Mrs. Burch

Picture of special education instructor, Mrs. Burch.My name is Mrs. Burch and I am the Social Worker for the Middle School and West Academy. I received my Bachelors degree in Social Work from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2005 and started working for District 518 in 2009. I currently co-facilitate a social skills class called Guidance with a Special Education teacher. I also work individually with the students spending time focusing on specific needs they may have. I find my job here to be very rewarding as I get to work with not only some great students but also their families.

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Mr. Bauer

My name is Austin Bauer, and I am the DAPE instructor for the Worthington school district. I graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in P.E.T.E (Physical Education Teacher Education). I also received a minor in health education. I have worked with special education students in the past through a number of different capacities. Some of those capacities include: Special Olympics, Therapeutic Recreation Camp and resource room volunteering. An interesting fact about myself is that I have hiked the Rocky Mountains on three separate times.

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Mrs. Crouch

My name is Randine Crouch and I am a special education teacher at the Worthington Middle School. I graduated from Buena Vista University with a degree in elementary education and then attended Mankato State University and earned a degree in Emotional Behavior Disorders and Specific Learning Disabilities. I have been teaching many many years and love it!

My first job in District 518 was with the Adult Basic Education program teaching English to hundreds of adults, plus I was able to work with the preschoolers in the Even Start program. It is so rewarding to teach adults and children English. This was an amazing and enjoyable experience and the staff was terrific to work with.

Then I had a calling to work for the special education programs in District 518 and I’ve now landed at the wonderful world of Middle School Life. Every single moment is eventful and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

A fun fact about me is that I wrote and published my first children’s book called, “Scleroderma Sisters” this summer 2019. My dream since the age of 14 years old has always been to write a children’s book and I’m so proud that I accomplished that. DREAMS DO COME TRUE!!!

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Mr. Duffy

Picture of special education instructor, Mr. Duffy.Hello! My name is Mr. Duffy. I have taught at the Worthington Middle School since 2007. I have been teaching special education students during this time. The classes I teach are: Math, English, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Life Skills, and a Directed Study. I enjoy watching my students grow mentally and physically throughout the school year. During the year my class goes on various field trips and takes numerous exploratory classes to enhance their understanding of the world around them. When they do graduate from high school, they'll then be ready to appreciate the world they live in. Go Trojans!!!

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Mrs. Hartzler

Hello! My name is Kelsey Hartzler, and I am the district Occupational Therapist, who will primarily be working with students in 2nd-12th grade levels. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences from the University of South Dakota in 2013. I then went on to graduate school, where I received my Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2016. While in graduate school, I worked at Coulee Connections, an alternative school for at-risk youth; it was during this experience that I realized my passion for working with the pediatric population with unique needs.

I am so excited to be a part of the Worthington School District and get to know students and staff in all buildings, as I will be traveling between the elementary, middle school, and high school to work with a wide variety of students!

An interesting tid-bit about myself is that my dad and sister both work at Prairie Elementary as well!- My dad is a PE teacher and my sister works in the preschool special ed room!

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Mrs. Jirele

Picture of special education instructor, Mrs. Jirele.I have worked as a school Speech Pathologist in Iowa and Minnesota since 1989. I’m currently based at Worthington Middle School, but work with students in grades 4-8. My favorite part of the job is interacting with students of all skills and abilities, and seeing their progress.

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Mrs. Jungers

Hi, my name is Mrs. Jungers and I’m a Special Education teacher at the Worthington Middle School. I have been teaching in District 518 since the Fall of 1999. I teach Reading, Math, and Written Language to students with learning disabilities. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Special Education.

The highlight of teaching is watching students grow academically and socially. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and three children, camping, boating, attending my children’s school activities, playing board games, and reading.

Mrs. Lord Anderson

Picture of special education instructor, Mrs. Lord Anderson.I am one of the Learning Disability special education teachers here at Worthington Middle School. I moved with my family to Worthington from Brighton, Colorado on May 31, 2014. Just in time to unpack everything on our new farmstead right outside of town and get ready for the 2014/2015 school year! My husband and I have 2 awesome daughters and we love to hunt, fish, play on the lake, and listen to music. In addition, I love to read, quilt, sing, help out in the community and watch the fireflies over the corn fields!

I am a native from Colorado, born at the Air Force Academy, but I spent my middle school and high school years in Lake Park, Minnesota (not Iowa). I graduated from Lake Park, MN and went on to get my Bachelor of Art degree from Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN and my Masters in School Psychology from Moorhead State University as well. When we moved to Colorado, I tried my hand at home childcare and teaching preschool. I eventually decided to go back and get my Special Education Specialist license from Metro State in Denver, Colorado. I worked for 7 years as a special education teacher in a middle school in Aurora, CO. But, the Midwest lakes, family and farm life drew us back to Minnesota, specifically Worthington, MN. Thanks for the opportunity to work with your children and help them reach their potential.

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Mrs. Lowry

Hello! I am Elizabeth Lowry, and I am the Autism Spectrum Disorder and Specific Learning Disabilities teacher for grades 5-8 at Worthington Middle School. I have a Bachelors in Psychology from Iowa State University and a Master’s in Special Education from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. I live with my four daughters and husband in Spirit Lake, Iowa and we enjoy sports, camping and our Newfoundland dogs. We are a very active family and I continue to play competitive volleyball and work out at our local CrossFit.

I am originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming and prior to teaching in Worthington I was a Child Abuse and Neglect Investigator in Kansas City, Missouri. Through my work as a Child Abuse and Neglect Investigator I felt called to teach and work directly with students. I enjoy all my students and often refer to them as my kids. Worthington Middle school has been a home away from home for me and I enjoy working with my colleagues and students.

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Mrs. Statema

Hello, my name is Mrs. Statema and I teach 7th and 8th grade Special Education for students with Autism, Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities and Other Health Impairments. I came to work in Worthington in 2011. I grew up in Sheldon, Iowa and currently live in Rock Valley, Iowa. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in K-8 Elementary Education and K-12 Special Education: Multicategorical Disabilities from University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2000. In 2008 I earned my Masters of Arts in K-12 Special Education, Educational Strategist: EBD/SLD from Morningside College. I am currently pursuing my Autism licensure.

My husband Paul and I enjoy camping, boating, bicycling, travelling and finding new adventures with family and friends. We have 2 adult children, Whitnee and Brandon. I have a passion for reading, exercising and being a lifelong learner. I enjoy making other people laugh and find joy in being with people and kids.

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Ms. Taarud

My name is Amber Taarud. I started at the Worthington Middle School as a Special Education Teacher in the 2019-2020 school year. My direct position is working as the 8th grade Student Learning Disability Teacher. I was born and raised here in Worthington. Graduated from Worthington High School. I then attended MN West Community and Technical College in Worthington, MN where I earned my AA in Liberal Arts and AS in Human Services. From there I attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN where I earned my BA in Psychology and Social Welfare. I moved back to my hometown where I spent 7 years working as a Special Education Paraprofessional. In 2018 I decided I loved education and started my journey through Western Governors University based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Through Western Governors University a Bachelor’s in Special Education and General Education will be earned. I have one son, Corbyn, and one daughter, Gracelyn (gained wings during pregnancy). Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my son, family, and friends. We enjoy activities like dirt track racing, truck pulls, bond fires, amusement parks, zoo’s, swimming, and much more. I look forward to working with your children throughout the year and seeing them learn, grow, and become successful.

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