River Grove announces its new teachers for the 2020-21 school year. The first day of school will be September 8. Students will either be attending school through hybrid model or 100 percent distance learning.
Sydney Fuerst, Kindergarten
Sydney has an Elementary Education and Special Education (Academic Behavioral Specialist) Degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. After completing her degree, Sydney worked as a naturalist at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. At Wolf Ridge, she learned a lot about teaching through place-based and experiential learning. Sydney is very excited to bring this knowledge into her teaching at River Grove. Outside of the classroom, Sydney enjoys carving spoons (out of wood), knitting, hiking, biking, cross country skiing, and spending time with family and friends.
Madison Clepper graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul with a degree in elementary K-6 education as well as a degree in early childhood/preprimary. Her previous teaching experience includes a position in St. Paul Public Schools as a second grade teacher. Madison loves to travel and experience new cultures! In 2018, she spent a month in England and Italy, where she volunteered in schools. Madison enjoys having fun and laughing with her students, seeing their “light bulb” moments, and sharing their excitement when they learn new things that interest them. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, yoga, camping, hiking, traveling, and drinking lots and lots of coffee.
Eric McBride, Third and Fourth Grade
Eric began his journey into teaching in Indiana where he studied Elementary Education at Purdue University. During the summer months, Eric worked as a cabin counselor at two YMCA camps, Camp Tecumseh (IN) and Camp-Manito-wish (WI). Though Eric’s deep connection with nature was primarily strengthened as a wilderness trip leader in northern Wisconsin, he would accept his first teaching position in Washington State teaching 6th grade. While out west, Eric would earn a Master’s in Education at the University of Portland. He and his partner would ultimately find their way to Montana where he would spend the next ten years of his life as an administrator and teacher at two different rural K-8 schools. During the summer months, Eric would continue to harness his passion of working with youth in the outdoors spending time on the rivers as a fly-fishing guide. In 2014 Eric and his family (along with their newly adopted son and two dogs) would venture back to Wisconsin where Eric would begin his journey as a Montessori guide at Nature’s Classroom Institute. Though the school and philosophy were an immediate fit, Eric was eager to find his way back into the public sector, and after two years he and his family would relocate to Minnesota. For the last three years, Eric has worked as an elementary guide at Great River Public Charter Montessori School. He is thrilled to begin the next chapter of his life at River Grove, where once again the beauty of the idyllic campus setting will support his belief in the importance of allowing nature to inspire learning everyday.
Katie Owen, Special Education Teacher
Katie Owen loves learning and exploring with students at River Grove. She has been working in special education here since 2017 and has over ten years of experience working with children. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Studies with a minor in business from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She’s currently studying to get her Master of Arts in Special Education from Bethel University. When she’s not working or studying, Katie loves to be outdoors: hiking, biking, playing tennis, and discovering new things with her four children.
Emily McDonald, Third Grade (Hybrid)
Emily McDonald has a Bachelor’s degree in Broad Area Art from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. In the fall of 2015 she started serving as a math enrichment tutor at Lily Lake Elementary in Stillwater, through Minnesota Math Corps. During this experience she realized her passion for teaching and went back to school at Concordia University, St. Paul, where she earned her Masters in the Arts of Teaching. Once she obtained her teaching license she began subbing for Stillwater Area Schools as well as tutoring at Huntington Learning Center. Emily is looking forward to combining her passions of teaching, art, and the outdoors to inspire and engage her students in lifelong learning. She is very excited to finally have her own classroom and to be a part of the team at River Grove! Emily currently lives in Stillwater with her husband Jason, and their children Liz and Jörge. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, crafting, drawing, and spending time outdoors with her family.