By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
With the new school year coming up fast on Aug. 24, a new cohort of teachers at Caledonia Middle School/High School are ready to teach a range of subjects.
Hired on for this year is Austin Bauer, Ryan Bunting, Tristan Jenson, Robbie Sobczak and Austin Stalsberg. Read on to meet the new teachers.
Caledonia alum Austin Bauer is excited for his first year of teaching middle school and high school math in his hometown. His previous experience in St. Clair, Mankato and Cleveland, Minnesota and student teaching in Caledonia has prepared him for his first day.
Bauer said he’s looking forward to being back around the people he grew up with. He’s also hoping things return to “some sort of normal soon.”
Speaking of COVID-19 affecting school, Bauer said he’ll try to stay as flexible as possible for his students.
“I also plan to make my classroom a safe, predictable place so students have at least one consistent thing during COVID,” he said.
Bauer is the son of Brian and Kim Bauer who live outside of Caledonia. He also has a brother, Arick, and a sister, Abby.
He said he enjoys anything related to football and basketball. Outside of that, Bauer said he’s tried to pick up more hobbies during quarantine.
New eighth/ninth grade science teacher Ryan Bunting is new to Caledonia and ready to start his first-ever teaching job. Previously, he gained experience student teaching and as a substitute teacher. He’s originally from Hanover, Minnesota.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know my students and immersing myself into the community,” he said.
Bunting said he plans to give his students the best education while staying safe during COVID. Despite the worries of COVID, he’s “super excited for this school year.”
Bunting enjoys getting outside as much as possible and likes to fish, camp and hike with his dog. He has three brothers, one sister and a brother-in-law, along with his parents.
Brand new special education teacher Tristan Jenson is looking forward to meeting his students for the first time this year. A native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Jenson has worked as a paraprofessional at the Chileda Institute for eight years and as a supervisor/house manager of group homes. He’s also working on getting his masters degree in special education at Winona State University.
He wants to help his students during COVID by making sure they are informed and prepared, he said.
“My door is always open for anyone,” he added.
In his free time, Bunting likes to travel, hike, hunt, fish and do pretty much anything outdoors.
Readers will have already met new high school social studies teacher Robbie Sobczak previously in the Argus when he talked about his plans for a work-based learning program at Caledonia High School.
As a teacher, he’s looking forward to joining a “close and passionate” community.
“I love teaching and being with high schoolers,” he said. “High school can be some of the best years of your life, so I am excited to be in the process of making life-long memories for my students.”
As for COVID precautions, Sobczak said he will adhere to the state’s guidelines, like wearing masks and staying a safe distance away from one another.
Originally from Cloquet, Minnesota, Sobczak has his mom, Nancy and his dog, Bogey. He loves being outside, either running, hiking, golfing or fishing.
New middle school math teacher Austin Stalsberg said he’s looking forward to getting to know all the students and the community in Caledonia as he starts his first-ever teaching position.
Originally from La Crosse, Stalsberg earned his mathematics education and computer science education degrees from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. With a passion for learning, he tutored Spanish in high school and tutored math in college.
He hopes to help his students “keep a positive attitude and think of [COVID] as a challenge that we can all solve together.”
In his free time, he enjoys playing piano, reading, running and playing tennis. He has two brothers and a sister who live in La Crosse. Before he was a teacher, he worked on a farm.
Stalsberg added he has a strong love of music and played saxophone in marching band and jazz band during his time at college.