Quality staff is one of the reasons why Tri-Creek schools are great. Please, participate in recognizing our staff!
NEW! Please submit a Staff Recognition Form to help us begin posts that will feature and highlight the wonderful work of our staff on this page throughout the school year. 
Megan Bieber-Hoover

MEGAN BIEBER-HOOVER, Three Creeks E. S. Speech-Language Pathologist — Recognized on 03-06-2024 by a colleague who shared that she is an outstanding speech pathologist, who goes above and beyond to meet her students' unique needs and to help teachers provide assistance to students who are not even on her caseload. She shows up every day with a smile on her face, and our kiddos look forward to going to her classroom. Her work doesn't end at 3:15 p.m. If she isn't coaching Girls on the Run, she's carting home a bin of files to work on overnight. Her dedication, passion, and enthusiasm make her an asset to our corporation.

Karen Deal

KAREN DEAL, Oak Hill E. S. Kindergarten Teacher — Recognized on 03-12-2024 by the family of one of her students who shared the following: Since the first week of school, Luca has shown such excitement about LEARNING and creating—just everything...reading, math, and art. Mrs. Deal should probably be a kindergarten teacher mentor to her peers because she has truly excited and inspired young Luca about every subject. He is learning so much in her classroom, and he is thriving socially there, as well. Luca has experienced a great expansion in his abilities and desire to explore the basics (reading, writing, and math), as well as art and other subjects. He comes over to our house and writes and draws and asks us to quiz him on math for fun—and we have a lot of toys for him here! Something amazing is happening in Mrs. Deal's classroom! We deeply appreciate this great start to Luca's elementary school experience. THANK YOU, Mrs. Deal!

Erinie Kharchaf

ERINIE KHARCHAF, Oak Hill E. S. Grade 3 Teacher — Recognized on 02-29-2024 by six parents who shared the following comments: (1) Mrs. Kharchaf is an amazing teacher who loves her students! (2) Mrs. Kharchaf cares and loves all of her students. The amount of compassion she has for each of her students is amazing. I have personally witnessed a student having a meltdown and yelling at her. The entire time she stayed completely calm and stayed with that student reassuring the student that it is okay. As soon as you walk into her classroom, you can feel the amount of calmness she has by her voice, the dimmed lights, and the calm music she has playing at times in the background. She constantly reassures her students that they only need to try their best and not to be perfect. When she talks to you about your child, you can feel the amount of love and care that she has for them. (3) My daughter had Mrs. Kharchaf last year, and she was such a positive inspiration to my daughter. I could tell from the moment I met her during meet-the-teacher night last year that she was going to be good for my daughter, and last year she did not disappoint. My daughter really looks up to her, and it means so much. Even though my daughter is now in fourth grade, she still looks forward to seeing Mrs. Kharchaf at school just to say hello. She is an amazing role model for students, and those students who get her for third grade are very lucky. (4) Mrs. Kharchaf is creative, patient, and goes above and beyond for her students. (5) Mrs. Kharchaf was such an excellent teacher for my son last year. She is patient and very nice, but firm, and that is exactly what kids respond to. (6) My daughter had Mrs. Kharchaf as a teacher in third grade. My daughter loved being in her class. She is patient with the kids, and my daughter gained more confidence in herself and her school work. The communication she had with the parents was also very helpful. My daughter enjoyed her class and still talks about her.

Christina Liakopoulos

CHRISTINA LIAKOPOULOS, Three Creeks E. S. Grade 1 Teacher — Recognized on 03-06-2024 by a parent whose child struggles with her emotions at times and feels defeated when things do not come easy. She said they were so lucky to have Mrs. Liakopoulos loop with their daughter this year and help her to build her confidence. She said not only does their daughter manage her emotions better, but she also enjoys coming to school every day. It starts with relationships, and Mrs. Liakopoulos not only creates that safe environment for her students, but she also gets to know their strengths and weaknesses, helps them become successful, and pushes them to be their very best.

Susan Lueder

SUSAN LUEDER, Lake Prairie E. S. Kindergarten Assistant — Recognized on 02-07-2024 by a colleague for being a wonderful Tri-Creek employee! Susan is a very hard-working and dedicated assistant. She strives for excellence in all that she does. Susan's work habits are impeccable! She helps any classroom she is in to run smoothly. She meets students' very different needs. She is a great encourager, which helps with a student's self-esteem as well as his/her academics. Susan always comes ready to work. She is flexible and ready to lend a hand anywhere she can. Susan acts as a positive agent of change. She is not only encouraging to students, but also to all of the adults as well. Everyone knows Susan cares. She is a great team player and handles all matters with grace. Susan is respected by everyone. She is a role model to all. We are lucky to have Susan Lueder! She goes above and beyond!

