Alumni Educators | Accent 2018

The Winter 2018 edition of the ALA Accent will feature tidbits about ALA alumni who are currently working in the field of EDUCATION (public, private, and charter). 

We asked the teachers two questions:

(1) Tell us a bit about your teaching career. Where? What? How long ?
(2) Share an interesting tidbit or story about your career or family.

Read their full stories on this page, in no particular order.

Brittany (Marable) Heath, ALA 2009

Bethany Lutheran College/ Early Elementary 
I currently teach at the only A+ charter school in Arizona called EDUPRIZE. I have taught for 4 years. I am currently teaching third grade and I love it!

When I moved to Minnesota for college, my entire family was still in Arizona. When I moved back to Arizona to teach and get married, my family had moved to Wisconsin and Delaware! So even though we are far apart, we still find time to be together. My mom is my rock.

Ryan MacPherson, ALA 1993  

Ph.D., Univ. of Notre Dame
History Dept. Chair, teaching History, Philosophy, and Legal Studies at Bethany Lutheran College, since 2003

Mr. Vic Fenske, my homeroom teacher at ALA, encouraged me to attend Bethany Lutheran College. He had met his wife Doris there. I attended Bethany 1993-1995, and then returned in 2003 as a professor. I met Marie there that year, and we got married in 2004. Now we are homeschooling our five children, with another due to be born in January 2018. Would you believe that I'm using the very same Latin textbook with my children that "Mr. Vic" used with me, nearly 25 years ago! Another memory from ALA that remains fresh in my mind is the Order of Matins. We used that for Wednesday "long chapel" when I was a student. It was new to me then, and I always think of ALA whenever chanting Matins nowadays. It has been a joy to receive the blessings of Christian education, and now to pass that on, both at Bethany Lutheran College and with my own children at home.

Pauline Gray, ALA 1984

BS General Business ASU, MEd Masters Education ASU, Library Endorsement
I am a school librarian in the Chandler Unified School District. After teaching 4th grade for 8 years, I became a school librarian, and it has my dream job since then! I get to inspire the love of reading every day! I am a huge proponent of school libraries, public libraries, and childhood literacy.

I have written grants for our school library since our school opened 14 years ago. Our library recently received a grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks for $2500 for new chapter books aimed at students that struggle with reading.

Dan Johnson, ALA 1984

Dr. Martin Luther College (B.S. Education); National Louis University (Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction); Nova Southeastern University (Doctorate in Educational Leadership) 
After graduating from ALA in 1984, I attended Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. Upon graduation I served at Nebraska Lutheran High School, was the principal of Christ the Lord Lutheran Elementary School in Clearwater, FL, and served as a vice-principal at Shoreland Lutheran High School. In 1993 we moved back to the Valley of the Sun and I became the third principal of ALA. After serving as ALA’s principal from 1999-2008, we moved to Germantown, WI and I am currently the President of Wisconsin Lutheran College.

I’ve been blessed with the gift of service to our Lord at various schools throughout the country. However, one of my all-time treasured moments was serving as principal at my high school alma mater...I will forever be a Coyote! Without question, ALA has been one of my greatest blessings in my life...and I pray that God continues to transform lives via the gift of Christian education at ALA!

Katrina Buchholz, ALA 2010

Martin Luther College, Elementary Education Major
I currently teach at Risen Savior Lutheran School in Milwaukee, WI. In my four years of teaching I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 7th grades, and I currently teach 6th-8th grade English Language Arts.

My favorite time of day in my classroom is whenever I join my seventh grade students in prayer. As we close our devotion, I ask who would like to pray after me, and the result is a long line of students who take turns praying--they offer prayers of thanks and prayers of petition. The selflessness of their prayers never ceases to amaze me as they pray for their families, the families of their classmates and neighbors, and for people struggling around the world. This attitude carries over to their actions. We recently held a food drive at school, and they took it upon themselves to organize the food donations and write messages like "God bless" and "Jesus Saves" on the packaged food items. My students are a daily blessing to me and everyone they serve.

Rebecca Law, ALA 2012

NAU, BS with Honors in Secondary Math Education
Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Algebra and Geometry, Second year teacher

My 2017 goal was to travel once a month and I achieved my goal. I went to Chicago, London, Denver, Portland, Toronto, Ottawa, New York City, and more!


Kristen (Boswell) Wade, ALA 1981

Bachelor of Science in Education, Martin Luther College
• First Call- St. Paul’s, Lake Mills 5th grade for 5 yrs
•Onalaska Luther - taught English 6 yrs - coached volleyball and basketball
• Divine Savior, Doral FL helped start school and taught 2nd and 3rd grade first year
•Beautiful Savior, Cincinnati Ohio- Kdg 3 yrs
•Moved back to AZ- Pan-American Charter School, Phoenix 5th grade 2 yrs
• Eagle college Prep School, Phoenix 7th-8th grade ELA currently 2nd year

After spending many years away from AZ, it is surreal that Jarrod graduated from ALA and Joel soon to be a graduating from ALA.


