Administrator and Support Staff

  • Mr. Brian Betts

    Principal

    I grew up in central Minnesota in a rural community outside of Kimball in which my family had a small hobby farm. I recieved a BA in elementary education with a concentration in Environmental Science from Concordia College St. Paul, MN. I later received a Masters in Educational Administration from Concordia University Wisconsin. It has been a blessing to serve at Immanuel in many roles since 1992 and currently serve as principal. I am the husband of Wendy and father to Caleb, Kaity, and Chassiya. I enjoy cooking, gardening, and time at the lake. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?



    If you had only one sense (smell, touch, taste, etc.) which would you want? Why?



     

    Hometown: Clearwater, MN

    Bachelor's Degree: Concordia University, St. Paul, MN

    Master's Degree: Educational Administration, Concordia University, Mequon, WI

  • Mrs. Codi McElroy

    school secretary


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What's your favorite way to spend a day off?


    Hometown: 

  • Mrs. Susan Cour

    admissions counselor

    I grew up in a small suburb of Chicago. I have always had a love for children and animals. I originally attended college to be a biologist, with a life long dream of studying wolves in Yellowstone. However, God had other plans and I ended up graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I taught in Illinois for several years and then at Immanuel for 1 year before staying home to have children. For the past almost 12 years I have been blessed to be serving as Admissions Counselor here at Immanuel. In 2016 I had the opportunity to step back into the classroom as well and I am enjoying my time teaching God's children. I love my career as I have the opportunity to meet new people, be around children, and still raise my family. God is amazing!


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    For me, I would have to say that I see God IN ALL THINGS when I am enjoying His creation.  From the rushing cascade of a waterfall, to the process of photosynthesis,  to the colors of the sunset.... I can see God and His almighty hand in the beauty of His creation.  It brings me peace and reminds me often that as the God of everything above, below, and between the mountains and the valleys...He is certainly in my life as well and IN ALL THINGS.


    What song always gets you out on the dance floor, tapping your toes, or instantly improves your mood?

    I LOVE MUSIC!  I have music on as often as possible.  Therefore I listen to a lot of different songs and genres.  Right now some of the songs that make my foot tap and bring a pep to my step would be:  The Breakup Song by Francesca Battistelli, Joy by For King and Country, Better When I'm Dancin' by Meghan Trainor, and The Good Ones by Gabby Barrett....and so many more!


    Hometown: Island Lake, IL

    Bachelor's Degree: Early Childhood Education, Concordia University, River Forest, IL  Concentration: Psychology

  • Mrs. Wendy Betts

    reading interventionist and curriculum

    I grew up in a small town in western Iowa.  I went to college at Concordia University Nebraska, and my first call as a teacher was spent in Pittsburgh, PA.  I have had many different roles at Immanuel, and currently I am enjoying being a reading teacher and curriculum coordinator.  What I love most about teaching is sharing Jesus with students and their families as well as sharing my love for reading with my students.  I have three children who have all recently graduated from high school and are either continuing their education in college or being trained in the military.  I enjoy gardening, time at the lake, reading, and taking vacations with my family. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?



    Do you have a favorite holiday? Why or why not? If you have a favorite, why is it your favorite?



    Hometown: Charter Oak, IA

    Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor in Education majoring in English and Health, Concordia University, Seward, NE

    Master's Degree: Educational Literacy with a Reading Teacher License and a Reading Specialist License, Concordia University, Mequon, WI

  • Mrs. Lee

    reading interventionist and art

    I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids and feel blessed to be part of the Immanuel teaching family. Everyday is an opportunity to share, learn, and grow in Jesus and His love. And everyday is an adventure! As a reading interventionist and an art teacher I get the chance to share two of my passions with my students: reading and art! I also enjoy road trips, spending time at the lake, campfires, and spending time with my family. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    My family being able to take a trip together last summer. Getting the chance to spend time together and be outside enjoying His creation.


    What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

    Check the numbers again and cash in the ticket! =) My family and I have spent much time exploring different parts of the U.S. I think I would plan a trip for us to another part of the world. I'd love to go to Italy or Greece.


    Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

    Bachelor's Degree: Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin, Superior

    Minor: Social Studies

    Reading Teacher License: University of Wisconsin Stout

Early Childhood and Elementary Staff

  • Mrs. Wendy Betts

    4k co-teacher

    I grew up in a small town in western Iowa.  I went to college at Concordia University Nebraska, and my first call as a teacher was spent in Pittsburgh, PA.  I have had many different roles at Immanuel, and currently I am enjoying being a reading teacher and curriculum coordinator.  What I love most about teaching is sharing Jesus with students and their families as well as sharing my love for reading with my students.  I have three children who have all recently graduated from high school and are either continuing their education in college or being trained in the military.  I enjoy gardening, time at the lake, reading, and taking vacations with my family. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    Do you have a favorite holiday? Why or why not? If you have a favorite, why is it your favorite?


    Hometown: Charter Oak, IA

    Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor in Education majoring in English and Health, Concordia University, Seward, NE

    Master's Degree: Educational Literacy with a Reading Teacher License and a Reading Specialist License, Concordia University, Mequon, WI

  • Mrs. Pam DeRoche

    4K co-teacher

    I am originally from the Chicago suburbs but have lived in Lisbon, Portugal for almost 2 years and here in central Wisconsin for 13 years. I am grateful to be married to my best friend Dan and also grateful to be a mom to our daughter Abby and son, Jared. Working with children and letting them know they are special and dearly loved by God is a passion of mine. In my free time I enjoy baking, gardening, walking, and hanging out with my family.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?



    Hometown: South Elgin, IL

    Bachelor's Degree:  Elementary Education

    Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

  • Miss Laura Kester

    kindergarten teacher

    I am originally from a small rural town in East Central, Minnesota. I graduated from Concordia University St. Paul with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. My first call was to teach in Dubuque, Iowa, where I taught Kindergarten for three years. My second call is to Immanuel, where I am excited to continue teaching Kindergarten. 


    When teaching, I keep Proverbs 22:6 close to my heart. "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." This verse embodies my purpose as a Lutheran educator and serves as a reminder to me. Kindergarten is that magical time when students get that first real experience of school. It is my job to help start students off on the right path by instilling in them a love for school. Not only that, I get to do it with Christ at the center of it all, which is pretty amazing!


    A little bit about myself,  I love all things crafty, creative, and artistic. I am also a huge Disney fan: any of the movies, music, and TV shows! I also enjoy spending time with my family back in MN. I am thankful to be a little closer to home than I was before! 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    I have five rules that I teach every student that comes through my classroom, and one of those rules is: Rule #4: Take care of what God has given you in the right order* (*right order: people before things, others before yourself). This rule is usually one of the hardest rules for my students to fully understand right away because, well, they are young kids who are still hard-wired to think about themselves. However, with modeling, explanation, and work, they begin to see the importance of it. I see God IN ALL THINGS when a student transfers this rule to their daily life and applies it to stories we read, uses it with their family and friends, and begins to recognize that God has given us so many wonderful things. I treasure when I hear stories of students who have really taken the meaning of that rule to heart, and my prayer is that it stays with them forever.


    Do you like going to the movies or do you prefer to watch at home? What is your favorite movie? Why?

    If the movie is a new Disney release or the premier of a big Marvel film, I would rather see it in a theater. It makes the movie feel more special with the surround sound, the big screen, and of course, movie theater popcorn! However, I also don't mind watching movies from the comfort of my couch snuggled up in a big blanket. It is impossible for me to pick one favorite movie, so I will pick a few of my favorite genres of movies. The top of that list would be Disney and Marvel films, followed by romcoms, musicals, and teen dramas. Those are the kinds of movies I have always enjoyed and can remember growing up watching Disney films with my family. The only types of movies I won't watch are horror or thriller movies; there aren't enough pillows and blankets to shield my eyes!


