About Our Teachers

Mrs. Baker-Merrigan

Hello, my name is Ellen Baker-Merrigan. I teach Biology at Worthington High School. I started my teaching career in the Lead-Deadwood, SD School District. Wanting to get closer to my Sioux Falls hometown, my husband and I made the move to Worthington in 1993.

I received my AA degree from Cottey College in Nevada, MO. I went on to earn BS degrees in Philosophy, English and Life Science, and later a MA in Secondary Education.
I have many hobbies, but especially enjoy knitting and fishing.

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Mr. Besel

Hello, my name is Tucker Besel and I currently teach conceptual physics and chemistry at WHS. I started teaching at WHS in the fall of 2015. I graduated from Winona State University in the spring of 2015 with a degree in physics and chemistry education. I grew up in Austin, MN and had my student teaching experience in Dodge Center, MN. I currently play in the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra in the percussion section. I have played with the Austin Symphony Orchestra in the past. I am also the assistant coach for the 1st Robotics team at WHS.

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Mrs. Hansen

My name is Jodi Hansen. I have been teaching in Worthington Public Schools since 1993. The first eight years were with the 9th graders at Worthington Junior High teaching mainly Physical Science. I moved to the high school with the 9th graders in the fall of 2000. Since then I have continued to teach Physical Science and have added Reading Workshop, Forensic Science, Contemporary Science Survey, Chemistry and AP Chemistry.

I received my undergraduate degree from Bethel College in Physical Science Secondary Education in 1993 and my Master's degree in Reading Specialist from the University of Sioux Falls in 2001. I have been very active in both state and national professional organizations throughout my teaching career. These include Minnesota Science Teachers Association, National Science Teachers Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Education Minnesota, National Education Association, and American Federation of Teachers.

I enjoy finding new ways to help students master science content. I strive to find ways to engage students with the material and make learning interesting.

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Ms. Hensch

Hello! I'm Erin Hensch. Prior to teaching, I've worked for a couple SWCDs, the USDA, and a private engineering firm. I began my teaching career at Goshen Community Schools in Goshen, Indiana, then moved out this way a few years ago. I began teaching at WHS in the fall of 2017.

With a passion for ecology, environmental science and environmental law, I earned my BS in environmental science (minor in secondary education) from Joseph's College (Rensselaer, IN) and my Master of Environmental Science from the University of Oklahoma.

Outside of work, I cheer on the Sooners (Boomer! Sooner!), Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears. I enjoy swimming, quilting and reading. The last few summers I've been trying to develop more of a green thumb. I love to travel, even if it's just a small road trip. I have my PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and enjoy traveling anywhere I can use it (especially the Caribbean).

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Mr. Kroger

My name is Craig Kroger and I teach Biology, AP Biology,Genetics, Anatomy & Physiology, at Worthington High School. I graduated from SMSU, St. Mary's.

I taught in Round Lake, MN from 1980-1993, I have taught at Worthington Dist. 518 High School since 1993.

I enjoy interacting with the young adults of Dist. 518.

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Mr. Olsen

My name is Paul Olsen and I teach Physics, Physical Science, Meteorology, and Astronomy.

My education was obtained from North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University at Mankato, and St. Mary's University.

I have been teaching in Worthington since 1993.

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Mrs. Wendt

My name is Barbara Wendt, and 2015 is my first year teaching science at Worthington High School. I graduated from Minnesota State, Mankato with a degree in life science education and a minor in music. I have taught previously at Murray County Central in Minnesota, Crosby ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD near Houston, Texas, and Dubuque ISD in Iowa. I have taught middle school science, physical science, biology, environmental science, ESL science, and chemistry during my 10 years in the classroom. I am currently working on my masters degree in teaching English as a second language at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall.

I have spent many summers marching, teaching, or volunteering with band programs, marching bands and drum & bugle corps. You can find me cheering for the Green Bay Packers during the fall, the MN Wild during the winter, and the Sioux Falls Storm during the spring.

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