Ms. Back

I’m Bobbi Back, and I’m the science teacher at the ALC. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a Master’s in Education from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. Before coming to Worthington, I tutored students for AVID, a college preparation program, and Tutor Doctor, a tutoring service. During the summer, I taught science classes for Upward Bound which is a program geared toward helping students from low-income families or who are first-generation college students prepare for and succeed in college. I originally went to school to be a zookeeper, so I love learning about and talking about animals. I connect quite a bit of what I teach to animals and I love when my students try to stump me on animal questions!

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Ms. Doyle

Originally from Anoka MN, Ms. Doyle taught art for over ten years in the Twin Cities metro area. In addition to classroom teaching, Ms. Doyle is an exhibiting painter. Her artwork can be viewed at If she isn’t teaching or painting, Ms. Doyle is most likely searching for interesting vinyl records to add to her collection.

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Mr. Evans

Graduating from the Minnesota State University Moorhead, has prepared me to work in the Worthington School District, which has been my home since 2010. As a health and physical education teacher at both the ALC and the Worthington High School, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of students. I enjoy helping to mold those students into reaching their highest potential.

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Mrs. Harder

I have been teaching Business classes since graduating from Bemidji State University, which is also where I obtained my Master’s degree in Business Education. Prior to teaching at Worthington, I had 22 years of experience teaching at Warroad High School in northern Minnesota and 3 years of experience teaching at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa. I am currently teaching business and career classes at the Area Learning Center. 

Working with students with diverse backgrounds and skill levels is very rewarding. The students challenge me to learn and continually find alternative ways to enhance my teaching methods. Interacting with these young adults makes teaching an exciting career with something new to look forward to every day.

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Ms. Hermsen

I graduated from the University of Sioux Falls in 2008 earning my degree in K-8 elementary education. I played basketball and golf for the Cougars. I have currently taught the last four years in the West Central School District. I was also the head volleyball and head girls golf coach in those four years.

Education has always been a big part of my life as both my parents are educators as well. I enjoy working with children to help prepare them to be successful in their daily lives. In my spare time, I enjoy golfing, boating and spending time with my family.

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Mr. Loi

I was born in Vietnam and I came to Mankato 10 years ago to attend Loyola Catholic School as a sophomore in high school. After graduating from high school, I went to Minnesota State University to get my B.A. in Mathematics Education and M.A. in Mathematics. While I was finishing up my Master’s degree, I had the opportunities to teach College Algebra and Finite Math and Introduction to Calculus to college students. 

My first year teaching in Worthington School District was 2017. I enjoy working with the students and staffs in the ALC. I believe that with my experiences as international student, I can help students bring out their full potential.

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Mr. Lowry

Teaching in 42 different nations around the word has taught me that children are the same everywhere. And the satisfaction I get from working with young people has only increased through my various experiences. It is also a joy to help them understand the world and why it is the way it is.

Before traveling the world as an educator, I graduated from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1986. From there, I began my teaching adventure – traveling to Honduras, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Africa. Although I am now teaching comfortably for the Worthington School District, I do not consider my adventure over. By teaching a variety of social studies classes – World History, American History, Economics, Government, Geography, and the Humanities – it is safe to say there is a new adventure every day.

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Mrs. Markus

I graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. I have been a licensed social worker for three years. Prior to working at the ALC, I worked for Nobles County and Murray County as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager. This experience has prepared me to work with the youth at the ALC. I am very excited to meet the students of the ALC and to explore ways to overcome certain barriers in their life- may it be mental health issues, truancy, or family struggles. I enjoy watching children grow and recognize their own potential to be successful in life.

Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family which consists of my husband, our daughter, and our dog.

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Mrs. Nelson

When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher told me I should become a teacher and started me on my journey to teaching communications at the Area Learning Center. A three and one-half week cultural and language immersion experience in France gave me a better understanding of what it is like for our students who come here knowing very little English.

Except for when I was in college, I have lived in Nobles County, and during that time I taught at Adrian, Brewster, and Round Lake before teaching at Worthington. I graduated from Worthington High School and earned degrees at Worthington Community and Technical College and Minnesota State University, Mankato. I did most of my graduate work at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the University of Iowa.

Outside of the school setting, I enjoy writing, photography, reading, needlework, sewing and quilting, gardening, preserving and researching history, and working with steam engines at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minnesota.

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Mr. Smith

Raised outside of Farmersburg, IA (population 280- it is a real place!) I attended Iowa State University and experienced teaching math in Decorah, IA; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Sherburn, MN before Joining the ALC team. Every step of my life I turn into a learning and growing experience because, “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” -John Cotton Dana.

Aside from teaching, I enjoy camping, bicycling, cooking, and corny jokes.

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Ms. Torgerson

Hello! I am Sandy Torgerson and I teach special education at the ALC. I graduated from Buena Vista University with degrees in elementary education and special education as well as a reading endorsement. Before earning my teaching degree I worked as a special education para professional for eight years. I love working with special education students.

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Mr. Utesch

Graduating from Iowa State University the spring of 2017 and student teaching in two very diverse school districts helped prepare me to teach at the ALC in Worthington. I love having the opportunity to reach students of all cultures and backgrounds. Seeing students succeed and learn something new is one of the many rewards of being an educator that I thoroughly enjoy. 

My goal is to help each student reach their fullest potential and build relationships with them that create a positive learning environment. I am an avid sports fan. The teams I root for are the Twins, Vikings, and Nebraska Cornhuskers.

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Ms. Wahl

I earned my B.A. in psychology from Southwest State University in Marshall, MN and then my Master's degree in counseling, for both schools and agencies, from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. From there, I became the k-12 school counselor for five years in Clark, SD. I then began back in Minnesota with the Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley School District as 7-12 and later k-12 Counselor for six years and Browns Valley School District as the k-8 School Counselor for two years until the job changed to full time at CGB. In 2015, I started here at the ALC as the 7-12 School Counselor. I have always found working with kids to be enjoyable. 

At the ALC, I have many responsibilities including individual and group counseling, mental health referrals, career counseling, scheduling, test coordination, and anything else that supports our students to meet their goals and preparing for a successful future. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family and spending time outdoors, camping, hiking, etc.

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Ms. Witthuhn

I spent my early childhood in Texas, growing up on the southern tip of the Great Plains. My interest in other languages and cultures was fueled by the Mexican-American community there as well as the international students/faculty at the university where my parents worked and studied. This early exposure probably led me to becoming an ELL teacher. At the University of Minnesota, I majored in German Studies. My degree in German led me to Austria where I taught English to high school students for two years, and learned that this—teaching and working with English language learners—was what I wanted to do with my life. I recently obtained my teaching license in English as a Second Language at Hamline University. 

I love working with English language learners—because they are remarkable. Remarkable, because they speak more than one language. I love learning about them as individuals, their homelands, and their cultural backgrounds.

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