Peggy Kennelly

PEGGY KENNELLY, Three Creeks E. S. Nurse — Recognized on 02-08-2024 by a parent whose son has a slight case of Asperger's Syndrome. He feels sick when he gets upset, and she is always patient with him. She does a great job!

Dawn Johannsen

DAWN JOHANNSEN, Lake Prairie E. S. Grade 5 Teacher — Recognized on 02-06-2024 by a parent who shared that their family has had a lot of changes this year, which has caused stress for her children. Mrs. Johannsen has been beyond understanding, compassionate, and non-judgmental. She has been happy to give me updates when I check in frequently with her. She has been supportive and comforting to my child, always making sure he has any extra support he may need. I feel so fortunate that this wonderful woman is educating my child this year!

Rachel Hildebrandt

RACHEL HILDEBRANDT, Lake Prairie E. S. Grade 1 Teacher — Recognized on 02-07-2024 by a parent who shared that their family has had a lot of changes this year, which has caused stress for her children. Mrs. Johannsen has been beyond understanding, compassionate, and non-judgmental. She has been happy to give me updates when I check in frequently with her. She has been supportive and comforting to my child, always making sure she has any extra support she may need. I feel so fortunate that this wonderful woman is educating my child this year!

Anthony Valdez, Robbie Smetana, Eric Barnhill

ANTHONY VALDEZ, ROBBIE SMETANA, AND ERIC BARNHILL, District Grounds Crew — Recognized on 01-25-2024 by Jason Wathen, Director of Buildings and Grounds, who shared that in inclement weather conditions, these three individuals consistently demonstrate exceptional work ethic, going above and beyond their duties to ensure that teachers and staff can safely enter the school buildings. Their dedication to their work is evident in the early starts and late finishes they undertake, ensuring that all paths are cleared before school hours commence. Their tireless efforts are a testament to their commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all those who work and learn in the school environment.

Hannah Connell

HANNAH CONNELL, Oak Hill E. S. Grade 1 Teacher — Recognized on 02-02-2024 by a parent whose family is moving back to Maine soon. She shared that Mrs. Connell had the whole class along with her and her teacher assistant make a going-away-type book for her son. Each student drew a picture and said something nice about her son. Her son ran off the school bus with the biggest smile on his face to show his mom the book. She said it was the cutest thing ever. Moving is hard, but this book will help a lot, and they will keep it forever.

Bryan Fuller

BRYAN FULLER, School bus driver — Recognized 12-12-2023 by a parent who shared that Mr. Fuller is her children's bus driver. He is always very kind to her boys greeting them as they get on the bus. He is on time and always friendly to her and her sons. It is important to see a smiling and kind face to start your school day.

Tracey Ebert

TRACEY EBERT, LHS Head Custodian — Recognized 01-18-2024 by a colleague for being an amazing example of what professional flexibility looks like. She is always smiling and available, no matter how busy she is. Tracey is diligent, caring, approachable, and a joy to be around. Thank you, Tracey, for all of your hard work and putting the students first!

JASON WATHEN, District Director of Buildings and Grounds — Recognized on 11-17-2023 by a colleague for always being available—day or night, week day, or weekend. He supports his staff and has been know to jump on a lawn mower to help out. He silently supports everyone but takes no credit. He is an exemplary example of leadership and should be recognized for his daily dedication to Tri-Creek schools.

Lora Cooksley

LORA COOKSLEY, LMS Reading Interventionist — Recognized on 12-21-2023 by an administrator for being such a special part of school. She works as a reading interventionist by title, but she is so much more. LMS lost its eighth-grade LRE teacher, and Lora volunteered to bring those students into her classroom during first period to ensure that they are getting quality MindPlay instruction. In additioin to absorbing those students into her classroom and taking care of all of their data tracking and grading, she spends her plan period—every day—walking the building with a student who was recently diagnosed with a heart condition. She ensures the student is drinking adequate water, and after their walk, they go to get his vitals checked. The student and Lora journal back and forth to track his vitals and how he is feeling so that he can share that information with his doctor.

Jim Pelham, Superintendent Andy Anderson, and Jeremy Anderson

JIM PELHAM and JEREMY ANDERSON, Tri-Creek Maintenance — Recognized on 10-19-2023 by a Lowell High School teacher who said Jim and Jeremy are amazing! They always take care of her classroom and have had to get pretty creative over the years to make repairs. Without Jim, she had to boil water for years in order to wash dishes! He worked so hard to get hot water running to her classroom. He has superglued so many parts on the old washer! Yesterday, Jim and Jeremy worked all day to install her new washer and dryer. They found so many issues that they quickly resolved to make sure the students and staff are safe. The new washer and dryer work wonderfully—they are so quiet and safe. Jim and Jeremy are appreciated!

