Staff Biographies & News Page

Welcome to our Staff Biographies Page where you will learn about our staff from interesting articles written by our student reporters.

From L to R,  here is our crack news team!

Top Row: Fab Newsgirl, Professor Jumping Beans, Orangesicle, Bouncy Polkadots,  Blueberries Sal, Little "D" Dynomite, and Chef Candy Cook.
Bottom Row: Captain Gentle Been, Radio Cat, Keylime Pie, Pipsqueak the Kitty and Purple Paws.

Mr. Andresen:

Mr.Tom Andresen teaches fourth grade at Garfield. Did you know that he would buy an island in Canada if he won the lottery?  Also, if money didn't matter, for a living he would work with kids to give them an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. He became a teacher because he likes watching kids learn, grow, become enthusiastic about learning. One thing people don’t know about Mr. Andresen is that he once won third place in a dancing contest with over 60 contestants! Let’s see the trophy and some moves!

Mrs. Stroot:

This is Mrs. Stroot’s first year teaching special education at Garfield Elementary.  Previously, she taught high school students for 13 years. She loves nature and photography. Her favorite hobby is taking pictures of either her four girls or beautiful landscapes.  A fun fact I bet you didn't know about Mrs. Stroot is that she lived in a castle in Alnwick, England for six months and studied abroad, when she was a sophomore in college.

Mrs. Dorn:

Mrs. Dorn is a 3rd grade teacher at our school and she has taught at Garfield for 16 years. She started teaching 5th grade and is now teaching 3rd grade. If she had 1,000,000 dollars she would take a trip to Australia. Mrs. Dorn attended college at Concordia in Moorhead, MN. A fun fact about Mrs. Dorn is that she can walk around a room on her hands!!

Ms. Ruen:

Ms. Ruen has been teaching at Garfield as a kindergarten teacher for 6 years! She became a teacher because her mother and two grandmothers were teachers, and her grandfather was a professor at a college. Also because she loves kids and wants to make a difference in their lives. If she won the lottery she would make a new bigger Garfield with huge classrooms and a gigantic playground! If money didn’t matter she would travel the USA and decorate and organize classrooms. Something people don’t know about Mrs.Ruen is that she has been in 3 different triathlons!

Mr. Tomonovich:

Mr.Tomonovich decided to be a teacher because he likes to work with kids. He has been the media specialist at Garfield for six years. He has taught in nine different schools. When he was young, he saw the original Star Wars movie 32 times. He raced in half marathons when he was younger and loves to fish. He has one child and he’s almost 10 years old. Mr.Tom is desperately looking for a new puppy and he misses his border collie. If he could be any kind of animal, he would be a European golden eagle and fly all over Europe. Mr. Tom is going to build a treehouse this summer. His favorite sport is hockey and his favorite holiday is The Fourth of July, that's cool!   

Meet: Mrs. Askerooth-Olson

Mrs. Askerooth-Olson has been teaching for 40 years! She has taught at both Garfield and Lincoln Elementary. She has taught Art, Kindergarten and First Grade. She is married and has one son. Her husband is an artist and creates 12 foot tall paintings. Did you know if Mrs. Askerooth-Olson won the lottery, she would  build a giant tree house at Garfield! If she wasn't a teacher, she would have been an artist and a dancer.  

Meet Traci Potvin

Traci Potvin works as the family collaborative connection at Garfield Elementary. She choose to work at Garfield because she liked the staff and the kids. She is married and has three boys of her own. I asked Traci if she were given 20,000 what would she do with the money. She said that she would take her family out to eat and to the movies. She would take a vacation and then she would give the rest of the money to Garfield for a big pizza and ice cream party for the school. If Traci wasn’t doing her current job, she said that she would have liked to have been an art teacher.

Terri Melin 
Terri became a nurse, because people told her she would be good at it, and she was always a caretaker even as a child. Her favorite animal is a bear. If she won the lottery she would pay all her bills, then her children's bills, and bank the rest. If money didn't matter, as a job Terri would still be doing what she is doing now, being a nurse. Something people don’t know about her is that she wanted to be an interior designer.

Meet Ms. O’Connor:

If she wasn't a teacher she would have been a nurse. She has been a teacher for 9 years. When she retires, she would like to travel. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. She is a teacher because she enjoys working with kids. She also enjoys working on cars and likes to snowmobile in the winter. If she could pick anywhere in the world to go she would go to Ireland. The coolest vacation she has been on was a road trip to New York. 


