West Salem School District Logo

Model Teachers

Teacher Compensation Model

Model Teachers 2016

Mary Hundt - Elementary School Library Media Specialist: K-5


Mary earned a Bachelor’s degree in home economics from Viterbo College and later a Master’s degree in elementary education and instructional media from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.  Mary completed a portion of her student teaching experience at West Salem Elementary School in 1997.  In the summer of 1998 Mary was formally hired to become the second member of the Library Media team at West Salem Elementary School.  Mary is an absolute super star in our elementary school.  She lives our mission statement every day as she serves the students and staff by offering creative and innovative approaches to discovery and learning.


Mary’s model presentation highlighted her approach to developing media literacy skills in our elementary students.  Her 4th grade Digital Citizenship unit is remarkable.   From virtual field trips and STEM centers to more traditional browsing and reading activities, Mary epitomizes the modern day media specialist.



Carrie Johnson - Elementary School Lead Teacher: K-2


Carrie is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Stout in the field of early childhood education.  Carrie joined the team at West Salem Elementary School in 1999 as a kindergarten teacher.  Carrie later earned a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2005.  In 2013 Carrie agreed to serve as one of the lead teachers in our elementary school.  Carrie’s experience as a classroom teacher, passion for data, and determined service for others make her the ideal lead teacher.  She helps our teachers provide the very best for our kids!


Carrie’s Model Teacher presentation exemplified the use of data in our elementary school.  From leading PLC group discussions on fluency levels to working directly with students in Rti groups, Carrie is simply a master teacher and a wonderful leader.



Jane Macdonald - Title I and Kindergarten Teacher: K


Jane earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winona State University in 1996 and a Master’s degree from Saint Mary’s University in 2001.  Jane joined the West Salem team in 1996 and has served our district as a kindergarten, first grade, lead, and Title I teacher.  Jane is a distinguished educator earning a Kohl Fellowship in 2005 and a WKBT Top-Notch Teacher award in 2010.  Jane has presented at literally dozens of professional conferences on writing, literacy, looping, and handwriting.  Jane is a passionate and tireless professional who freely gives of her time and talents to improve the lives of children and the skills of her cohorts.


Jane’s Model Teacher presentation included an in depth look at improvements in reading levels by students enrolled in her Title I program along with a varied discussion about her vast experience and a presenter and continual learner. 



Jesse McKinney - Elementary School Teacher: Grade 4


Jesse earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1998 and a Master’s degree in professional development - constructivist classroom from UW-La Crosse in 2002.  Jesse arrived in West Salem in 2013 with fifteen years of teaching experience including the previous ten at Hintgen Elementary School in La Crosse.  Jesse’s passion, energy and unrivaled determination have transformed our 4th grade team.  Jesse is an inspirational, goal orientated teacher committed to creating a family of learners in her room.


Jesse’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by reference to a pre-set Student Learner Outcome connected to vocabulary skills as measured by the MAPS test.  The presentation revealed a passion for continued personal growth and most impressively her unmatched ability to create a “family” of 4th grade learners!



Jenny Morgan - Middle School Social Studies Teacher: Grade 8


Jenny earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville in 1991 and a Master’s degree of professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2003.  Jenny joined the West Salem team in 1994 after three years at Potosi High School.  Jenny is a national leader in the field of social science education.  She has offered presentations at the national conference for teachers of social studies on 5 different occasions and recently completed an NCSS summer leadership workshop in the U.S. Congress along with a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship studying the Mississippi Delta.  Jenny’s classroom is alive with the latest strategies for helping middle school students to develop a passion for history through a series of personal experiences.


Jenny’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by the impressive array of learning and leadership activities in which she has participated over the years.  Jenny is literally a national treasure who shares her expertise with our kids!



Jamie Olson - High School Physical Education & Health Teacher: 9-12


Jamie is a 1999 graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in physical education and health.  He followed up with a Master’s degree in professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2005.   Jamie is a graduate of West Salem High School who returned to West Salem as a teacher in 2006 following six years of teaching in Winona.  A recent presentation at a school board meeting regarding a board grant depicted the use of heart rate monitors to track “effort” rather than skill in a physical education class.  The students acquire life-long skills for a healthy approach to fitness and exercise.  Jamie also offers his talents to his coworkers by leading a morning “boot camp” for person fitness. 


Jamie’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by his leadership activities including his work with PLC, LinkCrew, building committees, and classroom innovation.  