    Hometown: Sandstone, MN

    Bachelor's Degree:  Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Concordia St. Paul, MN

    Minors: Lutheran Theology

  • Lisa Leverance

    kindergarten aide

    Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to teach children. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the little ones. I have provided child care in the Wisconsin Rapids area for over 31 years to a variety of ages. 


    I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids and went to a parochial grade school as a child. This opportunity instilled a passion for Jesus in my everyday life and a learning about his undying love for us.


    I’ve been married to my best friend, Tim for 29 ½ years. (Which by the way I met at the parochial grade school.) He works for Ocean Spray in Wisconsin Rapids as a

    maintenance planner. 


    We have 2 awesome children. Our son Tyler is 26 years old and lives in Green Bay.  He is a MAKO product specialist at Stryker Orthopaedics. (He gets to run a really cool robot for surgeries.) Tyler is engaged to Bridget and getting married September 27, 2019.  Our daughter Sarah is 24 years old and graduated from UW-Oshkosh in May. She lives in Sun Prairie and is a care coordinator/marketing specialist for CI Therapies. (She gets to work at a variety of locations in the Madison area.)  Sarah is engaged to Steve and they are planning a fall of 2021 wedding date.


    Both Tyler and Sarah attended Immanuel Lutheran School from Kindergarten – 8th grade and graduating. The education they received here is outstanding and still to this day has shaped their lives and relationship with Jesus.


    In my spare time I like to go to concerts, read and travel…especially to the beach. 

    I’m excited to be a part of Immanuel Lutheran School again and to help teach and share God's wonderful love for us.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What's one thing that can instantly make your day better?



    Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

    Associate's Degree: Early Childhood Education

    Mid-State Technical College, Wisconsin Rapids

  • Miss Jessica Stockinger

    first grade teacher

    I grew up in the Milwaukee area. I moved to Stevens Point for college, where I graduated with an Elementary Education degree in May 2019 and currently reside. I have a large family and they are a big part of my life. As cliche as it sounds, since I was little I have always wanted to be a teacher; I always looked up to my teachers in the classrooms and when I was younger, that is what I played when I was at home (even if it was by myself).  I did my student teaching in a first grade classroom and I LOVED it so much. I am so excited to spend my time here at Immanuel and am so thankful the staff and faculty are so supportive and caring.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    I see God in all things during my daily relaxing times- drives home and time spent outside. I also see God during my harder times such as someone passing away. Even though selfishly you don't want to see that person go, God has a plan for them and knows that we are strong enough to get through it with Him. He is all with us through all good and bad times. There is not a time that God is not with us. He truly is there through all things and in all things.


    What's your go-to guilty pleasure?

    My go to guilty pleasure would have to be pizza. You can ask me where I want to go eat or what I want to eat for dinner/lunch and I will always say pizza! I know it is definitely not something I should always be eating, but I will never turn it down.


    Hometown: Wauwatosa, WI

    Bachelor's Degree Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin Steven's Point

    Minor: Mathematics

  • Misty Christensen

    first grade aide

    I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids. I went to St Paul’s Lutheran School, Lincoln High School and Midstate Technical College. I worked for 15 years at Renaissance Learning which is where I met my husband, Jeff. I also owned and operated a pottery studio for many years called Under the Sun Pottery Fun and I am a certified Turbo Kick instructor.  After having our two children, I left Renaissance Learning to became a stay-at-home mom. Now that my children are both in school full time, I’m fortunate to be able to work as a teacher's aide at Immanuel. Our family enjoys camping and we have one dog named Mario and two cats named Latte and Lola.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    Sometimes for me it's the quietest moments when I'm able to truly take in the awe of God. Sitting on my back porch, watching nature and the beauty of my surroundings. How everthing effortly and perfectly exists. 


    What was your favorite age growing up? Why was it your favorite?

    Any year K-4th. It seemed to be when I appreciated all the little things the most. The excitement of new school supplies and starting school, the excitement of the first snowfall, coming home to a house newly decorated for the holidays. It all felt magical back then.


    Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

  • Mrs. Sharon Dykstra

    second grade teacher

    I was born in Illinois and grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois where I attended Immanuel Lutheran and Maine West High School. During those years I was involved in volleyball, badminton, and played the clarinet in concert and marching band. After high school I attended Valparaiso University and Concordia University in Chicago, where I received my teaching degree. My first teaching call brought me here to teach first grade, but through the years I have enjoyed teaching second, third, and even a few classes in sixth and eighth grade. Presently I am looking forward to spending my days with a room full of eager, second graders. What a blessing it is to spend my days sharing the love of Jesus with these little ones! I am married to my husband, Mark. We have been blessed with three sons-Keith, Kevin, and Steven. When I am not busy in the classroom or doing school work, I like to spend time with Mark and also visit our sons. Together we take walks with our dogs, Sophie and Smokey. I also enjoy taking long bike rides, playing board games, and doing some scrapbooking when I have time.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What was the best vacation you ever took and why?


    Hometown: Des Plaines, IL

    Bachelor's Degree: Elementary Education, Concordia University, River Forest, IL Concentration: Early Childhood and Math

  • Carrie Wenger

    second grade aide - MTW


    The school's theme this year is In All Things.  Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS? 


    Which of your personality traits are you most proud of? Why?


    Hometown: 

    Bachelor's Degree Elementary Education

  • Katie Wenger

    second grade aide - ThF

    The school's theme this year is In All Things.  Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS? 


    What's your favorite quote from a movie, TV show, or book? Why do you like it?


    Hometown: 

    Bachelor's Degree

Middle School Staff

  • Mrs. Susan Cour

    third grade co-teacher

    I grew up in a small suburb of Chicago. I have always had a love for children and animals. I originally attended college to be a biologist, with a life long dream of studying wolves in Yellowstone. However, God had other plans and I ended up graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I taught in Illinois for several years and then at Immanuel for 1 year before staying home to have children.  For the past almost 11 years I have been blessed to be serving as Admissions Counselor here at Immanuel. In 2016 I had the opportunity to step back into the classroom as well and I am enjoying my time teaching God's children. I love my career as I have the opportunity to meet new people, be around children, and still raise my family. God is amazing!


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    For me, I would have to say that I see God IN ALL THINGS when I am enjoying His creation.  From the rushing cascade of a waterfall, to the process of photosynthesis,  to the colors of the sunset.... I can see God and His almighty hand in the beauty of His creation.  It brings me peace and reminds me often that as the God of everything above, below, and between the mountains and the valleys...He is certainly in my life as well and IN ALL THINGS.


    What song always gets you out on the dance floor, tapping your toes, or instantly improves your mood?

    I LOVE MUSIC!  I have music on as often as possible.  Therefore I listen to a lot of different songs and genres.  Right now some of the songs that make my foot tap and bring a pep to my step would be:  The Breakup Song by Francesca Battistelli, Joy by For King and Country, Better When I'm Dancin' by Meghan Trainor, and The Good Ones by Gabby Barrett....and so many more!


    Hometown: Island Lake, IL

    Bachelor's Degree: Early Childhood Education, Concordia University, River Forest, IL Concentration: Psychology

  • Mrs. Gabi Scheunemann

    third grade co-teacher

    I was born and raised right here in central Wisconsin and am the oldest of 4 children. I attended the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point where I received a degree in Elementary Education with a Language Arts minor. I taught first grade for 5 years at a local elementary school and I love being back int he classroom part time serving as a co-teacher in 3rd grade! My husband and I have 4 children: Owen, Eden, Adah, and Lane. Our family enjoys the outdoors and raising the animals on our ever-expanding hobby farm. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What's on your bucket list?


    Hometown: Nekoosa, WI

    Bachelor's Degree: Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

    Minor: Language Arts

  • Deb Ciszewski

    third grade aide - am

    I  graduated from Lincoln High and took one semester at Midstate Tech. I worked various jobs over the years including Shopko, a greenhouse, a landscape co., a flower co, cleaning jobs, helping my husband with catering jobs and babysitting.  I have lots of hobbies including baking, decorating, organizing, gardening, event planning, crocheting, bike riding, ice skating, reading, writing scripts for ladies events at church, acting, stage managing, hosting coffee clubs and tea parties, family events and spending time with the grandkids.  I am quite a minimalist and resourceful. 