Meet: Kim Aspholm

Kim Aspholm is married and has three children. If she won the lottery she would use the money to pay some of her bills and give some to charity. Her favorite food is crab legs. When she retires, she would like to travel. Kim’s dream job is to be a singer. Her favorite type of music is country. She’s a lunch lady because she loves to cook. One thing you may know about Kim is she once worked at Yellowstone National Park.

Meet: Shelly

By: Orangesicle and Key Lime Pie

Shelly is our evening custodian. She came to Garfield last year and loves being around the elementary students and staff. She has 3 children of her own; one girl and two boys. She also has 5 grandchildren. Her favorite food is lasagna. She has been a janitor for 10 years. One thing not too many people know about Shelly is that she once had a job in Beverly Hills, California. Shelly has two secret talents. She has an incredible knack for bringing plants back to life and she can still do cartwheels. If she was NOT a janitor she would be a landscaper. Her favorite flower is a rose. Her favorite kind of music is old time rock and roll. If she could go anywhere she would go to Hawaii.

Meet: Kari Fish

By: Orangesicle and Key Lime Pie

Mrs. Fish has been working at Garfield for 5 years. She is married, has 3 boys and a pet fish.Two of her sons go to school here at Garfield. Lucas is in first grade and Nathaniel is in kindergarten. She started working at Garfield because she loves kids! Her favorite food is pizza. Her dream job is teaching adults. If she won the lottery, she would use the money to buy a new house and take a vacation. Her favorite sport is Volleyball. A secret talent that she has is using Young Living oils to make things.

Meet: Mrs. Streiff

Mrs. Streiff has worked at Garfield for 18 years! She is married and has 3 children; 2 boys and 1 girl. Mrs. Streiff is also a diving coach for the Brainerd High School swim team. She was born and raised in Brainerd and Mrs. Streiff is also a former Warrior athlete of the year! She can still do a pretty good cartwheel too! A fun fact not too many people know about Mrs. Streiff is that last summer she obtained her Realtors license!

Meet: Mr. Baloga

Mr. Baloga came to Garfield because their was an opening  to be a gym teacher. He really enjoys playing soccer with his students. This is his second year teaching gym class. For technology in gym he would like an iPad. He is married and has two girls one is 4 and the other is 2. He teaches gym because he loves it. Mr. Baloga's favorite disney character is Donald Duck. He loves Italian food and chocolate peanut butter ice cream. One thing you probably don’t know about Mr. Baloga is that he lived in a castle for 6 months!      


Mr. Grausam:

Mr. “G” as he is affectionately called, is one of our two phy ed. teachers. He has been teaching physical education for 22 years and has been at Garfield since 2006. He is also a wrestling and boys soccer coach in his spare time. His favorite game in gym class is hockey pin-guard. He likes to be fit and healthy so he eats lots of fish, fruit and vegetables. He likes to be outdoors and enjoys hunting and fishing. The largest deer he killed was an 8 pointer. For fun he likes to spend time with his 2 kids, wife and his dog Winnie! A fun fact about Mr.G that most people do not know is that he once went bungee jumping and has even rapelled!  

Mrs. Blosberg:

Mrs. Blosberg has been a teacher at Garfield for 11 years! She has taught second grade, fifth grade and sixth grade. She has been a Reading Recovery teacher and also taught Title 1. She is now teaching Kindergarten. She loves to read and her hidden talent is singing. Mrs. Blosberg has 2 children, Grant and Paige.

Shanny Wolf:

By: Orangesicle              

Shani Wolf is an EA at Garfield and has been working here for 12 years. She is married and has 2 children; one boy and one girl.  If she won the lottery she would give the money to Make A Wish. Her favorite Disney character is Ariel from The Little Mermaid. She started working at Garfield because she likes working and teaching kids. Her dream job is the job that she already has which is working with kids. Her favorite thing to do at home is read books. Her favorite kind of music is pop music. Shani LOVES McDonald french fries and designing houses.

Jodi Kuschel:

Jodi has worked at Garfield for the past 5 years. She loves working with children. Jodi is married and has 3 children. If she was retired she would go to Alaska. Her favorite kind of music is country. If she didn't work at Garfield, she would just stay at home and spend more time with her family and grandchildren. Her dream job would be to own a store in Grand Marais. She loves the North Shore!

