Meet the new teachers and staff
Mr. Zach Ambroz
By Jason Wessel
There are many fresh faces amongst the New Prague High School faculty, but only one is packing heat: Mr. Ambroz. Ambroz is the new school resource officer (SRO). He follows in the footsteps of seventeen-year long vet Officer Madigan, and he attributes some of his interest in this position to Madigan. Ambroz grew up in New Prague and graduated in 2008, so he was familiar with the ex-SRO. He served in the New Prague Police force and jumped on the opportunity to take over for Madigan when he retired in spring 2019.
Ambroz admits not all that much has changed since he graduated. New Prague’s culture is still alive and well, and he is a byproduct of that; he hunts, fishes, enjoys hockey, and is a Twins fan–and it’s a good year to be one. His connection to New Prague is just one of the ways he’ll make a great addition to NPHS staff, and he’s ready for New Prague to maintain its historic safety. He noted, “Everybody is pretty much as well prepared as they can be.” He understands that each community is unique, and therefore faces different challenges, but “New Prague is as well prepared as any school.”
Ms. Erica Beckius – Language Arts
By Adam Langfield
One of the newest teachers at New Prague is Ms. Erica Beckius, one of many teachers in the language arts department. Although Ms. Beckius is new to the high school, this is her seventh year teaching. She is also very familiar with the district because New Prague High School is where she graduated from in 2008.
Ms. Beckius attended college in Bemidji and later transferred to Mankato State her junior year. When asked how long she knew she wanted to teach, she responded, “Oh gosh, ever since I was five years old I’ve known I wanted to become a teacher.” This passion for teaching grew with her as she got older. Ms. Beckius explained Ms. Bishop was the teacher who inspired her to become a high school language arts teacher.
She is grateful to be back in the district and looks forward to this school year. She says that everyone has been “super nice and helpful!” She also enjoys that the english department holds regular meetings to discuss the curriculum and ensure everyone is on track. As the school year moves on, her goals are to get to know her students better and to be acquainted with the new community. She also wants to take the time to reorganize and relearn the curriculum here at NPHS.
Ms. Andrea Grussendorf – Chemical Health Specialist
By Cole Logelin
This year at New Prague High School, you may have noticed the new addition of staff member and chemical health teacher Ms. Andrea Grussendorf. Grussendorf explained that her job consists of teaching students both about the prevention and effects of substance use. Before coming to New Prague, she worked in Mankato where she attended college, but she wanted to work in a school. Luckily, New Prague happened to have an opening exactly when she needed one. Since being at our school, she said she, “really likes it so far and finds everyone here positive.” Her goal for this year is to become known around the school and implement strategies throughout the year to help students deal with substance use. When not at school, she teaches dance. She also enjoys spending time with her family and being outside. Expect to see more of Grussendorf throughout the year and keep up that positive attitude New Prague.
Mr. Herrmann – Math
By Alyssa Tyson
There are many new teachers this year at New Prague High School. One new teacher is Mr. Eric Herrmann. He teaches geometry and honors algebra II. Herrmann used to work at Richfield High School. In Richfield, the school was built in the 1950s, so one of the differences he’s noticed is the school being newer. He also says there is a difference in the staff. “They do a lot more things together as far as lunch or activities.” When asked his favorite thing about being in New Prague he said, “The kids are great, the teachers are great, and my drive is a lot better.” Herrmann is most looking forward to the activity weeks such as Homecoming and Snoball to see how different it is here in New Prague in comparison to Richfield.
Mr. Kevin Kleiner – Assistant Activities Director
By Ava Hart
Mr. Kleiner is this year’s new Assistant Activities Director. Before coming to New Prague, Kleiner was heavily involved with sports and coaching elsewhere. After graduating from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul with a degree in accounting, he went on to pursue his masters at Bethel, later going on to receive his teacher’s license. Throughout most of his journey, he was coaching football at Northwestern and teaching in various schools. When he saw the opportunity to be in the Athletic Department he took it! Outside of college and career, he spoke a little on his family and hobbies. Kleiner has been married for almost four years and has a 15 month old daughter, Molly. In his spare time, which he mentioned has become nearly nonexistent since having a kid, he enjoys watching the Vikings, grilling, and spending time with family and friends. When asked about what he looks forward to for his first school year at New Prague he said, “I’m taking it all in, and I’m trying to learn the New Prague way first hand.”
Ms. Julie Meier – Spanish
By Annika Honken
Ms. Julie Meier is the newest addition to the Spanish department. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, the New Ulm native originally spent twelve years teaching in Faribault. Meier and her family live in Elko New Market, so New Prague is a lot closer to home. She became interested in teaching because she enjoyed her high school Spanish classes, and she wanted to do something with the language.
She is excited to be at New Prague High School, saying the students are “excited to learn,” and “proud of their school.” Meier’s plans for the school year include getting to know her students and helping them understand Spanish. Outside of school Meier enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her two kids. An interesting fact about her is that she was studying abroad in Spain when they won the World Cup, and she said, “It was fun to experience the joy of the country.” Meier is looking forward to the year ahead, saying she loves, “helping students learn to communicate in the language, and helping them achieve their Spanish goals.”
Ms. Amara Meyer – Physical Education
By Kai Ahrens
Ms. Amara Meyer is a new teacher this year at NPHS. She teaches wellness and physical education, fitness for life, and health and human performance for females. She went to the University of Wisconsin River Falls because she loved the campus and played volleyball and ran track there. She is involved with the school’s volleyball program and coaches the JV team. Meyer became interested in teaching health-related classes because she knows being healthy and active is important in life. She likes to be active and social, and when asked what she would do if she had a free day to do anything, she answered: “go on a bike ride outside.”
Meyer’s goals for herself are to “try new things and adapt new lessons.” Her goals for her students are “to understand how to be the healthiest individuals they can.” Some advice she gives students is, “Enjoy every single part of school and every year, it goes super fast.”
Mr. Roy Mould – Social Studies
By Julia Edwards
Mr. Roy Mould is a new social studies teacher at New Prague High School. He teaches economics, growth of America, modern America, and human geography. Choosing a school to teach at was a difficult task, but he picked New Prague High School for many different reasons. They include being close to his family, knowing that the high school is great academically, and being a great place to work professionally. He loves the kids at New Prague, and he is excited to be able to coach and be part of the community. A few of his goals this year include learning every kid’s name and attending all school events.
His hobbies outside of school include outdoor activities like hiking, boating, and going to the beach, even though he is terrified of sharks. He is very passionate about teaching due to a social studies teacher/mentor he had when he was in school. He wants to be able to give back and influence kids in a good way like his former teacher did for him.
Fellow Social Studies Teacher Nick Bow said of Mould, “Excellent first impression, looking like the favorite rookie!”
Ms. Sara Olson – Language Arts
By Ella Ettlin
Ms. Sarah Olson is new to the language arts department this year. Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, she studied at the University Of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She was drawn to teaching because of her love of people and learning. Her favorite thing about teaching language arts is that reading, writing, and speaking ties into every aspect of one’s life. She and her family moved to New Prague due to the country life aspect. During her first experience with the high school, she recognized how friendly everyone is. Goals she has this year include building relationships with students and getting them all to ten pull-ups. Outside of school, she enjoys gardening, watching her kids play sports, and being very active with skiing and running. A fun fact about her life is that her family has three lambs!