MAEGIN KRSTANOSKI, Three Creeks E. S. Grade 2 Teacher — Recognized on 11-17-2023 by a parent who shared the following story: "My daughter is adopted, and Ms. Krstanoski knew this early in the year. I explained to her over the summer that Kennedy and my oldest son were adopted, and my oldest son had to do a timeline assignment in second grade that made him feel really bad since we didn't have any photos of him as a baby. It killed him and us knowing that he was so worried about everyone knowing he was adopted. Ms. Krstanoski went above and beyond this year! She remembered our story and explained to the kids that they could do their favorite moments in life or their timeline. Kennedy came home nervous and upset that her class would find out, but once Ms. Krstanoski explained it to her, she was so excited to do this project. The small things that Ms. Krstanoski does in her classroom to make her students feel happy, safe, and welcomed is absolutely amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better teacher for my daughter as she tries to find herself. She is one of the best that we have had at Tri-Creek!"

Kenneth Roach

KENNETH ROACH, Lowell H. S. CTE Welding Teacher — Recognized on 06-02-2023 by a parent for opening the Red Devil Trades building (at the beginning of spring break) so students could weld a memorial cross for an LHS student who tragically died in an automobile accident. The memorial cross was placed at the accident site.

KERRI COAPSTICK, DAWN JOHANNSEN, JEN ROSE, ALISHA BERRONES, AND AMY MAZYLEWSKI, Lake Prairie E. S. Fifth-Grade Team — Recognized on 09-11-2023 by a colleague/parent who shared the following statement: "For the 2022-23 school year, this exceptional fifth-grade team of teachers and assistants moved to Lowell Middle School from Lake Prairie Elementary School due to maximum capacity. They all jumped into the unknown and unfamiliar territory from a place they had once called 'home.' They created a learning environment for their students that brought comfort and familiarity. Lake Prairie's home away from home. They are dedicated, resilient, and the strongest team I have ever had the privilege to know. Both students and the fantastic 5 shared joys, tears, and connections on this incredible journey together. My daughter's class of 2030 will never forget the impact this team made on their educational growth and their hearts. Let's show this team love and support as they embark on this same journey this school year!"

Karen Wylie

KAREN WYLIE, Lowell H. S. Mathematics Teacher — Recognized on 06-02-2023 by a colleague for quietly going above and beyond every single day. Mrs. Wylie meets with students nearly every day before school and many times after school. She strives to create a confidence in math where kids many times do not feel confident. She works tirelessly in this building, and it often goes unnoticed. Not only is she a phenomenal teacher, but she is also a supportive colleague and friend. She does not always tell you what you want to hear, but she is always honest, rational, and realistic.

Jenn Wathen

JENN WATHEN, Lowell H. S. Nurse — Recognized on 06-02-2023 by a parent for always going above and beyond with her children. Her daughter was having heart issues at the beginning of this year, and Mrs. Wathen always made sure she was comfortable and recommended to the parent that she take her daughter to a cardiologist where she was diagnosed with POTS syndrome. Any child who this parent has ever seen in Mrs. Wathen's office has always received her best attention!

Karen Balfanz

KAREN BALFANZ, Lowell M. S. NISEC Paraprofessional — Recognized on 04-24-2023 by two Lowell Middle School students for helping them and other students through hard times and helping them improve their grades. They shared that Mrs. Balfanz always has a smile on her face, and she is one of the kindest people at Lowell Middle School. They said she has a great personality and is an absolutely amazing person to talk to about anything, and they are fortunate to have Mrs. Balfanz at Lowell Middle School. They wish her the very best!

Jennifer Lusinski

JENNIFER LUSINSKI, Lake Prairie E. S. Art Teacher — Recognized on 05-18-2023 by a parent whose children have loved art class with Mrs. Lusinski over the years. The parent shared that her children have always said the same thing about Mrs. Lusinski...she's awesome! This year, she did an outstanding job with the Lake Prairie art show. It was glow-in-the-dark themed, and the displays were impressive. You can tell she loves what she does!

Wendy Anderson

WENDY ANDERSON, Oak Hill Teacher Assistant — Recognized on 04-17-2023 for always being willing to help anywhere she can, implementing the expectations that are set, and going above and beyond each and every day. Ms. Heaviland shares that she always feels at ease when she has to have an afternoon substitute knowing that Mrs. Anderson is there to keep everything in line. Mrs. Anderson always jumps right in without ever being asked or told to do anything, and she connects with the students in ways that Ms. Heaviland has never seen adults connect with them. Students feel incredibly comfortable asking her for help and advice. To say that Mrs. Anderson gives 100% is an understatement. She is an absolute asset to Oak Hill.