Mrs. Larson:

Mrs. Larson is married and has three children; 2 boys and one girl. Her daughter is from Guatemala. She has been a teacher for 19 years. If she wasn’t a teacher, she would teach piano lessons. When she retires, she wants to spend more time riding horses. In Kindergarten and First grade she is teaching students about steady beat rhythm. In second grade she is teaching them signs and refrains. She is teaching third graders Chinese music, and in fourth grade she is teaching Latin American Music. Wow, she is sure a great music teacher and all of the students at Garfield love her!

Mrs. Smith

Mrs. Smith is married with 3 children. Her dream job would be to be a famous performer. If she won the lottery she would use the money to give some to her family, go on a trip to Australia and then donate some to kids that want to participate in sports but can't afford them. She loves any Mexican food. If she could go anywhere in the world she would either go to Australia, Alaska or Hawaii. A secret that no one knows about her is that she is scared of bridges! She has worked at Garfield for 26 years, “WOW”. Her favorite kind of music is country or gospel music. Her favorite subject to teach is Math. Her favorite book is Number the Stars and her favorite movie is “Pretty Woman”.  She became a teacher because everyday is different and she is presented with new challenges on a daily basis.

Meet: Ms. Ericksen

By:KeyLime Pie

Ms.Ericksen is our library teacher at Garfield Elementary and she has worked here for 10 years. If she could own any type of business, she would own an ice cream shop and have fun birthday parties for kids there. Her favorite ice cream is butter brickle. She has three children; 1 girl and 2 boys. Her daughter is getting married this summer and moving to North Carolina. Her favorite type of music is Country. She loves reading books to children and making funny voices up too! She hopes to go sky diving and bungee jumping someday!

Meet: Faye

Faye has been working at Garfield for 16 years. If she didn’t work here she would be working somewhere outside. She has always wanted to be in the Army. If she could change her name, she would be Lucy. Her favorite hobby is cooking and she makes some pretty amazing stuff! If she could go anywhere in the world, she would go to Ireland. Faye is truly the “glue” that holds Garfield together and she always has a smile for everyone who comes in.    

Meet: Kayla Anderson

Kayla Anderson has been teaching at Garfield for 3 years. She teaches special education and is such an amazing advocate for all students. Kayla got married last summer and lives in Baxter with her husband and her dog. Kayla’s favorite hobby is knitting. Kayla has an amazing singing voice and we have been able to hear her sing on numerous occasions at Garfield.

Meet: Julie Hunter

By: Radio Cat

Mrs. Hunter came to Garfield to work with all the cool people. She is has been here for two years. Before coming to Garfield, she had worked at both Harrison and Riverside schools. She is married and has 2 children; one boy and one girl. Her husband, Chris is the Media Specialist at Riverside. Her favorite treat is a dove dark chocolate bar. Her dream job would be to own a breakfast in bed restaurant. One thing you probably don’t know about Mrs. Hunter is that at one time in her life, she worked in Japan.    

Meet:  Lori Sweet

Lori Sweet has worked in the Garfield kitchen for 20 years! She loves spending time outdoors. Lori has two sons and four grandchildren. Her hidden talent is that she is silly and loves to entertain people. Something you may not know about Lori is that she once visited the exact place in Alaska that the reindeer Prancer was born.  

Meet: Mrs. Olson

Mrs.Olson has been working at Garfield Elementary for 16   years. However, she has been a teacher for 36 years. She has 2 sons, one daughter, a son in law and an adorable new granddaughter, Sophie. She also has one spoiled dog named Casear. Her favorite color is red. If Mrs. Olson were to win the lottery she would, go on vacation, pay all of her bills, and tithe. For fun she likes to read, ride bike, and kayak. A fun fact about Mrs.Olson is that she once rode her bike from inter-city Chicago to northern Minnesota, over 900 miles with her entire family.

Meet:  Mrs. Jelacie (formerly Kramer)

Ms. Kramer is a first year teacher at Garfield Elementary.  She currently teaches Kindergarten. Last year she taught in Onamia. She was born in Brainerd, and attended school here as well. She loves her job very much. She is getting married in June. She is hoping to get a puppy soon but she still considers her parents dog as her own. Her favorite sport is gymnastics. She competed in gymnastics in high school and has also coached gymnastics in the past.  Her favorite thing to do is spend time with family and her favorite holiday is the Fourth of July.