Main Menu

Explore More

Saints Star

Art: Saints Star

January 2021

Dean Armstrong, DAPE Teacher
Site: St. Francis Middle School
Nominator: Anonymous

He is so kind and encouraging to his students with special needs. He believes in them and works hard to push them outside their own expectations. He is a true gift to all students. Dean also cares about his colleagues and supports them however he can. He has a listening ear and is willing to assist others. I believe he truly wants others to be happy and succeed—he does whatever he can to facilitate their well-being and accomplishments.

Cathy Phillips
Site: St. Francis High School
Nominator: Josiah Telschow

Cathy has been a huge help to the choir program, organizing and preparing for the annual Madrigal Dinners this year and in the past. A ton of unique and challenging prep work goes into preparing the food for the dinners, and Cathy goes above and beyond. Further, she works well with various parent volunteers and has helped us manage the dinner events’ last few challenging and unique years. We are so thankful for Cathy’s guidance and help!

Alice Ballance, Media EA
Site: St. Francis Elementary School
Nominator: Donette Marano

Alice has gone above and beyond as a member of our team in so many many ways. Such as: helping with the copier, if jammed or showing how to make multiple copies while using the copier. She has helped with the laminating machine in so many ways. Alice cleans and stocks paper in the staff workroom. She creates bookmarks for children by upcycling laminated paper. Alice has helped the children with breakfast in the kindergarten flex area, then washes the tables when the children are done.

Lisa Boettcher, Office Professional
Site: Early Childhood Family Center
Nominator: Melissa Denning

Lisa is the jack of all trades in Early Childhood. She greets families with a smile, is the first voice when parents call for screening, she supports registration and staff absentees, which leads to finding subs for our building. Lisa does this all with a smile on her face. I have not once seen Lisa upset or angry. She rolls with the punches and has a positive attitude for families and staff. Lisa works endlessly and what seems like around the clock. 

Adrienne Lewis, Student Services Program Supervisor
Site: St. Francis Area Schools District-wide
Nominator: Andrea Klinsing

I have participated in several meetings that Adrienne has facilitated this year. Adrienne is an outstanding communicator. She is highly organized, knowledgeable and empathetic, which is critical when it comes to having tough conversations. Adrienne is always respectful of both parents and staff during IEP meetings and values ideas from all participants. We are lucky to have her as an advocate for our students who receive special education services.

November 2021

Photo: Saints Stars November 2021 Tracy Peterson and Liz Koering

Pictured (L-R): Tracey Peterson and Liz Koering

Dawn Abraham, Career Planning Advisor
Site: St. Francis High School
Nominator: Thea Svihel
Like most of us, Dawn has added many additional duties to her plate, and they are not small in nature. Dawn is not only our Career Advisor but also our Librarian and ACT coordinator. There is so much involved with each of these responsibilities, and Dawn does them all with no complaints, a smile on her face, and with precision! The students at SFHS love Dawn, as she is always so approachable and helps guide them with their plans following high school. SFHS is so lucky to have such an outstanding employee, and I am so lucky and blessed to work with her every day!

Tracey Peterson & Liz Koering, IT Technicians
Site: St. Francis Area Schools District-wide
Nominator: Darin Bourasa
Tracey and Liz are amazing members of our district technology team! They are efficient, have a timely follow-through, are knowledgeable, friendly, and went above and beyond to fix my technology issues. Before leaving my room, they even asked if I had any technology materials that needed recycling, so they took away some clutter, too! ‘Service with a smile’ is what our district members get when working with Tracey and Liz!

Linda Stelmacher, Office Professional
Site: Cedar Creek Community School
Nominators: Susan Carter and Leah Medenwaldt
Linda is completely dedicated and invested in CCES. She is the kindest person and so, so giving! She is a total rock star with staff, parents, and kids alike! Linda has devoted hours, upon hours, upon hours of extra time to our school. She goes above and beyond in her job as a secretary at Cedar Creek Community School. Linda is friendly, nice, caring, and a great person when parents come into the office. She is always there for you, whatever you may need.