    I love people!  I have one daughter and two sons—-all are married. I have four biological grandchildren and four that came through  my kids marrying someone with children.  I love all eight of them and each has a special place in my heart!   I am married to a chef and we have been married for 41 years.   I was raised Catholic but became a Christian at age 22 and we attend Brookridge Baptist Church.   I truly enjoy life and am so appreciative and grateful for Jesus!  He is my all in all!


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    I have sensed the presence of God many times through the years. There is a specific young girl that I have been praying a lot for lately and she was able to attend a Christian concert with me at my church. We had such a nice talk there and back and a great time at the concert also.  She had a difficult home life and the Lord has given me a heart for her.


    Ideally, if you could do anything you wanted for your birthday, how would you spend it?

    I would rather order in. My favorite would be a Pasquales sausage pizza. 


    Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

  • Kaitlyn Betts

    third grade aide - pm

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS? What does our theme verse mean to you?


    What's your favorite family tradition? Why?


    Hometown: Nekoosa, WI


    Bachelor's Degree: 

  • Miss Allison Arnold

    fourth grade teacher

    I was born and raised in Port Washington, Wisconsin where I essentially lived until I moved to Wisconsin Rapids.  I began my education by obtaining a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and becoming a cake decorator for over 10 years.  I loved every minute of it and it is still my favorite hobby.  However, God showed me in so many ways that my path to follow was in education. I listened to him and I followed his signs that he had been showing me all along.  I went back to school and graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education.  It was the easiest and best decision I have made, and it has put me exactly where I belong!


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS? What does our theme verse mean to you?

    I don't think a day goes by that I don't see God IN ALL THINGS around me. However, I believe one of the greatest moments I have felt His presence was in my journey to becoming a teacher. I was at a crossroads in my life where I had to decide what I was meant to be doing the rest of my life. He was there throughout my journey not only switching careers and going back to school, but He was there in my journey that led me here to Wisconsin Rapids and Immanuel Lutheran. He was there guiding me through this new adventure as I figured out what His plan was for me.


    Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Why?

    Breakfast would definitly be my favorite meal. I think a great day always starts out with a hot cup of coffee and a nice, homemade breakfast. Plus, breakfast is versitile enough to have for other meals as well!


    Hometown: Port Washington, WI

    Bachelor's Degree: Early Childhood Education from UW Milwaukee

  • Ms. Cortney Hahn

    fifth grade teacher

    I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids and I attended Immanuel from Kindergarten through 8th grade. The lessons learned, the firm foundation of my faith set, and the strong friendships that were formed at Immanuel have truly shaped my life. I'm so fortunate to have attended this school; and I am incredibly blessed to be back at Immanuel teaching and sharing my faith with these great kids! When I'm not in the classroom, my husband Devin and I enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, campfires, and just about whatever adventure comes our way. In April we were blessed with a healthy baby boy, Harrison. We are loving playing with him and watching him grow each day.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS? What does our theme verse mean to you?

    I think of the greatest moments in my life and how I felt God was IN ALL THINGS guiding and blessing me. He had this amazing plan for me the whole time. I also think of the lowest times of my life and how it was hard to see God in that moment, but as time went on and everyone pushed forward it was very clear that God is IN ALL THINGS and indeed has His plan for each of us.


    Ideally, if you could do anything you wanted for your birthday, how would you spend it?

    Something fun and adventurous. Scavenger hunt, escape room, haunted house....lots of laughing with family and friends.


    Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI

    Bachelor's Degree: Anthropology, University of MN, Duluth

    Bachelor's Degree: Secondary Social Studies Education, University of MN, Duluth

    Minor: Outdoor Education

  • Jennifer Creely

    fifth grade aide

    I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama and then moved to Florida when I was 16. I was homeschooled through highschool and absolutley loved it. While in high school I had my own cake decorating business and thought for sure I could end up on the Food Network one day. I have always loved working with children and through the years I have taught Sunday School, VBS, and helped other homeschooling families teach their children. I have been married to my husband Steve for 15 years and we have two boys, Chris and Levi. I am so blessed that my boys and I are daily surrounded by teachers and staff who truly love Jesus and love others. This is my second year at Immanuel and I am so excited to see what this year holds. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS? What does our theme verse mean to you?

