Orono to welcome five new teachers

Five new teachers will be instructing Orono students for the 2012-2013 school year.

The new teachers have a wide range of past experience that will be spread among the district’s schools. The teachers joining the district this fall are Andrew Gagnon, Michael Moch, Mary-Ann Rolf, Luke Runka and Kaila Sawochka.

Gagnon will be teaching social studies at Orono High School. Previously, he taught social studies and coached baseball and football at Howard Lake School District for more than six years. Gagnon has also taught advance placement psychology, government and economics and world geography. In addition, he taught science to seventh and eighth grade students as a long-term substitute teacher at Howard Lake.

Gagnon received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamline University where he majored in social studies and minored in education. In 2011, he earned his master’s degree in education from Hamline. At the college, he played baseball and soccer. Gagnon received an Outstanding Educator Award in 2012. He was also leadership scholar and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Hamline.

Moch will teach fourth grade at Orono Intermediate School. He currently serves as principal at the Holy Name of Jesus School in Wayzata, but he had a desire to get back into the classroom. In his role as principal, Moch served as a curriculum and instruction leader, staff development/technology coordinator, communications director, budget administrator and human resource recruiter and mentor. Prior to becoming principal at Holy Name of Jesus, he was a teacher and principal at St. John the Baptist Catholic School and was director of education at the Sylvan Learning Center.

Moch received his Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the Minnesota State University/Moorhead and his master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s university.

Rolf will be working part time as a special education teacher for the elementary center. She is licensed in SLD, EBD, ECSE, and elementary education. She has experience in case management of educational program needs and coordinating the interactions of support professionals. Overall, she has 10 years of experience in the field, including evaluation and implementation of assistive technology, customizing curriculum for learning-disabled students, and using technology as a teaching and planning tool.

Rolf received her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Valley City State University in North Dakota and her master’s degree in special education from the Minnesota State University/Moorhead.

Runka will teach physical education to Schumann Elementary School students. He served in that role as a long-term substitute in the fall of 2011 at Schumann. He has also been a daily teacher substitute at both Waconia and Watertown-Mayer School Districts and he has been coaching as the assistant football coach at Watertown-Mayer.

Runka received his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education, adaptive physical education and coaching from Southwest Minnesota State University. He earned his master’s degree in instructional leadership at Saint Leo University in Florida.

During his tenure at St. Leo’s, Runka was an adjunct professor in health and wellness topics, assistant men’s basketball coach and intramural coordinator where he created schedules and brackets for each intramural sport and supervised participating students.

Sawochka will teach mathematics at Orono High School. She has taught at Eastern Carver County since 2010 as an alternative learning program math teacher. She taught five sections of math including geometry and algebra 1,2 and 3 to youth at risk. Prior to that teaching assignment, Sawochka worked as a paraprofessional substitute and as a strength conditioning coach for Minnetonka Schools.

Sawochka graduated form the University of St. Thomas in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education and mathematics with a minor in Spanish – she is fluent in the language.