About Our Teachers

Mrs. Ahrens

Hello! My name is Erin Ahrens and I teach Kindergarten through second grade Special Education at Prairie Elementary. I have been teaching at Prairie since 2011. I graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. I have licenses in the areas of Specific Learning Disabilities as well as Developmental Cognitive Disabilities. I absolutely LOVE working with kids every day. It amazes me to see the growth they make through their elementary years.

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Ms. Andersen

My name is Kristen Andersen and I am a first year Special Education teacher at Prairie Elementary. I received my Academic & Behavioral Strategist K-12 degree from Western Governors University. Before my teaching degree, I worked in the district as a Special Education Paraprofessional for four years. In my spare time, I like watching sporting events & reading.

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Miss Braun

Hello! My name is Payton Braun. I am a graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University with licenses early childhood and special education. I joined the Worthington team in the 22-23 school year, and it has been such a great blessing to be here!

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Ms. Brignac

My name is Rebecca Brignac and I started at Prairie Elementary in 2019 as a Special Education Teacher. I grew up in Worthington, graduated from Worthington High School. I received a Sport Management degree from Wayne State College in 2010. I am currently working on receiving my Special Education degree from Walden University which I will receive in 2021. I have two kids, Taliyah and Treyson. We enjoy being outside as much as possible playing games, walking, and biking! I look forward to working with your children and seeing them learn and grow!

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Mrs. Gath

I graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science and in 2015 with a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. I have recent work experience in medical settings, but am excited to grow in this position with ISD 518.  My husband and I live on an acreage near Spirit Lake and we enjoy spending our time with our daughter and family.

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Ms. Feldman

Hello!  My name is Tricia Feldman. I am a Teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for District 518. I have been working here since 2012, but have been an itinerant teacher in several other districts and states since 1998. I graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, majoring in Deaf Education and Elementary Education.  

I work with students with varying degrees of hearing loss and needs.  I truly love what I do, and it is always different every day! My most rewarding part of my job is when I see a student advocate for themselves in different situations, and when skills are carried over to the classroom or in social situations. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family at our lake cabin.

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Mrs. King

My name is Barb King and I have a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and a Masters degree in Learning Disabilities from Minnesota State Mankato. I started working for the district as a special education, learning disabilities teacher in 2008. In 2013 I joined SEAT (Special Education Assessment Team) as an educational assessment specialist.

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Ms. Kwiatkowski

My name is Ewa Gruszeczka, and I am Special Education Teacher at the Prairie Elementary. Recently, I graduated from Roosevelt University with a Master’s Degree in Special Education with Learning Behavioral Specialist endorsement. I am a Polish national and completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Primary Education in my native country. The thing I like most about teaching is my students. I love teaching them and learning from them.

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Mrs. Miller

My name is Tonisha Miller and I am a Special Education Teacher. I went to Minnesota West Community and Technical College and received my AA. I then attended Minnesota State University Mankato and received my BS in Special Education, Developmental Cognitive Disabilities. I have since went on to add licenses in Emotional/Behavior Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The thing I enjoy most about teaching is every day is new and exciting. They keep me busy and I love it!

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Mrs. Mulder

I teach occupational therapy. I received a B.S. from Mount Mary, Milwaukee Wisconsin and a MBA from University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I have worked in healthcare for twenty years then changed to education in 2009. I have specialized in pediatrics for several years while in healthcare. I enjoy the day to day hands on with the children. When the child understands the concept, it’s very exciting and rewarding. I am an avid, diehard, relentless, understanding U of M gopher fan! Go Maroon and Gold!

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Mrs. Murphy

My name is Darcy Murphy. I am a speech language pathologist employed with the Worthington School District. I am working with third grade, fourth grade and high school students. I graduated from Lakefield High School and attended Mankato State University where I obtained both my undergraduate and Masters Degree in Communication Disorders. I have eighteen years of experience as a Speech Language Pathologist in the school setting working with all ages. I have an additional six years of experience working with adults in the nursing home and hospital settings. 

I reside in Round Lake, MN on a farm with my husband and daughter. My husband farms and my daughter is a student at Jackson County Central. I also have an adult son currently living in Mankato.

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Ms. Read

Hello! My name is Ms. Read. I started teaching Fall of 2018.I
graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University with my
bachelors in Elementary Education, Special Education, and
Early Childhood Special Education. I have my masters in Autism
Spectrum Disorder from Concordia St Paul. I enjoy working with
the younger students of the district. They bring so much
laughter to the job.

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Ms. Schmokel

I graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato in the Spring of 2019. I started teaching in Worthington in the fall of 2021 after I moved to the area just before the start of the school year. In my free time I enjoy reading, exploring the outdoors, crafting and hanging out with my goldendoodle, Brooks.

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