Eagan welcomes new staff

Sana Tahir and Lauren Holm

Eagan High School has welcomed many new faces this year, from the freshman class of 2024 to 18 new members of staff. 

Ms.Streit joined the counseling department. She grew up in Hastings and went to St. Cloud State for college, moving to Iowa and back to Minnesota after that. Ms. Streit counsels all grades last names Gu through Kt and appreciates this way of counseling because she thinks it’s nice to get to know students and build relationships with them. Ms. Streit is not involved in any school clubs or sports, but she hopes to be involved in many activities as she has previously been involved in the GSA, students against human trafficking club, and the buddy system at her former school. Ms Streit likes that the teachers at EHS are passionate about helping students, and a challenge in her job is helping students over zoom. “I have to be creative with how I reach out to them.  I do mental health Monday updates and I do videos for older students.” Ms.Streit explains.   

Ms. Kehe joined the math department. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and went to St. Olaf university, graduating in 2019.  Ms. Kehe teaches honors geometry and intermediate algebra classes and hopes to be involved with the EHS math team.  Ms. Kehe likes quite a few things about EHS so far, telling me; “Well it is a strange year to start at a new building, but I love how caring the math department is and there is a nice system of support.  And I love that there are no walls so if you see someone in the halls, you can just wave.”  

Ms. Westgard joined the English department.  She went to Apple Valley high school and St. Kate’s university for schooling and student taught at Rosemount high school.  She has had three children who all graduated from EHS. Ms. Westgard teaches 10th grade english and has been an on and off speech coach at EHS since 1993.  Ms. Westgard is enjoying Eagan high school, saying, “I like being a part of the arts and music and that Eagan strives for excellence in all areas; arts, academics, and athletics.”  

Ms. Spies also joined the English department.  She graduated high school from Burnsville high school and studied at UMD for 5 years with two majors, one in english and another in english teaching. She teaches 10th grade American experience english,12th grade college writing and mythology for seniors, and will teach 10th grade speech in the spring.  She is not involved in any clubs or sports but hopes to be involved in theater or a creative book group.  Ms. Spies told me when I asked about what she enjoys about EHS: “I really like the warm welcoming atmosphere, especially with new teachers and my students are kind and sweet!”  

Ms. Hanson also joined the English department.  She just graduated from the U of M this summer, having worked at a couple of nonprofit organizations before becoming a teacher.  She has a husband named Jed and a dog named Millie.  She teaches speech 10, english 11 a, b, and c, and AP english and composition for 11th grade and hopes to be involved in EHS clubs and sports soon.  Ms. Hanson really likes the people at EHS, telling me “All students are very kind, thoughtful, and resilient and I also really enjoy the other teachers.  Overall the people are amazing.” 

Another new face joining the English department is Mr. Pritzl. Mr. Pritzl graduated from Eagan High School in 2015. He attended University of North Dakota, Grand Forks and studied Secondary Education for his undergrad and Curriculum and Instruction for his Masters. He previously worked in a middle school in North Dakota teaching English. While at Eagan, Mr. Pritzl has helped out with the freshman football team. He explained how it feels to be back at Eagan, “… it almost feels like I never left. A lot of the same teachers from when I was a student are still here, and it’s been super fun to reconnect with them.” 

Ms. Hamilton joined the Special Education department.  She went to Dowling college in NY. She teaches a  9-12 special ed academic prep class and is not involved in any clubs or sports yet.  Ms. Hamilton likes the students at EHS, telling me: “I just really like the students, they’ve been very kind and welcoming.”  A challenge for Ms. Hamilton is connecting with students online, “I would say it’s different because I can still develop relationships with kids, it’s just that it’s hard to connect with kids when their screens are off.” she explains.  

Ms. Edgren is also a new member of the Special Education department. She attended Apple Valley High School and UMD, majoring in Integrated Elementary and Special Education. Ms. Edgren currently teaches Special Education with a focus on math. Previously, she worked at Falcon Ridge Middle school before joining Eagan. Many might recognize Ms. Edgren as she student taught at Eagan in the fall of 2019.  Ms. Edgren has also coached JV girls soccer at Apple Valley High School for the past 2 years. When asked about her experience at Eagan, Ms. Edgren replied, “I love EHS and appreciate how helpful everyone is. I love the sense of community within the school.”

Ms. Hinsz joined the EHS science department.  She went to Moorhead State University, and this is her 21st year of teaching.  She has three kids, her oldest being a freshman at Eagan.  She teaches 10th general biology and 11th grade general chemistry and is currently not involved in any clubs or sports at EHS.  Ms. Hinsz really likes the people at EHS, telling me: “Well, the staff is amazing and the teachers have been super welcoming and nice!  The students are amazing too.”  She also mentioned that it’s hard to help students during this time, saying: “It’s much more work, because I have to try to anticipate where students might be struggling, I almost feel like a brand new teacher again!”  

Ms. Downing also joined the Science Department. Attending St. Olaf and majoring in Biology, Ms. Downing currently teaches Biology and Environmental Sciences. Along with teaching, she is attending St. Kate’s for her Masters in STEM! Ms. Downing is very familiar with Eagan as she was a long term substitute two years ago, “I’m so happy to be back” she concludes! Ms. Downing hopes to get involved with musicals or nordic skiing.

Joining the physical education department is Ms. Luce- Scully. She grew up in Shakopee and attended St. Cloud State University studying health and physical education along with a minor in Spanish! Ms. Luce- Scully currently teaches physical education at DHMS and EHS. Along with teaching, she substitutes coached the 10A girls volleyball team! Entering such a big school, Ms. Luce- Scully explains, “I am surprised by the fact that a large school like EHS feels small because everyone cares and is connected to each other.” 

Along with Ms. Luce- Scully joining the physical education program is Mr. Odell. Mr. Odell teaches Physical Education and Health at Eagan. Prior to working at Eagan, Mr. Odell taught at Richfield High and then did personal training for a year at Lifetime. Mr. Odell might be a familiar face to many as he was a student teacher and was a long term sub at Eagan a few years back.  “ I honestly loved the school so much that this was the perfect opportunity for me when I got hired,” he said.

The Social Studies Department has also welcomed a new teacher, Mr. Letcher. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and attended St. Louis University, majoring in Secondary Education and History. Along with teaching World History and Civics, Mr. Letcher coached 10th grade football. When asked about how Eagan High School has been so far, he replied, “I’ve enjoyed my first trimester at Eagan a lot. It’s fun to hear about everything that is going on in the school community, from sports seasons, to the musical, and all of the various clubs.”

Mr. Haldeman joined the social studies department.  He graduated from Eastview High School and Minnesota State University. He has a wife, a one year old named Scarlett and a goldendoodle named Stanley.   He is currently the Freshman Baseball Coach.  Mr. Haldeman is excited to be teaching at EHS, “I love being in a high school environment. Considering this is my first year here and we have not been able to have a normal school day, The staff and students are very welcoming!” He said.  It is different distance teaching, “The biggest thing that is different is working from home and not being able to see students in school!” He explains.  

Eagan High School has welcomed a new dance teacher, Ms. Halsey. She attended Wayzata High School before attending California State University, Long Beach. Along with teaching at Eagan, Ms. Halsey also teaches at Betty Jo’s Dance Center! “Teaching at EHS has been a wonderful addition to my life and I have loved every moment of it” she explains. When asked about Distance Learning, Ms. Halsey explained that teaching dance virtually is challenging, “Distance Learning has been a challenge as dance is not the easiest thing to instruct or learn in a small space.. But they have been working hard regardless and I do my best to support..”

Alan Glass, Megan Feggestad, and Dalen Dirth are also new at EHS.