STAFF

Teaching Staff


Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Ms. Lindsey Wind

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I am excited to work at Cedar Riverside Community School because I value its mission and vision to empower students and create personalized learning environments. I look forward to growing together and  building relationships in this school community!
  • What do you love about being a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher?
    • I love being a Pre-Kindergarten teacher because learning is such a fun and exciting thing for this age group! It is so rewarding to watch my students grow and learn in the classroom!

Kindergarten Teacher, Ms. Jennifer Van Haften

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I like working at CRCS because I have the BEST kids ever!  The families are supportive; they want what is best for their children.  I feel that it is truly an honor to be entrusted with their child for seven hours a day and to be a part of their educational journey and their life.  I feel as if I am a part of their family.
  • What do yo love about being a Kindergarten Teacher?
    • Not only do I have the BEST job in the world, I get to keep my kiddos for 2 years.  I worked with them as Pre-Kindergarteners and saw how much they grew academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.  I now get the opportunity to take them to the next level.  I am so excited for this next chapter in my students’ lives.  From the new discoveries we will make together, the new “aha” moments, to the brighter community we will build together.  See why I say I have the best job in the world?

1st Grade Teacher, Ms. Heather Newlyn

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I’m excited to work at Cedar Riverside Community School because of all the interesting ways in which the school approaches education. It’s vision and mission to foster a sense of leadership in order to inspire academic excellence made me want to be a part of this school community.
  • What do you love about being a 1st Grade Teacher?
    • Connecting with ALL students in order to share my love of learning is part of why I love being a teacher. I aim to inspire students to remain curious about the world and find ways in which they can be leaders of change.

2nd Grade Teacher, Ms. Khadijah Wilson

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I appreciate the involvement and warmth of the parents and the community the school is within. It’s beneficial to the classroom environment.
  • What do yo love about being a 2nd Grade Teacher?
    • I love working with other lower elementary teachers. Pre-kindergarten through second students are similar in many ways, so the teachers can talk about what we are doing in our classrooms and learn from each other.

3rd Grade Teacher, Ms. Rachel Essler

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I want to work at Cedar Riverside because of the value that is going to be placed on personalized learning, positive classroom communities and the belief that all students are capable of meeting high expectations and achieving greatness.
  • What do you love about being a 3rd Grade Teacher?
    • What I love most about being a teacher is getting to know my students! I am passionate about building meaningful relationships with all my students in order to help them learn, grow and achieve success both in and outside the classroom.

4th Grade Teacher, Ms. Hannah Lodge

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • Being part of a caring, safe, and joyful community is the best part of teaching, and I am excited to be a part of the community at Cedar Riverside Community School. I cannot wait for school to start and create this great atmosphere.
  • What do you love about being a 4th Grade Teacher?
    • My favorite part of being a 4th grade teacher is watching students grow. Whether a student is reading a longer book for the first time, finishing a challenging math problem, or speaking in front of the class, there is always a sense of accomplishment, which is amazing to see and makes teaching rewarding.

 5th Grade Teacher

More Information Coming Soon!


Middle School Math Teacher & K-8 Math Interventionist, Mr. Zach Holman

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I want to help prepare students for academic success in High School and beyond. I am also excited about the opportunity to bring innovation and change to a school with a caring community!
  • What do you love about being a middle school Math Teacher?
    • I love helping kids succeed, and I love the satisfaction and pride that students feel when they master a new concept!

Middle School English and Social Studies Teacher, Mr. David Witkowski

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I want to work at Cedar Riverside Community School because I think it is crucial for students during these formative years to be able to read and express their ideas better. If students can read texts better (like academic texts, cultural and historical artifacts and texts), then they gain a richer context of the world, “reading” the world, shaping it for the better through their thinking, reasoning, speaking, and writing as they become lifelong learners.
  • What do you love about being a middle school English and Social Studies Teacher?
    • There’s a lot of things I love about being a teacher; but the one that stands out most is when a student takes what was learned in class and then connects and applies it to the world outside of school. One example is when I was teaching middle schoolers about the typical plot structure found in many short stories, and a few days later an excited 7th grade boy came into class telling us how it totally worked with the latest “Spider-Man” movie he’d just seen over the weekend!

K-8 Science Teacher, Mr. Shawn Tromiczak

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I want to work at Cedar Riverside Community School because this community is central to what makes Minneapolis special.  The feeling of community and passion for learning about the world around them makes our students and families uniquely qualified to excel in Science exploration.
  • What do you love about being a K-8 Science Teacher?
    • I love learning about, learning from, and learning with all of our students.  It is a privilege for me to guide the entire school as they “Do Science.” Doing Science means our students practice asking questions, have important roles and responsibilities to maximize their learning and their classmates’.  I love watching our students use their inherent gift of curiosity to apply many English, Math and Social Emotional skills every day of the school year.

Special Education Resource Teacher, Ms. Janet Youngers

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I love working at CRCS because we have the best students and families around! The students have such curiosity and passion for learning and the families care so much about their students getting the absolute best education. I also enjoy working with our collaborative team to put students first and to focus on educating the whole child.
  • What do yo love about being a Special Education Teacher?
    • I absolutely love my job! I get to see “lightbulb” moments with students each and every day when something finally clicks. We learn, grow, engage, and have fun together. I enjoy building relationships so that every student knows my classroom is a safe space to come into.