    My niece tragically passed away at 6 weeks old. Although this was such a difficult time for all of us, I truly believe God had his hand in everything. Through our mourning, He brought family members close who had drifted apart. Wounds were healed and relationships restored. He was holding us together.


    In the summer would you rather go to the beach, go camping or neither? Why?

    I would have to choose neither. Beaches are beautiful, but cleaning up the sandy mess is no fun. 

    I have never really been a camper. I don't like bugs or going without cool A/C.


    Hometown:   Huntsville, AL

Junior High Staff

  • Ms. Melody Czarapata

    sixth grade homeroom teacher

    I was born and raised in Wausau, Wisconsin and am happy to be teaching another year in the northwoods. I feel blessed to be a part of the Immanuel family, serving as the 6th grade homeroom and 8th grade English Language Arts teacher. I am overwhelmed with joy for the opportunity to share my passion for learning and Christ with my students each and every day. When I'm not in the classroom, I enjoy reading, cheering on the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Bucks, watching Netflix, crafting, wandering the aisles of Target, and visiting with friends and family.

     

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What's your most prized (non-living) possession and why?


    Hometown: Wausau, WI

    Bachelor's Degree: Elementary Education, Double Minor in English and Science, Concordia University, Mequon, WI

  • Mrs. Brittany Hokana

    seventh grade homeroom teacher


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    God is in all things, people, and animals. I see God in my beautiful and loving cat, Sully. Sully came into our live during Covid. His presence helped us stay calm when the news first broke about the pandemic. He loves us (my husband and I) unconditionally and spends much of the night snuggling with me. As I pet him, I tell him about my day and enjoy listening to him meow back. This reminds me of God. God loves me unconditionally and listens to my all prayers (thanksgiving and supplication).


    Is there a product you would not want to live your life without? Why not?

    I would not want to live without an ipad. Ipads are like super computers that are small enough to fit in your purse. This product makes grading and lesson planning easier as most items are electronic. It also allows me to keep in contacts with families and friends who live far away from me. Lastly, the ipad has many fun apps that allow me to build my own Disney park or color pictures by numbers.


    Hometown: West Bend, WI

    Lutheran Secondary Education and Broad field social studies, Concordia University Wisconsin

  • Mrs. Rebekah Drewiske

    eighth grade homeroom teacher

    I'm a math and science teacher so here is my life in numbers and facts:

    • 0 - number of animals in our home - let's not talk about the wildlife around my home!
    • 2 - the number of siblings I have AND the number of my grandparents STILL living
    • 3 - number of children we have
    • 6 - years I taught before staying home with our first child
    • 12 - years I attended a Lutheran school including college at Concordia University in River Forest, IL
    • 16 - the December day I was born in Lansing, MI - many moons ago
    • 17 - years it took to get me back into the classroom full-time
    • 19 - years I have been married to Greg
    • 23 - years I have lived in Wisconsin Rapids
    • 16:3 - my confirmation verse found in Proverbs - one that still guides me everyday.
    • Innumerable - the gifts and blessings God has given me

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What was the last thing you read? What are you reading now?



