TEACHERS & STAFF
What a joy and privilege to bring the Gospel of Christ to the wonderful people of God at TLO Church and School community. I am blessed to be a pastor and share this restoring and renewing Good News - the message of God's love in Christ - every day. I'm married to Lynn and we have three children. I especially enjoy studying the New Testament Bible in Greek, spending precious time with my family, playing board games, playing tennis and taking in a great cup of coffee with friends.
Mrs. Kathy Jones begins her first year as principal and middle school teacher this year. Previously, she served three Lutheran schools in Texas, Minnesota, and North Dakota.
Education: B.A. in Elementary Education, School Music- Concordia Univ., St. Paul;
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction- University of Minnesota;
LCMS School Leadership Project Certificate
Mrs. Heather Bielec has spent her entire career in Lutheran early childhood. Teaching in a Lutheran school gives her the privilege of sharing the love of Jesus with her students-- some of them for the first time. The most rewarding part of her job is seeing that "a-ha!" moment on a child's face when they truly begin to understand a new letter sound or how much Jesus loves them!
Education: BA in Elementary Education - University of Sioux Falls; Commissioned Minister- Concordia University, St. Paul
Mrs. Holly Adams enjoys her days with her preschool friends! Before coming to TLO, she had been working with children in a variety of settings over the last 20 years including teaching preschool at Kindercare and Anna’s Bananas, running her own in-home daycare, substitute teaching and working as a paraprofessional for ISD 196. As a graduate of a K-8 Lutheran school, Mrs. Adams feels like TLO is a perfect fit for her to share Jesus' love with students each day.
Education: BA in Elementary Education- University of Minnesota, Duluth
Mrs. Rachel Symmank loves nurturing Kindergartners at TLO! Before accepting God's call to serve at TLO, she taught in parochial schools in Nebraska and Kansas, teaching children from preschool through middle school. She has also served as Director of Early Childhood. For ten years, Mrs. Symmank was a Parent Educator in the national Parents as Teachers program. She is an educator who loves to teach children about God’s amazingly complex and organized world. Mrs. Symmank enjoys fostering a love of life-long learning in her students.
Education: BS in Elementary Education - Concordia Univ., Nebraska
Mrs. Amy Zenda-Johnson spends her days with the "fabulous first graders." Although an avid Packer fan, somehow she has spent her entire career teaching in the land of the Vikings and chooses to make this frigid state her home. During the course of her teaching career, she has taught all ages and grades from preschool through eighth grade, and has been a preschool co-director, conference presenter, and parent educator. She believes in being a life-long learner and enjoys taking continuing education courses. She feels it an honor to be able to share not only her love of learning, but also the message of Jesus with her students and their families.
Education: BA in Elementary Education, Minor in English - Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN;
Colloquy - Concordia Univ., St. Paul;
MA in Education - Concordia Univ., St. Paul
Ms. Claire Ruckheim loves helping second graders develop their skills in reading, math, and more! She believes in teaching each student where they are at and working one-on-one with students often to give them the individual attention they need to grow into capable students. Ms. Ruckheim first realized that she wanted to be a teacher when she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School after being confirmed. She enjoys being able to express and share her faith with students every day, which helps her continue to grow and strengthen her own faith.
Education: BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from University of Minnesota, Crookston
Grade 3, Elementary Music
Mrs. Pinky Seeman has a passion for guiding third graders to become independent learners, and teaching little voices to sing out praises to God. Before accepting God's call to serve at TLO, she taught grades 2-4 in Indiana and Richfield, Minnesota. She is an educator who is excited about teaching students the love and faith in our Savior. She enjoys teaching students how to become more independent learners. Mrs. Seeman especially enjoys making history a more realistic concept for students in Social Studies.
