Spring Lake Park Schools held its annual retirement reception on May 16 to honor and recognize the 9 staff members who retired during the 2022-2023 school year or are retiring at the end of the school year.
School board members, administrators, principals, staff members, former employees and family members of retiring staff gathered for the celebration. Tony Easter, school board chair, led a brief program with Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg who presented each honoree with a commemorative school bell award recognizing their service and commitment to the district.
As a learning community, we thank and recognize each of the retirees for their tremendous commitment to the students of Spring Lake Park Schools and wish them well in their retirement.
Here, they share any words they wanted to convey to our community about their journey and plans for the future. View the retirement reception photo album.
Gifted/Talented Teacher & STEM Specialist
I began my years in SLP as a substitute in 1983 and then became full time as a Summer School teacher at Kenneth Hall Elementary. I taught piano lessons and Spanish language to elementary students. Then I was hired to be a 2nd grade teacher at Woodcrest Elementary. Over the years I have worked under the following Principals - Bob Pluth, Joanne Tierney, Mike Callahan, Tom Larson, Tyler Nelson, and Kim Fehringer. The grades 4-5 team co-workers have been wonderful and there are so many to list. Before SLP began our Woodcrest Spanish Immersion school, I had the task as a Westwood Teacher on Special Assignment to research the creation of a Spanish elementary school. The gathered information was then shared with administration, hence beginning the initial stages of implementing a Spanish Immersion school. For the past three years, I have been the Gifted Services Specialist supporting staff and students at our elementary schools. It has been a dream job for me and a passion I’ve pursued since teaching as a 1st grade teacher in the Chokio-Alberta Independent Schools. I thank the Spring Lake Park Schools community for so many wonderful years to serve others. The friendships and connections are vast and treasured. My retirement plans include spending more time with family including my dad and three grandchildren, and traveling with my husband in the USA and abroad. Our family farm in West Central MN beckons me to visit my roots.
District Services Center
Learning & Teaching Coordinator
I have served a variety of roles at SLP, including as a 1st grade and 5th grade teacher at Woodcrest and Westwood, District Coordinator for Gifted Services, Principal at Park Terrace Elementary and Principal on Special Assignment for SLP Online Elementary. I am heading into my retirement with a deep appreciation for the career that SLP has offered me. I’ve been encouraged, guided, nudged, and sometimes pushed out of my comfort zone by colleagues. I always felt challenged and supported, and I was always learning. I am grateful that SLP is a true learning community, not only for students, but for all who are a part of the system. SLP has experienced a lot of positive change since 1989; I am proud to have played a part in what SLP is today and excited to see what is yet to come. I have 30+ years of memories that I will take with me into my retirement. Although this time is bittersweet for me, I look forward to creating new memories with family and friends and enjoying everything that the month of September has to offer. There will be a few road trips to various parts of the U.S. But, first on the retirement agenda is a relaxing summer at our cabin.
District Services Center
Administrative Assistant, Business Services
I started in the district at Westwood Elementary as a part time SPED Para and part time Office Para. After one year I moved to Westwood Middle School into an Admin Assistant role to the Assistant Principal at that time, Bill Norton. I worked in that role as well as a Counseling Office Admin Assistant. In 2004 I moved over to the District Office as the Accounts Payable Technician. I worked with amazing staff and in 2017 I moved into the role of Management Assistant to the Director of Business Services where I assisted Amy Schultz with the many hats she wears including all of the construction that happened throughout the district from 2017-2021. Aside from all of the accounting awards we earned as a department, I would have to say one of my career highlights was the completion of all of the construction projects; seeing so many people’s roles come together with pretty amazing outcomes. I would like to thank the original team that brought me to the district office in 2017 Sharon Richter, Jane Krepela, Jim Westrum and Jill Schwint. I learned so much from all of you. Also, I would like to thank the team that I spent the last 13 years with. Chris McGee, Amy Schultz, Colleen McMurtry, Angell Pearson, and Brenda Miles. You made each day out to be as much fun as accounting people can possibly have! I learned so much from each of you. Finally, to all of the amazing staff at the district office, I cherish each one of the friendships that I was fortunate enough to make over the years! You are amazing people and always give so much to assure that each student has the same incredible experience that our students did at SLP. My four kids started in Spring Lake Park in Kindergarten and were 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2012 graduates. My husband and I bought a lake home in Avon where we love spending time. We enjoy every part of lake life including, pontoon rides, floating in the water, winter ice fishing, and time with friends and family. We have four amazing grandchildren. Being a Gigi is by far one of the most rewarding and proudest moments in my lifetime! I have also found a part time job working at a small elementary school (135 students) in the Rocori School District in Rockville, MN. I love every minute of being back with students and helping the staff make a difference in the lives of another group of students - I just couldn’t stay away forever!
Special Education Paraprofessional
I began in the district at Kenneth Hall Elementary and ended my career in Special Ed. I was transferred to the high school for several years before moving to early childhood at Woodcrest and Centerview. I’d like to thank everyone I’ve worked with for their support and friendships! It was my job to teach our kiddos, but I truly learned so much more from them. I have many plans for retirement now that I have more time and energy for my family, my home, my friends and traveling.