    Hometown: Lansing, MI

    Bachelor's in Education from Concordia University River Forest

Special Education

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  • Mrs. Venessa Gronski

    special education teacher

    I was born and raised in Nekoosa, with my younger brother, and I continue to live there with my husband and two children (Brenna and Josiah). Post high school, I attended the University of  Wisconsin - Stevens Point, receiving a bachelor's degree in Special Education, with specific emphasis in Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional-Behavioral Disorders.  I also earned a master's degree in Curriculum Design and Assessment from Olivet Nazarene University, Illinois.  I have been teaching for 22 years, with the last 20 years' experience at a school in a neighboring community.  In following God's plan to make a change in my life, I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the Immanuel family this year!  I love that the love of God, and the salvation message, is infused in all that Immanuel does, while holding very high academic standards.  Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family, extended family, and friends.  I also enjoy traveling, visiting historical sites, biking, being outdoors, and playing the piano/singing on our worship team at church.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    Many times since my daughter started attending Immanuel, I had dreamed of working here. However, this did not seem like it would ever be a possibility. When the Special Education position came about at Immanuel, I was in a very comfortable place in my position of 21 years somewhere else at that time. However, I took a step of faith, and put out some feelers and questions, that I thought I already knew the answer to, and that would not allow for a change in my career at that point. God had bigger plans. Not only did he know the desire of my heart, and made a way for it to be fulfilled... He also made it a fast and smooth transition from one job to the next. God was at work, even in what I deemed as impossible. He certainly was IN ALL THINGS concerning this HUGE change in my career! I praise Him for His faithfulness to take care of that which concerned me, and hopefully completing the work that He started in me as I continute to surrender myself to His plans and purposes. I know that I can trust Him to be IN ALL THINGS in my life now and in the days before me. It is truly a blessing to serve at Immanuel!


    What's your favorite ice cream and topping? What is your least favorite? What is your favorite ice cream place?

    I am not a huge ice-cream fan, except for one kind. That would be chocalate peanut butter cup. My favorite topping on this would be peanut butter sauce. Mmmm-Mmmm! I am not really a big fan of vanilla, although I know it is much more versatile. My favorite ice-cream place would probably be Dairy Queen.


    Hometown: Nekoosa, WI

    Bachelor's Degree: Special Education, UWSP

    Emphasis: Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional-Behavioral Disorders

    Master's Degree: Curriculum Design and Assessment, Olivet Nazarene University, IL

  • Pam DeRoche

    part time special education assistant

    I am originally from the Chicago suburbs but have lived in Lisbon, Portugal for almost 2 years and here in central Wisconsin for 13 years. I am grateful to be married to my best friend Dan and also grateful to be a mom to our daughter Abby and son, Jared. Working with children and letting them know they are special and dearly loved by God is a passion of mine. In my free time I enjoy baking, gardening, walking, and hanging out with my family.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?



    Hometown: South Elgin, IL

    Bachelor's Degree:  Elementary Education

    Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

  • Amanda Irwin

    part time special education assistant

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

  • Tia

    therapy dog

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  • Asher

    therapy dog

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Other Support Staff

  • Mr. Rob Judziewicz

    physical education

    I grew up and went to school in Greenfield, WI. I have been married to my wife Traci for 16 years and we have a son Andrew who is 14 and a daughter Kelsi who is 12.  I graduated with PE, Health, and APE in 2001 from UWSP.  The past 5 years I taught at Pacelli Catholic Middle School.  I look forward to the excitement and challenges at Immanuel Lutheran School. 


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    When my family was able to celebrate Christmas and Easter in late April. Blessed to have us together to celebrate without complications.


    What's your favorite board game? 

    My favorite game is cribbage.


    Hometown: Greenfield, WI

    UWSP: PE, Health, and APE

  • Diana Hillemeyer

    music

    I grew up in Nekoosa, Wisconsin and graduated from Nekoosa High School. I then attended the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, where I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. My husband and I just celebrated our 21st anniversary and we have three wonderful children. This year I have been very blessed to serve as the music teacher here at Immanuel Lutheran.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    When my dad went home to be with the Lord, I not only KNEW that God is there in all things, but I truly FELT His presence and was reassured that my Savior is with me in ALL things, even the things that I did not plan, and the things that are really hard. God was here before the beginning of time, and He will continue to reign for all eternity, sovereign over all my days, IN ALL THINGS.


    What's your favorite way to spend time with your family? How often do you get to do this?

    We do lots of things as a family such as camping, visiting attractions and attending various events together. But I think my favorite way to spend time with my family is going out to dinner, then coming home, relaxing and watching a movie that we all agree on. Even though it is simple, there is something special about just being together.