Peggy Peterson, Office Professional
Site: St. Francis Middle School
Nominator: Dawn Nordin
Peggy goes out of her way to assist ALL that enter SFMS. She is a knowledgeable staff member and a great asset to the middle school. Peggy works long hours to create bulletin boards around the school, make nameplates for the classrooms, and always is willing to assist as needed. She answers the phones and any questions anyone may have. We are lucky to have her be the first person people see and meet at the middle school.


October 2021

Photo: October 2021 recipients of Saints Star

Pictured (L-R): School Board (SB) member Amy Kelly, Superintendent Beth Giese, SB member Pam Johnson, Mary Lundquist, SB member Scott Schwarz, Principal Shelly Gilmore, SB member Rob Schoenrock, Sara Keding, SB member Jill Anderson, and SB member Mike Starr.

Shelly Gilmore, Principal
Site: Cedar Creek Elementary School
Nominator: Chantelle Odell

Shelly is one of the most caring people I have ever met. She puts her whole heart into everything she does, and she cares deeply for everyone in our district, but most especially for her staff and students at Cedar Creek. 

Mary Lundquist, Language Arts Teacher
Site: St. Francis High School
Nominator: Joel Olson

Mary is an inspirational colleague who has been tremendously helpful to me in my teaching practice. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with her for my 16 years in the district. She has been a good friend, a thoughtful, supportive leader, and an important mentor in that time. She works tirelessly to serve the students in our community, and she is a positive adult role model for young people and me as well.

Sara Keding, Teacher
Site: East Bethel Elementary School
Nominator: Jamie Reil 

Sara is a phenomenal teacher, colleague, and friend. She goes above and beyond for her students. The love she has for teaching is incredible to see. My son had her last year. He told me last night that when he is all done with school, the person he will miss the most is Mrs. Keding. He said, “because it’s so hard to say goodbye to someone you love.” He’s moving onto second grade this year. We both cried when first grade was over when our time with Sara was over. She will hold a special place in his heart. She will hold a special place in every heart of every student she teaches. East Bethel Elementary School is so incredibly blessed to have Mrs. Keding. She always says that she is the lucky one, but in reality, we are the lucky ones!

Dylan Schroeder, Jake Loukinen, & Matt Norton, Coaches
Site: St. Francis High School
Nominator: Kyle Waterworth

Dylan Schroeder, Jake Loukinen, and Matt Norton are the best. They support the high school football program by going above and beyond what is expected of an assistant coach both in and out of season. I couldn’t run this program without them!


September 2021

Photo: September 2021 Saints Stars: Lori Davis, Nancy Larson, Monte Spears, Supt. Giese

Pictured (L-R): Lori Davis, Nancy Larson, Monte Spears and Superintendent Beth Giese.

Marika Hendricks, Office Professional
Site: St. Francis Learning Center
Marika is not only an innovative problem solver, amazingly efficient, super organized, and helpful to all of our staff, students, and families, but she is a joy to work with! I don’t think we could even pretend to know how long her to-do list is each day, yet she is always willing to step away and help someone else with questions or concerns when asked. I would not be able to do my job without her!!

Lori Davis, St. Francis Area Schools Accountant
Site: District Office
During the transition of a new Business Director, Lori stepped up and filled that role until someone was hired.  She makes it possible for other staff members to complete their duties, such as setting them up in Skyward, answering account code questions, and the list goes on. We are so fortunate to have such a gem on our team at the District Office.

Nancy Larson, Teacher
Site: St. Francis Middle School
Nancy has been an amazing mentor as I go on my third year with the district. She is a fantastic human to both her colleagues and students and has made my transition into the district amazing.

Monte Spears, Custodian
Site: Cedar Creek Elementary School
Monte goes above and beyond in everything that he does. He doesn’t overlook anything and takes such pride in making sure that Cedar Creek is ready for students every day. I don’t think there has even been a time that he has said no. Anytime he is asked to do something, it is done right away and with a gleaming smile on his face.


A Saints Star is someone who has gone above and beyond to make St. Francis Area Schools a great place to learn and work.

To nominated a staff member to be a Saints Star, please email Superintendent Beth Giese a short paragraph about the nominee.