Art & Literacy Intervention Teacher, Ms. Brianna Lee

On leave until 2nd quarter.


Physical Education Teacher & Behavior Interventionist, Ms. Tessa Stener

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I want to work at Cedar Riverside Community School because I want to be a part of a community that strives to help students grow academically, socially and emotionally.
  • What do you love about being a PE Teacher?
    • I love being a Physical Ed teacher because I get to work with all the students in each grade level and get to teach them fun engaging games that will encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle.

Behavior Interventionist, Ms. Kerry Huset

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I like working at CRCS because our students are great and they are always excited to learn new things. I enjoyed watching them grow last year and am excited to see what the next year brings all of them. We also have a great new staff and I am looking forward to working with all of them as we move forward.
  • What do yo love about being a Behavior Interventionist?
    • Last year as a Physical Education Teacher I loved seeing how excited the kids were to come into my class. It was so rewarding to see them grow as the year went on and their love for activity continued through the entire year. As I move to Behavior Interventionist I am excited to be able to help the students in a different way.  I am hoping to continue the positive relationships that I have created with the students to help them stay in class and love learning in all areas of education just like they did in the gym.

English Language Teacher & EL Director, Ms. Priscilla Martinez-Carlos

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I want to work at Cedar Riverside Community School because I want to learn from fellow colleagues and give help to students and families.
  • What do you love about being a EL Teacher?
    • I love working with students (and adults)!

English Language Teacher, Mr. Andrew Graham

  • Why do you want to work at CRCS?
    • I am excited to work with a true community centered school in the heart of Minneapolis!
  • What do you love about being a EL Teacher?
    • I love meeting and connecting with students from all cultures and backgrounds and giving them the tools they need to thrive in the English speaking world.

English Language Teacher, Mr. Andy Unseth

More Information Coming Soon!


K-8 Literacy Intervention Specialist, Ms. Amy Solberg

  • Why do you want to work at Cedar Riverside Community School? 
    • I am so excited to become a part of Cedar-Riverside Community School! I love teaching and supporting students growth and development. I look forward to working with students and families to support the growth of students and meet community needs when I can.
  • What do I love about being a Literacy Intervention Teacher? 
    • I love encouraging and helping students grow in their knowledge of language and words to become their best selves.  I love giving students the tools they need to be successful in school. I love to see my students growing and becoming independent young people! I look forward to working with the staff and families of Cedar Riverside Community School.


Instructional Support Staff


Special Education Paraprofessional, Mr. Jerry Graffunder

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I’ve worked at a lot of schools in the Twin Cities but none of them have as much of a strong sense of community as CRCS. I believe that the opportunity to help build a strong group of individuals doesn’t come around often. I’m looking forward to watching CRCS students soar!
  • What do you love about being a Special Education Paraprofessional?
    • I believe that our current education system is built around teaching more to the group than the individual. As a result students with special needs sometimes have trouble keeping up. By helping them keep up with the academic standard, I hope I can help instill a sense of confidence and pride in them!

Special Education Paraprofessional, Mr. Matt Straumann


Kindergarten Paraprofessional, Mr. Jonathan Saltz


Pre-Kindergarten Paraprofessional, Ms. Marian Hussein


Math Intervention Paraprofessional, Ms. Amal Ismail



Administration/Office Staff


Executive Director, Mr. Bert Strassburg

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • We have the absolute BEST students and families!  CRCS is a cornerstone of the Cedar-Riverside Community and I am proud of our 26 year history.  CRCS has a bright future as we #innovateCRCS!
  • What do yo love about being an Executive Director?
    • I love ensuring that all students are getting the education that they deserve and working directly with our talented and energetic staff to create a learning environment that is welcoming, academically rigorous and brings our students joy!

Director of Teaching & Learning and Technology Teacher, Mr. Max Donsker

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I love working at Cedar Riverside because of the wonderful students we have here at our school!
  • What do yo love about being the Teaching & Learning Director?
    • I love working as Director of Teaching and Learning because it lets me help other teachers become the best teacher they can be!

Social Worker, Ms. Marie Gateley

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I like working at CRCS because of the unique history and even more unique future of this school and these children and families. I am honored to be a small part of their journey.
  • What do yo love about being a School Social Worker?
    • I love being a social worker because it forces me to be aware of my personal biases, thoughts, fears, passions, etc.. and teaches me how to then empathize and assist with the same in others, so that we both fly.

Cultural Liaison & Health Coordinator, Ms. Ayan Jama


Office Manager, Ms. Val Peterson

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • I enjoy working with the different staff, parents and children.
  • What do yo love about being the school’s Office Manager?
    • I love being an Office Manager here because it is very challenging and rewarding.  I get to learn new things on a regular basis!

Administrative Assistant, Ms. Fadli Mohamed

  • Why do you like working at CRCS?
    • Being able to make a connection with parents, students and staff members and feeling as though I have a voice in our school makes me happy to come to work here everyday.
  • What do yo love about being the school’s Administrative Assistant?
    • Smiling, of course. I love being able to provide support and make things a little easier. Also, my traffic control skills come in really handy.


Custodial/Food Service


Lead Custodian, Mr. Pedro Eumana-Olivera


Custodian & Food Service Assistant, Ms. Heriberta Castro


Food Service Assistant, Ms. Faisa Nur


Done Right Catering, Food Service Company