Northland Pines School District (NPSD) has 11 new staff members this fall, including several teachers, a variety of specialists and counselors, paraprofessionals and one secretary.

All students in the NPSD started school last Tuesday and Wednesday.

This is the third year that the Northland Pines Middle School and High School are in the same building, and kindergarten through sixth-grade students are in the elementary school buildings at Eagle River, Land O’ Lakes and St. Germain.

The following is a list of the new teachers and other staff in the school district.

Marcus Kral

Marcus Kral is a third-grade teacher at Eagle River Elementary School (ERES).

He is a graduate of Three Lakes High School. He attended UW-Stevens Point earning a degree in elementary education with a math emphasis.

Kral taught at Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School in Minocqua for one year, teaching sixth-grade math, science and social studies. He spent the last five years in Crandon, teaching kindergarten for two years and then second grade for three years.

“I am in the process of getting my Reading 316 license. I want to be able to improve my teaching in reading for my students,” said Kral.

Kral lives in Sugar Camp near his parents and two older brothers.

“I enjoy playing different sports, including softball, volleyball, basketball and soccer. I spent a lot of my time this summer out on the lake, relaxing on the pontoon, and hanging out with my family and friends,” said Kral.

Sarah Leckel

Sarah Leckel is a mathematics teacher at Northland Pines High School and SOAR High School. 

She received her high school diploma from Spooner High School, a bachelor of science in mathematics education from Indiana Wesleyan University, and has a post-baccalaureate certificate in mathematics excellence in the common core from Northcentral University. 

Her teaching experience includes two years of substitute teaching in Spooner, Shell Lake and Barron school districts, and 11 years of teaching mathematics at Winter High School.

Leckel likes to read, watch movies, play games and relax in general. 

“However, I also love to learn new things and skills. I enjoy everything from cake decorating and scrapbooking to knitting and sewing. I am not very competitive or driven to master anything, everything is simply just for fun,” said Leckel. 


Nicole Garrison

Nicole Garrison is the family and consumer science teacher at the middle and high school.

She has a bachelor’s degree in health sciences/nutrition science and an associate degree in  applied science/culinary arts.

She previously worked in  the fields of agriculture, food service, health care, hospitality, management and marketing.

Garrison also is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer since 2017. 

“My goal is to become a better person each day and influence those around me to do the same,” she said.

Garrison recently celebrated her 10th anniversary with her husband, Adam.  Her interests revolve around being outdoors, animals, food and crafts.

Scott McKenzie

Scott McKenzie is a special-education teacher at  ERES.

He has a bachelor of science degree in psychology from UW-Stevens Point and is finishing his master of education in January of 2020.

McKenzie was a special-education paraprofessional at Stevens Point area schools from 2016-’19, and mentored children with disabilities in the community at Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic from 2017-’18.

“My goal is to help students become a better version of themselves, become lifelong learners and acquire the skills to be successful in life,” said McKenzie.

McKenzie’s mother and father live in Monico and his brother lives in Rhinelander. 

He enjoys reading, geocaching, hiking and playing board games with his family and friends. He also is interested in psychology, neuroscience, physics and computers.

Sadie Bognar

Sadie Bognar is the speech language pathologist teacher for prekindergarten through first grades at ERES and St. Germain Elementary School and  Montessori Learning Center.

She has a bachelor of science degree in communication sciences and disorders from UW-Eau Claire and a master of science in speech language pathology from UW-Stevens Point.

She previously was a pediatric outpatient speech language pathologist at CI Pediatric Therapy Centers in Madison.

“I started my career at an outpatient clinic in Madison. My husband and I relocated back to the North Woods last year — we are both originally from Rhinelander — and during that time I worked a variety of contract positions in my field, including tele-therapy, nonprofit outpatient pediatrics and a long-term speech and language pathology substitute position with the district. I am so excited to be on full time with the district this year,” said Bognar.

She lives in Arbor Vitae with her husband, Andy.