Rebekka Anderson

REBEKKA ANDERSON, Oak Hill Grades 2 and 5 Teacher Assistant — Recognized on 03-20-2023 for being an outstanding assistant. She is highly organized and keeps track of student data. She is always able to quickly identify students in need academically or emotionally and problem-solve in the moment without disrupting lessons or other students. Many students have reported that Mrs. Anderson has helped them improve their math skills, showed sympathy, taught them coping skills during stressful situations, and even helped them communicate effectively with friends. She has proposed changes to our school schedules when conflicts occur and makes great suggestions to improve reading group schedules within our classroom. Her classroom teacher, Mrs. Plonczynski, rests easy when she is out of the classroom knowing that her students are in good hands. Her classroom runs smoothly with the help and support of Mrs. Anderson.

MICHELE HEAVILAND, Oak Hill Grade 2 Teacher — Recognized on 02-16-2023 by a parent whose daughter loves Mrs. Heaviland. Mrs. Heaviland makes learning fun and easy, and she communicates well with important dates to remember. She has privately messaged this parent to brag about how well her daughter is doing in school, which is important to this mother because she cannot be in school with her daughter. She said our teachers deserve so much credit as they are educating the future.

KATHY CLARK, Bus Driver — Recognized 02-16-2023 by a parent for greeting students when they get on the bus with a nice "good morning" or "hello" and for waving to this parent and her baby. This can make a huge difference because it is so welcoming. Mrs. Clark was the bus driver last year, too, and consistency is good. Bus drivers are so important as they get students safely to and from school each day!

Michelle Nichols

MICHELLE NICHOLS, Lake Prairie Kindergarten Teacher — Recognized on 02-06-2023 for being a valuable asset to the education professions program at Lowell High School (LHS). Last year, Mrs. Nichols worked with an education professions senior who graduated in 2022 to begin her post-secondary studies in elementary education. This LHS graduate is beginning her career with a tremendous head start after being able to learn and grow from her time with Mrs. Nichols. This year, Mrs. Nichols has a junior education professions student in her classroom three mornings a week; this student has also been awarded the unique opportunity to watch a seasoned and compassionate teacher in her practice. When Lowell High school teacher Mrs. Lindsay O'Neill has been able to visit Mrs. Nichols' classroom to watch her education professions students in action, she is continually inspired to bring the many great examples of student-centered learning and differentiated instruction back to her own classroom at the high school. Mrs. Nichols really is the truest example of continually bringing your best self to work every day. Her job is undoubtedly stressful, but her students (and the education professions students) would never know it because she approaches each and every learner, task, and obstacle with grace. Thank you, Mrs. Nichols, for being an inspiration to both prospective educators and other teachers in the district.

Nancy Arnold

NANCY ARNOLD, Oak Hill Title I Interventionist — Recognized on 02-15-2023 by a colleague, who is also a new teacher, for motivating her and reminding her of the good in any tough situation. She shared that when faced with a problem, Mrs. Arnold adapts easily and works hard to provide her students with valuable lessons that meet their learning needs. She is organized and concise, and has provided valuable advice from her many years of teaching. Her colleague knows that she can go to Mrs. Arnold with any questions about a lesson. She always has a smile on her face, and she is a passionate and caring teacher, whom she also considers a good friend.

BECKY BLACKMAN, Oak Hill Grade 1 Teacher — Recognized on 01-23-2023, for being an awesome teacher and colleague, who goes above and beyond to help her students and coworkers. She works on several committees and is a great problem-solver! She is always kind and positive. Oak Hill is extremely lucky to have her!

Jennifer Rose

JENNIFER ROSE, Lake Prairie Grade 5 Teacher — Recognized on 12-19-2022 by a former student for being caring, kind, and the most amazing person. Her former student shared that Mrs. Rose "always understands when people are having a bad day, and she helps them. She helped me learn how to read. When I was in second grade, I was always struggling with reading, but she got through to me, and now I'm not struggling as much anymore thanks to her. I had Mrs. Rose again in fifth grade, and that was by far my favorite school year. There wasn't one day in her class that I didn't have a smile on my face. I always walked in with a smile and even a bigger smile walking out because of all the fun and happiness. She is my favorite teacher by far! Thanks to her, I'm where I am now."

