are teachers; education has always been “something heavily valued in the household.” She had “super positive experiences with her own teachers growing up which played a big role in her decision to become a teacher.
Emily grew up in Wyoming, Minn. She recently graduated from Winona State with a degree in Elementary Education along with a license in Early Childhood. While she has several years of experience in early childhood care, this is her first-year teaching in an elementary school. Emily will be teaching third grade in Lanesboro.
Goodnow began working at a daycare when she was about 15 years old. She loved going to work each day and quickly realized she wanted to continue working with children in the future. Originally she began college as a nursing major, but soon changed her major to elementary and early childhood.
Emily lives in Winona, Minn.; she enjoys doing things outdoors – she particularly enjoys hiking Sugar Loaf and walking the lakes in Winona as well as walking her dogs when she’s back home with her parents.
Emily’s family consists of her mother Jodi, her father Paul and her younger brother Steven. The family has two Goldendoodles, Lacie and Minnie.
Goodnow realizes that, as a first-year teacher, it may be difficult for her to have self-confidence in her decisions, but, according to her, “you live and you learn!” She shared that she’s working on accepting that “every teacher makes mistakes and the best thing you can do is learn from them!”
When asked what she was most looking forward to, Goodnow enthused, “I am so excited to meet and get to know another classroom full of kiddos!” Her favorite part of teaching has always been the connections that she has with her students.
Emily’s main goal for this year is to stay positive and have a school year she’s proud of. She commented, “I think as long as I am working my hardest and showing up with an attitude that’s ready for the day, this will be beyond attainable!”
Lori Crum previously taught in Lanesboro and is returning as the computer and business teacher this year. Crum became interested in teaching whe she graded papers for her uncle who was a middle school social studies teacher.
Lori graduated from UNI in 1989. Lanesboro is the 10th school Lori has taught at if you include the fact that this is her second time at Lanesboro. She also has taught in Dodgeville, Wis., twice!
Her high school accounting teacher, Orville Hogan, was her role model; she wanted to grow up and be just like him so she too went into teaching business and computers.
In her spare time, Lori enjoys running, watching sports, gardening, canning, baking, photography and spending time with her family.
Lori has been married to her husband Arnie for 30 years; they live in Waukon, Iowa.They have a son Ryan, 28, who recently married his wife Annain May; they live in Madison, Wis. Lori and Arnie’s younger son Eric, 25, is a 1st Lieutenant in the Army, stationed in Colorado Springs. He will be marrying his fiancée Heather in October.
Crum sees her biggest challenge for the year to be getting back in the swing of teaching K-12. She is looking forward to having smaller class sizes that will allow her to spend more time working individually with students.
Her goal for the year is to establish the curriculum for the classes she will be teaching. Crum will teach all grades K-12 except for seventh and eighth grade.
When asked if there was anything else she wanted the community to know, she declared, “I’m glad to be back!”
Michelle Leon, elementary special education teacher, got into teaching in a rather unique way. She began with therapy certified dogs, her own pets. She and her dogs volunteered in a reading program St. Paul Public Schools. As time went by she grew to love her time with the kiddos; as a result she then worked toward her teaching license.
Leon has a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. She earned her special education teaching license from the University of St. Thomas, and her Reading Teacher license from UW-La Crosse. Before coming to Lanesboro, Leon taught at St. Paul Public Schools, and worked as a special education case facilitator at Rochester Public Schools.
According to Leon, special education kids bring “so much joy, fun and creativity” in her life. She feels special education also teaches great life lessons in perseverance through challenges.
In her spare time Michelle loves to garden, raise chickens, listen to music, camp, travel, bike, hike and hang out with her family and friends. She and her husband and their two children live on a hobby farm in Houston, Minn.
Leon sees her biggest challenge this year to be “the learning curve of being in a new school, learning the ropes” as she gains her footing. She loves teaching at the elementary level and getting to know her students and their families.
Adding to her skill set and improving her teaching practices through continuing education of all forms are Michelle’s goals for this year.
Michelle enthused, “I am so excited to be a part of the Lanesboro community and to enjoy this beautiful corner of the world!”
Kirsten Bakke, Lanesboro’s new elementary special education teacher, is a familiar face in Lanesboro. She and her husband Chase, their daughter Lilah, and dog Millie already live in Lanesboro.
Kirsten always wanted to be a teacher; she’s had multiple teachers throughout her life who inspired her to become a teacher.
She knew there was always a need for special education teachers; after job-shadowing several teachers, she decided she would like to be a special education teacher.
Kirsten got her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato in special education. In the spring of 2022, she finished her Master’s in Emotional Behavioral Disorders. Kirsten taught for eight years at Dover-Eyota Elementary School; this will be her ninth year of teaching.
In her spare time, Kirsten enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and exploring new places with her husband.
Bakke feels that her biggest challenge will be the fact that she is new to the district and will need to learn the culture of the building. She is happily looking forward to working and living in the same community.
Bakke commented, “My goals for this year are to build positive relationships with students and staff at Lanesboro schools.”