Ryan Waldhart - Middle School Instrumental Music: 6-8


Ryan earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1998 and a Master’s degree in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University in 2010.  Ryan was selected to serve as the West Salem Middle School Band Director in 2008 after two years in Spring Grove, MN and five years at Tomah High School in Tomah, WI.  Our middle school instrumental music program is regionally renowned.  Ryan and his band have played in the state capitol and won accolades for excellence in marching.  Ryan was recently recognized by his peers with a state-level award.  Ryan attended a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in rural Mississippi studying the culture of the delta.  


Ryan’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by a Student Learning Outcome connected to sight reading music.  Ryan also serves our middle school by regularly volunteering for leadership positions.  Ryan’s professional accomplishments are exemplified by the unmatched quality of our middle bands.  Ryan and his bands are a gift to our community.



Model Teachers 2015

Rhonda Andres - High School Alternative Education

Rhonda is a graduate of West Salem High School and a life long "panther" at heart. Following high school, Rhonda earned her Bachelor's degree in music education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona. After serving three years as a music teacher in Marshfield, WI, Rhonda and her family returned to West Salem. In 1995 Rhonda was hired to serve as a para-professional at West Salem High School. In the fall of 1999 Rhonda began her new career as a teacher in the newly created alternative high school located within West Salem High School. In 2008 Rhonda earned her Master's degree in Literacy and Learning in the Content area from Walden University. In addition to her teaching duties, Rhonda has championed the annual homecoming celebration and plays a critical role in our highly acclaimed drama department. Rhonda's Model presentation was highlighted by her background in literacy, her relationships with children, and her commitment to serving our entire high school.


Christine Antony-Elementary School Teacher: Grade 1

Christine earned a Bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Following graduation Chris worked for 9 years at Gundersen Lutheran in their hospital child care center. In the fall of 1999 Christine was hired to serve as an elementary school teacher at West Salem Elementary School. In 2005 she completed her Master's degree in professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Christine is the consummate professional. She studies the craft of education and is a natural at the art of teaching. Christine's Model presentation exemplified the use of data to drive instructional practice followed by the purposeful application of appropriate instructional strategies. Christine is a master tactician with an expansive set of skills and strategies to serve her students. A highlight of her presentation was a number of hand-written notes sent to children and families. This typifies her dedication to her students.


Randy Dammon- High School Teacher: Science 

Randy earned a Bachelor's degree in secondary science education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1978. Following teaching stints at Belmont High School in Belmont, WI and at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Randy arrived at West Salem High School in 1993 to serve as science teacher and athletic director. In 2008 Randy earned a Master's Degree from Glendale University Santa Fe, NM. Randy is a master teacher with an uncanny ability to connect with high school students. He has a tenacious drive to for improvement and continued growth - always willing to try new and interesting things. In addition to his teaching career, Randy had an illustrious career as a wrestling coach with a number of team and individual state champions. Randy's model presentation was highlighted by videos of "Rube Goldberg" machines as submitted by freshmen and by his mastery learning approach to graphing. Randy was instrumental in the development of the Model teacher process and took a comprehensive approach to presenting artifacts from 35+ years of teaching.


Amy Hanson- High School Teacher: Vocal Music 

Amy is a 1994 graduate of Viterbo University with Bachelor's degree in music education. Following a 5-year run as music teacher in Shawano, WI, Amy agreed to join the team in West Salem in the fall of 1999. She continued her education by earning a Master's degree from Viterbo in 2002. This also marked the year Amy was selected as a Herb Kohl Fellowship award winner. Amy returned to Viterbo in 2008 to become certified as a teacher of theater arts. Amy is a inspirational instructor who has taken our vocal music program to new heights in terms of both the quality of the music and the number of students who participate. Amy is also the driving force behind the continuation of our long-standing community tradition of excellence in offering a summer musical production. The past ten summers included an impressive list of broadway caliber shows. Amy's model presentation took a page from the work done by our seniors as part of the SEP process. Amy offered an electronic portfolio detailing her approach to both student and curriculum development. The program included a student-produced music video and a lesson plan connected to literacy development.