    Hometown: Nekoosa, WI

    Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin, Steven's Point

  • Jennifer VerHulst

    spanish

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What's your favorite way to spend time with your family? How often do you get to do this?

  • Ms. Hannah Maher

    a.m. and p.m. cougar kids


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    If you had only one sense (smell, touch, taste, etc.) which would you want? Why?


    Hometown: St. Paul, MN

    Any Degrees: AA, Working on BA

  • Mrs. Hannah Elgersma

    head cook

    I grew up in a small town on the northern side of Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada. Having attended a Christian elementary and high school, I fully appreciate the benefits of a Christian education. Additionally, my three children have been blessed to attend Immanuel. I enjoy serving God by serving food to the multitudes of children that pass through Immanuel's doors each year. And when I'm not doing that, my favorite activities include spending time with my husband and children, gardening, reading, stamping, and cooking.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    In the summer would you rather go to the beach, camping, or neither? Why?


    Hometown: Waterford, Ontario, Canada

  • Mrs. Deb Fillmore

    hot lunch director and scrip coordinator

    This will be my 5th year here serving at Immanuel as the hot lunch director and my second year as the Scrip coordinator.  I am so happy to be a part of such an amazing school and church. My husband Matt and I have been married for 21 years. We have two children, Kyle who is 21 and Morgan who is 17 and is a senior at Lincoln High School. We also have a puppy named Millie and a new kitty named Yoda. Both of our kids went to school here at ILS from kindergarten through 8th grade. Our family enjoys watching all sports, especially football, baseball, and hockey. This is the 7th year our family is hosting players for the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings hockey team. We actually have three boys living with us this year. In my spare time, I enjoy exercising, painting, reading, cooking, cleaning, and playing games.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    When I get the opportunity to sit outside and relax on my deck and listen to the sounds of nature.  I am reminded of God's creation and reflect on how grateful I am for all the things He has provided for me and my family.


    Which of your personality traits are you most proud of? Why?

    My cheerfulness. Life is too short to waste it being a grumpy pants. I try to see the best in every situation.


    Hometown: Nekoosa, WI

    B.S. in Retail Studies from UW Stevens Point

  • Mrs. Cheryl Verhulst

    librarian

    I have been married 37 years and have two children. We were also foster parents for 12 years and helped raise over 50 children from 6 months to 18 years old. My grandson attends Immanuel and is in the 3rd grade.


    I taught in a Christian school for 10 years in Iowa, teaching junior and senior high math, literature, choir, band, drama, and working with the sports program. I also worked as an adjunct instructor in the Math and Science department of the local community college. We moved here in 2002 and I became the administrator of Community Christian Academy until it closed in 2008. 


    I now work at McMillan Library in both the customer service and technical service areas. I attend Faith Reformed Church and am in charge of the Children's Church program there.


    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    When my grandson had to have surgery during Covid, the way we were able to be there in the hospital even when the rules said we couldn't. God was in that whole process!


    What's your go-to guilty pleasure?

    Chocolate and cooking competitions on TV


    Hometown: Sheboygan Falls, WI

    Bachelors in Elementary Education from Central College, Pella, IA

    Major in Math from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA

    Masters in Educational Administration from Drake University, Des Moines, IA

    Food Handling Certification from the state of Wisconsin

    I was certified as a teacher K-12 and Principal K-12


  • Judy Papineau

    lunch assistant

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    What are your hobbies and how did you get into them?


  • Sarah Moss

    lunch assistant

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?


    Does your family ever take trips together? If so, what is your favorite place to go?


  • Jonathan Hokana

    technology

    The school's theme this year is In All Things. Share a brief example of a time or a moment when you have felt God IN ALL THINGS?

    When I became jobless after Christmas, it really reset me and made me realize that God was in control and would provide for Mrs. Hokana and I.


    Ideally if you could do anything for your birthday how would you spend it?

    If I could do anything for my birthday, it would be to either snuggle with our cat or to try and get back up flying.