Spring Lake Park High School
I’ve taught levels 1-4 in German and levels 1-5 in Spanish at SLPHS. I’m proud to have been able to help students save over a million dollars in tuition through our partnerships with College in the Schools German at the U of M and Concurrent Enrollment Spanish with MSU, Mankato. It has been such an honor to work with so many amazing colleagues and students who have motivated, wowed and inspired me. I will be forever grateful for the friendship, support, kindness, laughter, work ethic and love. Thank you to all who have impacted me over the decades! My husband and I love to travel, which was one of the main motivators to retire early. We made the most of the first year so far and are already plotting for next year and beyond. Summers in Minnesota will always call us home - we love to entertain at the lake and spend time with our son and his wife and extended family and friends. We’ll continue to enjoy the lazy mornings, then golfing, biking, boating, excursions, etc. as long as we continue to be blessed with good health.
Vocal Music Teacher
I was hired in 1990 to teach vocal and general music at Westwood Junior High. I continued in that role as Westwood became a Middle School and Intermediate School. I have spent the majority of my career teaching choral and general music to 6th-8th grade students. One of my greatest joys has been directing extracurricular theatre activities and show choirs throughout my career at SLP. It has been a great run! I will always appreciate SLP Schools for all that it has provided for me. I will miss the camaraderie of the Westwood staff. They have truly made it a wonderful place to work. I’d like to thank the Westwood Vocal Music staff that I have worked with over the years. Sharon Christenson, Stephanie Phelps, Haskel Black and Bailey Geist Schlottman have been valued teammates and friends. A special thanks to the students I have had over the years. It has been such a pleasure to make music with them every day. I’m fortunate enough to work in a subject where kids work together to create something greater than they could create alone. Most of the time the culmination of that work is shared publicly. There have been so many memorable performances that I have been proud to be a part of. That being said, it really is the little things, day to day, that have been the “highlights” of my career. The conversation, comments and laughter of students is what I will miss the most. I’ll be a typical midwestern retiree. I will spend more time with family, travel, read books, go north to the cabin and go south during the winter. New adventures might include golf and substitute teaching.
Spring Lake Park High School
Administrative Assistant, Athletics and Activities
I started working at the Middle School in January 1997 as an office para. Later I took the position in the Athletics and Activities Office in the summer of 2001 and have been there ever since. Within that department I was a Supervisor, Ticket Seller, and a Concessions Worker. I’ve participated in the majority of our faculty skits over the years, either as a character, singer or costumer. I was the hair stylist and make-up artist for the HS Fall Plays and Musicals for 12 years and added sewing and creating costumes for 10 of those years. I was also the Cheerleading coach for 3 years, Clerical Union Steward for 6 years, Prom Advisor for 2 years, and part of numerous parent groups serving as a chairperson. As a SLP Alumni, I have spent a lot of years in this school district. My children also went to school here, and I was very involved as a parent in this district. The building has been through several structural changes and a major rebuild over the years. My position has also evolved over the years, especially in the realm of technology. When I started, I was just learning how to navigate a computer, and all our registrations were 7-8 pages long stapled together. Our schedules and directions to other schools were a printed handbook! The school has been good to me, and I have enjoyed my years here. I would have to say the highlight of my time is meeting my husband Jeff Schlieff, and making a lot of lifelong friends along the way! I plan on spending the winters with Jeff in our home in Florida, and the other half of the year in MN. Best of both worlds - but mainly avoiding snow. I also will be spending more time with our three grandchildren, doing some volunteer work, golfing, and enjoying more time at the cabin.
Special Education Paraprofessional
Over my years with the SLP school district I’ve had the pleasure of working as a Paraprofessional at multiple sites, including Northpoint Elementary, Spring Lake Park High School, Transitions Life Skills, and Westwood Intermediate and Middle School.
Spring Lake Park High School
Science Teacher, Boys Golf Coach
Over the years I have held many positions at SLP at the middle school and high school level. I have been proud to teach high school General and Honors Biology, Animal Behavior, Bio Chem I and II, Earth Science, and College Environmental Science. I also served as Site Council, Union Building Rep, and as the Union President for the Spring Lake Park Teachers Union which included numerous committees that negotiated teacher contracts, played a role in our Apple adoption, and initiated and passed the Q Comp Program that has provided tens of millions of dollars to support our teaching and learning across the district. I am proud of the relationships that were created over the 40 years of my teaching career. I have loved being a teacher and am proud to see what great things many of my former students and players have accomplished in their lives. I have enjoyed about 35 years of sport seasons and always looked forward to working with players on the field, the track, the rink, or the course. It adds a little extra infusion of energy and excitement to cap off the day, while working with some terrific young athletes! I am thankful for all of the great people and teachers that I do know and have known over the years. Since those early days I have made many friends and have always felt supported by my department and high school teacher family. I can never repay the many kindnesses, support, and assistance they have provided over the years. My wife Sherry and I have recently become grandparents and plan to spend a lot of time with our grandchildren and families. We will travel to various parts of North America and overseas, exploring as much of the world as we have time and money. We will play a lot of golf (no surprise) and take frequent fishing trips to Canada. We are very excited to get on to the next chapter…hopefully, it’s a really, really good one! I’m pretty much 100% sure it will be. Thank you SLP!