Angie Hemker-Elementary School Teacher: Art 

Angie earned her Bachelor's degree in art education from Viterbo University in 1997. After a year of teaching part-time in Onalaska, Angie began her career in West Salem in the fall of 1998. Angie earned her Master's degree in professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2000. Angie is a "maestro" with primary students in the art room. Simply look around the Heider Meeting Room and review the impressive list of state award winners as evidence of her outstanding work. In addition, Angie has a passion for the Odyssey of the Mind program. While serving as our lead coach and program director the program has grown in both accomplishments and participants. Angie's model presentation was highlighted by her list of leadership activities. Taking an active role in developing the award-winning PSIS program including work with the Trends software demonstrates an impressive level of commitment to school-wide growth. In addition, she shared her work in contributing to literacy development with student produced reflective journals. Angie and the entire team of art teachers are critical to the continued push for the integration of "creativity" into all we do


Mike Lang-Middle School Counselor 

Mike earned a Bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in 1991 and followed up with Master's degree in counseling in 1994 also from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. Following three years of work as a school counselor in Lena, WI, Mike joined the West Salem team in 1998. Mike defines the role of middle school counselor. He engages with students, provides leadership for teachers, support families and models a professional approach. His work with the middle school A/A program and his contribution to events such as Winter Wellness and the 7th grade trip to the OEC typify his many contributions to our children.

Mike's model presentation was highlighted by his discussion of applying the Fundamental Five teaching model. Mike enrolled in a for-credit course offered locally by another faculty member. Mike applied the lessons learned to his approach to teaching Life Skills to middle school students in the A/A program. It demonstrated a commitment to professional growth, high-quality instruction, risk-taking and creating a positive environment.

- /

Teresa Lassig-Middle School Success Center Teacher

Teri earned her Bachelor's degree with a major in elementary education and minor in Spanish from Viterbo University in 1995. Following time as a substitute teacher and one year as a Spanish teacher in La Crosse, Teri began her career in West Salem as a middle school Spanish teacher 1997. _Teri completed her Master's degree in 2007 from Viterbo University. The program included certification as a Reading Specialist. Teri currently serves as the Lead Teacher for our middle school. She is an adjunct professor in the area of reading education at Viterbo University. Teri works with our middle school staff in interpreting data and changing instruction to improve literacy development. Her connections with the state reading association and Viterbo are invaluable in improving the quality of our staff development. Teri's model teacher presentation included an impressive discussion on professional growth and development. Teri shared a lengthy list of conferences and professional development activities she has attended or lead. An additional point of interest was a discussion about Teri having two separate groups of students - she teaches both students and teachers. She is able to track the growth of both!


Chris Milne-High School Teacher: Math 

Chris earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1996. He completed his student teaching at West Salem High School in the spring of 1996. A retirement created an opening allowing Chris to formally join the WS team in the fall of 1996. Chris earned a Master's degree from Viterbo University in 2008. Chris accepted the challenge of instructing our best and brightest from day one. He recently elevated our calculus programming to the level of Advanced Placement. Also certified as a physics teacher, Chris worked closely with the science department to strengthen the mathematics component of our physics offering. Chris's Model teacher presentation was inspiring. The application of his graduate work to create a mastery learning and cooperative grouping approach was outstanding. His creation of a "flipped classroom" and standardized grading serve as examples for the changing landscape of high school assessment strategies. His use of the Fundamental Five approach was spot on. His model presentation will help us to better guide those who follow in terms of his thorough and purposeful approach.

Tracy Hesse- Elementary School Teacher: Grade 2

Tracy earned her Bachelor's degree in elementary education and a minor in mathematics. She is a graduate of West Salem High School. She was a paraprofessional at West Salem Elementary School from 1996-97 and a Title I teacher, grade 5-8, at Cashton Elementary School from 1997-99 until she was hired by WSSD in July 1999. Tracy's model teacher presentation shared about all the professional communities she has been a part of to establish new curriculum or adopt new educational textbooks.  She also shared some of the programs she helped initiate, for example 4 Block and Words Their Way.  The presentation mostly consisted of what she does in the classroom and how she communicates with parents. 

Susi Holm- High School Teacher: Mathematics

Susi earned her Bachelor's degree from Mankato State University in 1995. Her major was mathematics and her minor was middle school. She also received her Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from Viterbo University in 2006. She was hired by the School District of West Salem in May 1998. Prior to WSHS, she taught at La Crescent High School from 1995-1998. Along with teaching, Susi has been actively involved with students outside of the classroom. Susi coached volleyball, basketball, and softball (all levels) for more than 10 years. Susi's model teacher presentation highlighted her success in reaching all levels of students in math. Susi demonstrated her ability to connect with students, staff, and parents.  


Shelly Helland-High School Teacher: Spanish

Shelly earned her Bachelor's degree in Sciences and Humanities-Spanish from Iowa State University. She also has a Masters of Education in Professional Development from UWL which she earned in 2002. She taught at Houston High School in MN from 1986-1994, Rushford High School in MN from 1987-1991, and has been a volleyball coach in West Salem and other districts. Shelly's model teacher presentation was about using Comprehensible Input methods as opposed to traditional rote memorization methods to improve student retention of vocabulary and various structures of the Spanish language over time.