When she is not in the classroom, Bognar enjoys hiking, biking, traveling, cooking, reading, yoga, cross-country skiing, and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Kristen Yeager

Kristen Yeager is a school counselor at ERES.

She has a master of arts in school counseling from Lakeland University, and a bachelor of science in physical science education and history teaching from UW-Eau Claire.

“This is my first position as a school counselor, having graduated this summer. I am excited to be back in the North Woods,” said Yeager.

She taught for four years in rural districts around Wisconsin and spent two years in AmeriCorps as a part of Volunteer Wisconsin. 

Yeager enjoys cross-country skiing, board games, crocheting and gardening and is a Packers fan.

Jolene Fink

Jolene Fink teaches early childhood in the special-education department at ERES.

She attended Mid-State Technical College for early childhood, and UW-Stevens Point for early childhood and early childhood special education.

Her experience includes  five years in early childhood and early childhood special education, and six years in preschool and Head Start.

“I have a special interest in the social-emotional well-being of all students,” said Fink.

She is married and lives in Three Lakes with her husband, daughter and son. She enjoys fishing and reading.

Michelle Paape

Michelle Paape is a paraprofessional in the Eagle’s Nest (formerly known as the Reset/Restore Room) at ERES.

She graduated from Freedom High School and has a bachelor of science in elementary education/special education from UW-Stevens Point.

She was a middle school teacher for grades five through eight at St. Nicholas Catholic School for five years, and religious education coordinator/youth group coordinator at St. Nicholas Parish for two years. 

“My career goal for this year is to incorporate restorative practices into the Eagle’s Nest. My long-term career goal is to get my master’s in administration or guidance,” said Paape.

She has been married to Eric for five years and they live in St. Germain. They have two sons, Eddie, 6, and Will, 5, who attend St. Germain Elementary School. 

“I love spending time with my family. We like to go camping, take the boat out on the lake, go fishing in the canoe, go for bike rides, go mini-golfing, stop for ice cream, and play board games and Yoshi or Mario Party with my boys. I also enjoy reading books and doing morning yoga when I have time. I also have an essential oils hobby and like creating my own natural products,” said Paape.

Jaclyn Halsey

Jaclyn Halsey is a paraprofessional at the middle school in the special-education department.

A UW-Oshkosh alumni, Halsey and her husband   own Halsey’s Fab Shop. Prior to that she worked in probation/corrections as well as military police work while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

Halsey lives in Eagle River with her husband, Ryan, and two children, Kayden “Bubba” and Jayne. 

“I love running marathons and triathlons, as well as coaching basketball in our school district. A perfect vacation for us is spending time up at Camp Landlock (deer camp) with our entire family,” said Halsey.

A.J. Becker

A.J. Becker is a special-education paraprofessional at ERES.

His formal education was at UW-La Crosse and he  previously worked Camp Phil­lips as a scout reservations program director at the Boys and Girls Club.

Becker said he is aspiring to be a camp director. He has three sisters. His hobbies include basketball, camping and watching the Packers, Bucks, Badgers and Brewers.

Tina Thornton

Tina Thornton is a secretary at ERES.

She graduated from Evansville High School and has an associate degree in  accounting from Blackhawk Technical College in Janes­ville.

Thornton worked as the counseling office secretary at Evansville High School for the last 26 years. Prior to that, she worked in accounting at an insurance company and also ran her own in-home day care for a while.

“It was fun to work in the same high school in which I graduated from, even working alongside a couple of my former teachers who then became friends,” said Thornton.

Thornton has two daughters. Emily is a graphic designer and lives in Waukesha, and Tess is a teacher and lives in Dubuque, Iowa. She also has three adult stepchildren and two stepgrandsons. 

“My family and I have always loved camping in the North Woods, so it was a dream fulfilled when we finally purchased a lake home and moved up here permanently. I love to fish, kayak, ride ATVs, bike, take long walks with my pups, take photographs, snowshoe, read, watch movies and just spend quality time with my family and friends,” said Thornton.