Rachel (Burk) Plitzuweit, ALA 1991

ASU - BAE Education/Physical Education
I am currently a Physical Education Teacher at an elementary school in Surprise. I teach PE to students in K-8th grade. I am also a Middle School Girls Basketball Coach. I have been teaching for 19 years.

I loved the four years I spent at ALA. I am thankful that my boys will get to have the same experience!






Tony Stone, ALA 1992

D/MLC Elementary Education/Elementary & Secondary Physical Education
My wife Stacy and I taught in the Pendergast District in west Phoenix for 10 years. There I was a 5th grade teacher for one year, and a PE teacher for nine years. We decided that we wanted to try teaching overseas and got jobs in Kyiv, Ukraine, where I taught 5th grade for four years. We then transferred to a school in Shenzhen, China where we have been for the last four years, and I am still teaching 5th grade.

In our eight years overseas we have been able to visit over 20 different countries. I have also enjoyed being able to see some of the work of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and visit Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong.

Erin (Gray) Hulse, ALA 1999

Bachelor of Science in Education, Martin Luther College
I started out teaching at Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, WI. I taught Computer APPS, and PE — but my main responsibility was dorm supervisor (2 years). I didn't work for several years after getting married and having children, but went back to teach Preschool for two years in Woodbury, MN. Currently, I am teaching American Literature and AP Language and Composition to Juniors and Seniors at St. Croix Lutheran Academy in West St. Paul, MN. I have been teaching here since 2013. I also am privileged to be the head Varsity softball coach in the spring — it is great to be around a sport I grew up playing through college — and be able to share my love for softball!

I absolutely LOVE teaching high school. In college, I wanted to teach any grades 1-4. I never thought that this is where I would be in education. Teaching high school has been extremely fulfilling — watching these kids grow up to be "adults" — and helping to guide them there has been one of my greatest joys. My husband Ryan also teaches at SCL, and it is so awesome to be able to work with him every day. It truly doesn't feel like "going to work". We have three children. Our oldest goes to SCL (we are grades 6-12), and the other two will follow in a few years. How many people can say that their entire family will be together during the school day? What an awesome blessing!

Robin (Sievert) Marten, ALA 1990

Bachelor of Arts in Education from Arizona State University
I am currently teaching Preschool at Emmanuel Lutheran School in Tempe, Arizona where I have been teaching for 6 years. Before I taught at Emmanuel, I was a Kindergarten Teacher in the Mesa District for 7 years.

I teach at the same school I attended for my 6th-8th grade years. I also get to watch my son and daughter play on the same basketball court that I played on many years ago as they are currently a Junior and Freshman at ALA.

Jonathan Pasbrig, ALA 1987

BS Elementary Ed - Dr. Martin Luther College K-12 General and Vocal Teaching Certificate, Concordia College - Seward, NE, Masters of Education - Curriculum and Instruction - Technology, Grand Canyon University
I am currently teaching at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School. I teach Traveling Choir, Concert Choir and Kantorei choir, music technology, music theory, and multiple sections of American Government. I also have an extra curricular show choir (the Echoes), assist with the musical and am responsible for KML Sundays with the Traveling Choir. I currently am also the Chairperson of the Executive committee for WELS Choral Festival and also serve on the WELS New Hymnal Committee as a member of the tech committee. This is my 27 year of ministry and the 4th school I have served at. This is year 5 at Kettle Moraine Lutheran and I also served as a choir, band, and technology leader at Nebraska Lutheran, Manitowoc Lutheran, and Arizona Lutheran.

Due to the opportunity to serve in multiple states, each of my 3 children have been born in different states. Something that is somewhat unique in ministry is that I was able to teach my youngest brother and 2 sisters in high school because my father took a call to be the principal after I was already assigned to NELHS. Having the chance to be a teacher to the youngest in the family gave me an opportunity to get to know them because I was at college when they were little. I cherish that opportunity. I also need to express great thanks to my wife Mary for her support in assisting at each of the schools I have been called to. She has been a faithful assistant at each school serving in various and differing capacities and continues to assist by running the sound and lights for concerts at KML. God has blessed our family at each location we have been called to and I now have the opportunity to also take care of my retired parents who built a house in a property adjacent to us in West Bend, WI. I look forward to the continued adventures God has in store for us as we continue in ministry.

Josh Walker, ALA 1997

Bachelor of Science in Education, Martin Luther College
I taught and served as principal in Fort Worth, TX for 4 years at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School. My call was then changed to Staff Minister where I served as youth and family minister and preschool director. I was then called to teach at CLHS for a short time in 2013 before taking my call to serve as principal at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and School. I have been principal at St. Paul's for five years.

I have experienced a lot of exciting change in my ministry. I have had the opportunity to serve as staff minister, preschool director, high school teacher, and principal. I thank God for the many opportunities that he has given to me in my ministry, and I also thank ALA for preparing me for this service.

Jill (Meyer) Hagedorn, ALA 1992

Bachelor of Science in Education, Martin Luther College
I am currently teaching Kindergarten at Bethany Lutheran School in Kenosha, WI. This is my first year at Bethany, but my 15th year teaching.

I spent my first 6 years after college as a stay at home Mom and then started teaching part time and recently moved to full time when my youngest child started Kindergarten himself.




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