There will be several new faces greeting students this year at the Langdon Area Elementary School (LAES).
Posted on 8/8/15
By Melissa Anderson
A total of nine new staff members will be joining LAES including a new principal, speech therapist, and several teachers.
Todd Hetler is the new principle for LAES and was born in Northwood but grew up in Valley City. He received his Bachelor’s degree in education from Valley City State University in 1994 and then went on to receive his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT in 2015. He has spent the last five years as a teacher in Williston.
Hetler has been teaching and been a part of education for 20 years. During those years, he has participated in leadership teams that have created school-wide policies and adopted various classroom management and curriculum initiatives. The last three years he has focused on aiding teachers in their approach to classroom management and creating interventions for students with various behavioral and academic challenges.
“I want to continue the good work that has occurred as a result of the solid leadership from the teachers and previous administrator,” Hetler said.
Hetler’s goals moving forward are to continue to and improve in aiding the staff in building effective interventions for students who struggle in the areas of reading and math.
“As a result, we will closely analyze data from various academic tests in order to determine the areas in which students struggle and create effective interventions so that all of our children achieve and grow academically and as people,” Hetler stated.
Hetler plans to approach his first year at LAES by listening to students, staff, parents, and community members.
“I will take this information to become the educational leader this community needs and deserves,” Hetler said.
Hetler also has coaching plans. He will be coaching cross country this fall and will also welcome any invitation from civic groups to speak or attend meetings.
“Langdon is an impressive community with solid people,” Hetler stated.
Hetler went on stating that his family has been overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality of the community. Hetler is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community of Langdon.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure every child achieves and grows as a student and as a person,” Hetler said.
Kari Henderson is originally from Montevideo, Minnesota and received her education from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Henderson and husband Shane have three children.
Henderson has experience teaching children in their first few years of school as she has taught kindergarten, early childhood classes, learning resource teacher, 1st grade and 4th grade. Henderson will be teaching kindergarten at LAES this year.
“I am looking forward to working with the staff & faculty at LAES as well as getting to know the students,” Henderson said.
Henderson is also looking forward to getting more acquainted with the Langdon community and attending as many events as possible.
“I am excited to work with a new group of students and parents. Kindergarten is a very important year and I will do my best to make it a positive year for your child,” Henderson said.
Alexis Lafrenz is originally from Dresden and attended school in Langdon. Lafrenz received her education from Mayville State University with a major in elementary education and a minor in special needs. Lafrenz was recently married this summer to husband Adam Lafrenz of Langdon.
Lafrenz will be in the same second grade classroom which she student taught. She is excited to bring in Writer’s Workshop as the school year starts as well Daily 5 as her class gets more settled into the school year.
“I am mostly looking forward to getting to know the students in the second grade as well as the students in the school system,” Lafrenz said.
She is excited to see what different ideas the new staff and administration bring to LAES. Lafrenz plans to bring in creative lessons and focusing on the different needs of individual students. She plans to accomplish this by joining different committees within the school system to help generate new thoughts for the school. Lafrenz couldn’t be more excited to be back in the LAS system and start the new school year.
“I am very lucky to work with the staff at Langdon Area Elementary. They all truly love what they do and were all so welcoming while I was student teaching,” Lafrenz said.
Katie Olson grew up in Munich and received her degree from the University of North Dakota. Olson taught for one year at St. Alphonsus Catholic school before getting married and starting a family. Olson and husband Chris have four children.
Olson has previously substitute taught at the elementary school and will be teaching part-time during the afternoons. She will be teaching grades 4-6 social studies.
“I am excited to get to know the students and create a positive and encouraging environment for them to learn in,” Olson said.
Laura Preble is originally from Powers Lake and attended Minot State University where she graduated in December 2013 with a degree in Elementary Education with kindergarten and reading endorsements. Preble and husband, Samuel who is also a new teacher at LAES have a daughter and two dogs.
Preble previously taught at Plaza Elementary for a year and a half before coming to LAES. She spent half a year teaching 1st and 2nd grade in a combined classroom, and last school year, she taught first grade.
“I will be teaching second grade at LAES,” Preble said.
Preble is looking forward to getting to know the students and staff at the school. She is hoping to create a positive learning environment so her students will be successful.
“I’m very happy to be in Langdon, and I am looking forward to the school year,” Preble said.
Samuel Preble grew up in Harvey and received his education at Minot State University. Preble previously taught in Parshall. Preble will be teaching third grade at LAES.
Preble is looking forward to meeting the students and the staff and becoming part of the community.
“I hope to create positive relationships with my students and encourage them to be successful in their future,” Preble said.
Preble, along with wife Laura, are looking forward to becoming part of the Langdon community and getting to know everyone.
“I would like to say that my wife and I feel very fortunate to be in Langdon and that I look forward to meeting the students and their parents and working with them throughout the year and in the future,” Preble said.
Alison Podhradsky is a homegrown teacher as she grew up right here in Langdon. Podhradsky received her degrees in elementary and early childhood education from the University of North Dakota.
She was a 6th grade teacher last year in Lakota and will be teaching in the upper elementary classes during the upcoming school year at LAES.
Podhradsky is most looking forward to being back in the Langdon School system.
“I completed my student teaching in Langdon and am extremely happy to be back,” Podhradsky said.
Podhradsky is also hoping to expand her abilities by also getting involved in other elements of the school such as coaching. Overall, she is looking forward to her first year as a teacher at LAES.
“My door is always open. I am open to suggestions and any advice,” Podhradsky said.
Rachelle Romfo is originally from Hampden and graduated from Starkweather High School. Romfo received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UND. Romfo and husband Troy have three children.
Romfo has been and continues to be employed by Lake Region Special Education. Romfo has served many schools in the area over the years including Munich, Devils Lake (Prairie View and Sweetwater), Starkweather, Bisbee-Egeland, Rock Lake, and Border Central.
Romfo will be serving as an itinerant Speech Therapist in the Langdon Area School District.
“I will help kids improve their overall speech and language skills,” Romfo explained.
Romfo is really looking forward to being a part of the LASD and working with the staff who have taught her kids, meeting new staff, and especially meeting the students she will be helping.
Romfo is an active community member and is currently helping to get the Cardinals Sports Booster program up and running. The group is really excited about helping the student athletes and getting the communities excited about the Cardinals sports season.
“I also help on our education committee at our church in Langdon,” Romfo said.
Romfo wants to help serve the community as best she can as well as the students, parents, and school.
“I would like to say, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns or questions regarding speech and language development,” Romfo said.
Larisa Solseng is originally from Spearfish, South Dakota. She received her education at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. Solseng and husband, Cole,who is a loan officer at Farmers and Merchants State Bank, are expecting a baby in December.
Solseng will be teaching preschool special needs, title, and teaching in the special education department in the elementary school.
Solseng plans on being involved in the community in many ways through the school, church, and many other areas. She is looking forward to finding areas to volunteer in.
“I am looking forward to getting to know the students and to be able to teach in a positive and uplifting atmosphere,” Solseng said.