After only two months at LeRoy-Ostrander Public School, this year’s new teachers already demonstrated the school’s motto “Educational Excellence, For Life.”
Roger Bacon is the new high school special education teacher at Leroy-Ostrander Public School. Bacon graduated high school from John Marshall with 500 or so classmates and earned his undergraduate degree from Augsburg University, Rochester campus.
Bacon spent four years teaching in Rochester as an elementary special education teacher. Before he started teaching, he was a paraprofessional for the district for six years.
He accepted the position because he wanted his children to be a part of the whole community, and that is what a smaller town school offers. The sense of community is critical and that everyone is here to help and guide the schools’ students.
What is your teaching philosophy? “I believe that everyone can learn and grow into a valuable member of the community. We may all learn differently, but we are all working toward the same goal of learning how to get through life.”
How has COVID-19 impacted your classroom? “COVID has been very challenging for the students I work with because of the lack of teacher contact and help that can be given.”
Kiara Reichstadt is the middle school special education teacher. Reichstadt is teaching grades 5-8 reading, math, and skills.
Reichstadt explained that this is her first-year teaching. She student taught in a third grade classroom in Duluth and a high school special education class right before COVID hit.
Reichstadt graduated from Kingsland Public Schools and earned her Bachelor’s in Education at the University of Minnesota – Duluth.
Why were you interested in teaching at LeRoy-Ostrander Public Schools? “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old. I knew I wanted to begin my teaching career at a smaller school. I came back to Southeastern Minnesota once I graduated college. Leroy-Ostrander Public School was hiring, so I decided to apply. The school philosophy was very similar to mine, and I decided I would be a good fit in the school!”
Getting to know who her students are is vital to this first-year teacher. “I highly believe in building relationships. I value getting to know who my students are before anything else because I then understand who they are as a person, understand how they learn, and get to know their strengths and weaknesses. I then apply their personalities to my teachings as much as I can.”
How has COVID-19 impacted your classroom? “COVID-19 has impacted my classroom immensely. Since I am the middle school special education teacher, I see some students in person every day of the week and others only twice a week in person. Hybrid learning has proven to be significantly difficult. There are times I will be teaching in person and have students online at the same time.”
Reichstadt shares a word of advice to parents and community members. “I think I can speak for most teachers when I say that teaching is like having a full-time job that never ends, and you never get caught up – this saying is especially true with hybrid learning. Give the teachers in your life a little bit of grace while we all figure this out.”
Ryan Evans is the new sixth grade teacher. He will also coach junior high football and varsity boys basketball.
According to his biography on the school’s website, Evans was the KM Nursery Group’s Executive Director. Over the last three years, he was the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teacher, junior high football and basketball coach, and JV boys basketball coach in the NRHEG School District for the last three years.
Evans grew up in Conrad, Mont., where he graduated high school. He attended the University of Northwestern before transferring to the University of Great Falls, Mont., where he earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. He recently completed a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Special Education from MSU-Mankato and is currently finishing a master’s degree.
Evans and his wife Diana have five daughters, ages 4-15 years old. They currently live in Blooming Prairie but have plans to locate to the LeRoy area shortly.
Why LeRoy-Ostrander Public School? “I decided to make the switch to LeRoy because of the people here. From the first interview till now, I have been so welcomed by the community and treated as if I have been here my whole life. It’s a great school and community to be a part of.”
Evans explained that his teaching philosophy of teaching is simple. He wants to ensure that every child reaches his or her maximum potential.
How has COVID-19 impacted your classroom? “COVID has created some unique obstacles for sure. Wearing the masks all day was an adjustment for teachers and students alike but has gone better than I would have thought. Only being able to have the students facing towards the front of the room has been challenging. Also, having some kids in school while others are doing distance learning is a challenge for one teacher to manage.”
Brad Reiter is the new 7th–12th grade science teacher.
Reiter shared on the school’s website that he has spent eight years in education and has taught in rural and urban settings. He spent the first four years teaching and coaching at Kingsland before moving to Mayo High School, Rochester.
He grew up on a farm in Plainview, Minn., before moving to Spring Valley, where he lives with his wife Andrea and their three children. Reiter explained that, “I am excited to get back into the rural setting where I teach kids much like myself. I am incredibly excited to get to know all of my students and their families and get this school year off to a good start.”
Reiter’s classroom expectations, as shared on the school’s website, equate to his teaching philosophy. “I expect every student to come to class, not only ready to learn but also ready to open yourself up to the countless wonders that the natural world has to offer. Students know how to act when they get to high school, but I want to remind students that I only have you in person for half of my normal time. I plan on doing labs and hands-on activities when you are here with me in person, so you must show up on time and be ready to go. I will also need every student to be diligent in keeping each other safe in both the classroom and the lab. We not only have COVID-19 to deal with, but students will also be working with tools and chemicals that can cause great harm to oneself and others if not used properly.”
H-E-L-L-O, the Cardinals say hello! With spirit and pride, LeRoy-Ostrander Public School and community says hi and good luck!