I was born at home on Oak Ridge (1 of 7 siblings); grade school was a one room school with one teacher; I attended high school as the first class in the newly constructed De Soto High School; and began my post-secondary education at UW-La Crosse which was interrupted by marriage and raising five children as well as assisting in an owned funeral home and grocery store. I also spent 19 years as clerk and/or clerk-treasurer in the village working with local, county, state, and federal agencies. In addition, I was an administrative assistant/bookkeeper in the local school district and a replacement/relief for the postmaster in De Soto.
I always knew I would return to college, and I went back to UW-La Crosse at age 48 to “make sense” of my life experiences as well as to advocate for our youth and support them in their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives recognizing how important it was for school and community to work together. I majored in Community Health Education to finish the bachelor’s degree I had begun 30 years earlier.
After graduation I worked for CESA #4 (an intermediate education agency between local school districts and the state educational agency) writing state and federal grants for youth prevention programs and implementing them in 26 school districts and six counties. This entailed working with local schools, county, state and federal level educational and human service agencies to collaborate on programs to advocate for youth. As a facilitator, my job was to do what had to be done to educate and assist others in creating youth prevention programs.
When I retired, I was recruited as the replacement/relief for the postmaster in Genoa. At the time St. Charles school was transitioning from Principal to a Head Teacher, and several parishioners and the priest asked if I would come to St. Charles as Administrative Assistant to work with the Priest to fill the gap between the Principal and the Head Teacher duties, and eventually including bookkeeping. This was a good fit with my background and the parish and post office worked together to enable me to also continue as postmaster/relief. This is my tenth year at St. Charles Parish and School.
My deep faith has its roots in my immigrant grandparents from Norway who were instrumental in beginning the Lower Coon Valley Lutheran Church. I choose to honor the roots of my heritage as I sincerely believe that we need to work together in as many ecumenical ways as possible for the sake of our youth.
Throughout my adult life I have taught Sunday School. It has always been my hope to assist our youth in understanding Christ’s teachings and have it “make sense” to them in the “real” world they live in rather than just words from the Bible that they wouldn’t be able to comprehend at their age of development. I still support this philosophy with regards to youth religious education today.
My faith is important to me as I strive to make a difference in how we work together (parish, school, and the broader community) to enable our youth to become leaders in, not only our school and church, but also the community at large. The St. Charles parishioners, with their contributions and unending volunteerism are certainly the backbone of St. Charles School, and I have been privileged to spend these years with the parishioners, staff, and students.
After another 30 years, with still “unfinished business” in my strong belief in education, I was able to finish my master’s degree in Community Health while I was working at St. Charles Parish and School. I have no doubt that my life has been under the care of a higher power (God) that continues to lead me today in striving to contribute to the lives of our parishioners and youth at St. Charles.