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Meet US

Learn a little about us...a lot about why we LOVE to teach.

Autumn Nelson        

"My hope for all students is that they become life long learners and become all that God has planned for them.  I feel so blessed that God has allowed us to be a part of that journey and positively influence each student at St. Mary's School."

EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE: BS Degree in Elementary Education from Concordia College, Moorhead. Masters in Technology from the University of St. Thomas.  


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: I am married with 3 children. I enjoy spending time watching my children in their activities and spending time with them. I also like to spend time outside, reading and listening to music. 


Naomi Klaphake

Joined SMS Family 2022

"I'm excited to be part of the St. Mary's family and to be working where my children attend school. It's a family in every sense of the word."


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: After working 15 years in the finance industry, I bring my attention to detail and am looking forward to learning more from the staff and students.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: I am married with 3 children and we live and work on the family dairy farm. We like to spend our spare time outside on the farm or camping and fishing at the lake.

Dana Finken
Joined SMS Family in 2015

"All four of my children have attended Little Saints Preschool! I really love the program and am having fun teaching all of the program’s Little Saints!"


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE:  Child and Adult Care Education degree from St. Cloud Technical College.  Most recently worked as nanny for two families, and prior to that worked at City of Melrose HRA Rose View Manor as Administration Assistant. Was Owner/Director of  M.O.M.'S Little Angels Childcare Center in Albany where she planned curriculum for each age group ranging from 6 weeks old to 12 years in age.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: Is married to Joe, and has four wonderful children—one still attends St. Mary's School!

Madelyn Klaphake
Joined SMS Family in 2018

"I am thrilled to be able to work with the preschoolers and help them learn and excel at being the best they can be. I absolutely love working with the preschoolers in an awesome environment like St. Mary's!"


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE:  Associate in Arts and Diploma in Licensed Practical Nursing from Ridgewater College Hutchinson.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Married and have two children currently enrolled at St. Mary's. Enjoy crocheting, baking and spending time with family. 

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Jennifer Frank-Heinze
Joined SMS Family in 1998

"I strive to give each child the best learning opportunities: academically, spiritually and emotionally. I expect each child to try new things so they can be the best learners they can be.  Experiences are what make each of us grow."


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE:  BS in Elementary Education and minors in Early Childhood education and Reading from Valley City University, Valley City, ND.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  I enjoy spending time with my husband, John, going camping, kayaking, and doing DYI projects together.  I also enjoy entertaining friends and family at our home. 

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Joined SMS Family In ???
Zachary Thell
Joined SMS Family In 2019

"My goal as a teacher is to get the best out of every individual student and to create an environment where students feel comfortable and have fun while advancing as learners and people."


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: BA in Elementary Education with a Minor in Special Education from St. Cloud State University

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Enjoys watching all kinds of sports with friends and family and playing baseball and softball with friends.

Kathy Wolff
Joined SMS Family In 2019

“I enjoy meeting each child where they are at both academically and socially, as well as discovering their strengths and talents.  My goal is to foster a love for learning in each child and help them reach their full potential.”


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: BS in Applied Psychology/Minor in Child and Family Studies from St. Cloud State University. Montessori teaching certificate/ Early Childhood Credential Saint Catherine. Taught Montessori Preschool/kindergarten for 12 years in St. Cloud.  


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, friends and family, going for walks and spending time at the lake.

Ms. Amy Kloth
4th GRADE 
Joined SMS Family In 2014

"I feel very blessed to continue my teaching career in such a wonderful, faith-enriched learning environment.  I enjoy supporting and challenging all of my students to learn and become the best version of themselves.


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: BS degree in Elementary Education/Certification in Early Childhood Education from Mankato State University; and a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. Teaching experience includes teaching in Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Is married with 3 children. She enjoys watching movies, playing board games, traveling, and exploring State Parks with her family; reading with a cat curled on her lap; and going on walks with the family dog, Lucy.


Holly Hellermann

Joined SMS Family In 2021

“As a teacher, my goal is to make my classroom as fun, positive, and inclusive as possible. I believe that all students have the ability to learn and grow to their full potential as long as they are given the time and support that they need.”  


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: BS degree in Elementary Inclusive Education with a minor in Special Education from Minnesota State University Moorhead 


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: I love doing anything outdoors (hunting, fishing, walking, playing sports, etc..) When I’m cooped up inside, I love to work on puzzles, read, and bake.


Sue Pundsack
Joined SMS Family In 1988

"Our school motto says so much: Learn, laugh, believe, succeed. I hope students will embrace this and experience a real love of learning. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and creativity with students. I appreciate the many gifts and talents the students, staff, and volunteers share with me and our school. It is an honor to be part of the St. Mary’s family."


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE:  BS Degree in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Loves kayaking; biking; cross-country skiing; hiking with her dog, Skippy; playing music; drawing and reading.

Briana Worms
Joined SMS Family in 2015

"I am excited to use what I've learned as a mom as well as my Communications background and organizational skills to enhance the educational experience of the students and staff."

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE:  BA of Arts in Communications with a minor in Psychology from the College of Saint Benedict.  Has been a Sales Consultant with Mary Kay since 2002, and has held positions in the areas of communications, marketing and promotions.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Is a mom of 3 who LOVES to spend time with her family, volunteering for the school as a parent helper and enjoys traveling.  She also helps out with the Melrose Firefighters Auxiliary, Dutchmen Booster Club, and various things through the Church of St. Mary.


"I strive to make learning highly experiential for students—so they live it, not just learn it.  I want them to show respect, enjoy life and have fun being a kid."


EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Educational Assistant Degree from Ridgewater College, Hutchinson, Minn.


ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Likes to spend time with family and friends.

Amanda Hellermann
Joined SMS Family in 2005

Our Caretakers

Duane Rothstein
Matt Grossinger

Our School District Team

Carrie Schulzetenberg
Public School Teacher
Katie Meyer
Public School Teacher
Emily Krogstad
Public School Teacher
Gloria Welle
Public School Para
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Cherie Beumer
Public School Teacher

Visit the Melrose Area Public School website to find information on the public school educators who teach at SMS.

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