Linda Miley

LINDA MILEY, Lake Prairie Nurse — Recognized on 12-09-2022 for being a fantastic nurse who is kind and compassionate. She is a true team player when it comes to looking at the entire corporation. She did not hesitate to cover the nurse's office at Lowell High School when they had no one, even though she realized it would add more to those working in the Lake Prairie office and to her upon her return. There are so many students who come through the LHS nurse's office each day, and without someone with a medical background, it is extremely difficult to cover. She is a smiling face every time she has been to LHS and is always willing to help out in a pinch!

Amie Patterson

AMIE PATTERSON, Oak Hill Grade 2 Teacher — Recognized on 12-08-2022 for being quick to adapt to new requirements and new ideas in the teaching profession and for mentoring many new teachers, hosting student teachers, and leading the Girls on the Run Program. She is living proof that teaching is not a 180-days-a-year job. She keeps excellent data on student progress and has taught many others how to do the same. She has taught many students who needed a lot of individualized and extra attention. This year she has been learning a lot in her new role as team leader for second and third grades at Oak Hill and is very excited to master her new position.

Heather Bakker

HEATHER BAKKER, Lake Prairie Cafeteria Manager — Recognized on 12-02-2022 for helping teach her coworkers new things and making a pleasant work atmosphere.

Brandie Muha

BRANDIE MUHA, Oak Hill Principal — Recognized on 12-01-2022 for improving the culture and climate of Oak Hill since becoming principal. Staff in all capacities are empowered to do their very best each day to reach their true potential. She is responsive to their wonders or concerns with curriculum, instruction, and student supports. She is always available to brainstorm solutions and encourages her staff to always try something new.

Kristen Hughes

KRISTEN HUGHES, Three Creeks Title I Teacher — Recognized on 12-01-2022 for having a tremendously positive impact on students in every grade level at Three Creeks. She plans purposeful, intentional reading and math intervention lessons for each grade level, and the effectiveness of her instruction shows up in the classroom. This is a daunting task, but she preforms her job with a big, warm smile and genuine willingness to support all learners! She also balances the responsibilities of being a team leader for MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support).

Eric Tarnowski

ERIC TARNOWSKI, Lowell M.S. Social Studies Teacher — Recognized on 11-29-2022 for working to provide fun activities for LMS student council members and providing them with great opportunities for community service. He works over and above school hours to be there for the students and to provide them with unforgettable opportunities.

Diane Schoon

DIANE SCHOON, Lowell H.S. Building Secretary — Recognized on 11-28-2022 for being incredibly caring and helpful. She is the face of the school as she is one of the first people that community members see when they visit the school. She is equally as positive and supportive with community members and students as she is with staff. She is truly one of the most unsung heroes of this school. She make every day better.

Renee Eckard

RENEE ECKARD, Lowell M.S. English/Language Arts Teacher — Recognized on 11-18-2022 for having a great attitude everyday, being a pleasure to be around, and coming up with very creative and engaging lesson ideas that keep students on the edge of their seats.

STACEY HEAMS, Safety and Security Coordinator — Recognized on 11-10-2022 for her accomplishments this school year. She has been able to help us become a part of nationally recognized programs that are going to greatly improve the level of safety and security in the Tri-Creek school district. She inspires those around her to think outside the box and reach beyond their comfort zones.

Randy Bogathy

RANDY BOGATHY, Lowell H.S. Law Enforcement Teacher — Recognized on 11-10-2022 for volunteering six hours of his time over the course of two evenings to train several teacher assistants from Three Creeks Elementary School in CPR. The assistants all shared with their principal, Jon Nannenga, how much they appreciated Randy and his willingness to volunteer his time for them.

Rachel Boncela

RACHEL BONCELA, Lowell M.S. NISEC LD Teacher — Recognized on 11-10-2022 for spending absurd amounts of time with the kids who constantly struggle. She is willing to help her kids achieve success, and she finds opportunities for her kids to shine on a regular basis. She doesn't give up on kids, and she tries to show them the empathy that they need to move forward.

JILL GARRISON, Three Creeks Instructional Assistant — Recognized on 11-10-2022 for always willing to jump in and assist with whatever we need. She is always positive, always smiling, and is a great role model for our students. She is a true team player in every sense of the role and continues to be a bright spot at Three Creeks.

Sara Fournet

SARA FOURNET, Lake Prairie Instructional Assistant — Recognized on 10-27-2022 for constantly taking initiative and helping students during any free opportunity--never stops helping a student. Sara is described as a huge team player, covering and filling in for others when needed and on short notice. The teacher and the students of her class are thankful for her work and feel lucky to have Mrs. Fournet as their instructional assistant.