Education: BA in Elementary Education - Concordia Univ., St Paul
Mrs. Jenny Brewer loves her TLO fourth graders. Previously, she taught upper elementary classes in Illinois. Mrs. Brewer began teaching at TLO serving as the middle school Language Arts teacher, and then she transferred to 4th grade. As the fourth graders continue to progress in their development, Mrs. Brewer aspires to create an environment in which students can strengthen their love of learning. Students continue to grow in their faith, and strive to meet or exceed the state standards in all academic areas. They begin to develop specific skills aimed at making them more proficient studiers and learners, helping them to grow academically, socially, and spiritually. Overall, Mrs. Brewer wants her students to see their intrinsic value as children of God!
Education: BA in Elementary Education - Concordia Univ., Chicago;
Minor in Sociology
Middle School, Music Education
Mrs. Stephanie Vallin takes the job of preparing middle schoolers to succeed high school very seriously! Previously, she was a third grade teacher and band director at a Lutheran school in Missouri. She has directed the band program at TLO since 2001 and also taught middle school language arts from 2004-2012. Currently, she teaches 7th and 8th grade and 4-8 music. The most exciting part of her job is seeing students’ growth in God’s gift of music, and interacting together as a musical team.
Education: BS in Elementary Education - Concordia Univ., Nebraska;
BS in Secondary Education - Concordia Univ., Nebraska
Middle School, Physical Education, Athletic Director
Mr. Rob Orr enjoys teaching students of all ages the ins and outs of sports and fun games, and is even more passionate about sharing history and math with the middle school students. Previously, he taught at Central Lutheran School for eight years and then was principal/teacher at Joy Academy for five years. Mr. Orr is also TLO's athletic director. He has also served as a coach for many years. Mr. Orr loves being able to share Christ in the classroom and to also share his faith with students the way his teachers did with him when he was in school.
Education: BA in History - University of Minnesota, Duluth
BA in Secondary Education- University of Minnesota, Duluth;
minor in Coaching
Colloquy - Concordia University, St. Paul
Mary Jane Weierke
Miss Mary Jane is a cherished member of the TLO Preschool staff. After retiring from her accounting job of 43 years, Miss Mary Jane found her second calling in childcare. She has spent the last nine years working in preschool and childcare programs. Currently, Mary Jane helps with the before school care program and aides in the preschool room during the day. Mary Jane's greatest joy in working at TLO is watching the expressions on the faces of little ones as they hear, talk, sing songs, and ask many questions about our God.
Mrs. Linda Flannery is another one of our amazing Preschool aides. She has been working at TLO for many years. Previously, she worked at United and Children’s Hospital for 32 years. Having been baptized, gone to school, confirmed and married here, TLO has always been an important part of her life. Sharing God's love with the students and hearing them tell how God has blessed them is enjoyable and exciting to her!
Having a mother as a Lutheran school teacher means that Miss Katarina has spent practically her entire life in Lutheran schools. She is so happy to get to work in an environment where she sees God at work every day in the lives of students, staff, and their families.
Mrs. Casby loves spending her days with our preschoolers. Previously, she had been a classroom teacher, educational coordinator, director of a Lutheran preschool, plus many other jobs within preschools or day care settings. Currently, Mrs. Casby works with the preschool in the afternoons and during after school care. Julie's passion for working with children is best described by the Air Supply song, "In the Eyes of a Child": “In the eyes of a child, there is joy, there is laughter, there is hope, there is love, a chance to change the future. For the lessons in life there is no better teacher than to look in the eyes of a child.”
Education: BA in Early Childhood Education - Concordia Univ., St. Paul
Mrs. Nilan has been serving TLO as a school nurse since 2007. She works through District 197 to serve us and other area private schools. Mrs. Nilan is on-site once every week to address students' health needs, keep school records in order, run any health screenings, and educate teachers on the health needs of their students. Mrs. Nilan helps support the health goals of the school and works to keep students' bodies in good working order so they can continue to be a blessing to God and others.
Education: Bachelor's of Science in Nursing; licensed school nurse
Mrs. Peterson enjoys working with the administration, teachers and staff of Trinity Lone Oak, as well as school families and prospective families who want to know more about our Christ-centered school. She loves TLO because we offer quality academics structured within a loving Christian environment.