Minnetonka Middle School East
With a lifelong love of music, Jen began singing in choirs in 5th grade. She was also a part of all-district choirs; singing has always been her hobby.
Her collegiate studies led her to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she earned a degree in music, with a Minor in Education and Classics in 2010. Her high school director is who inspired her to become a choir director at the high school level. But after spending two years at the elementary level with the Minnewashta choirs, she knew that younger kids were the perfect place for her.
She currently teaches the girls' choirs at Minnetonka Middle School East.
“Working with the middle schoolers, I found my niche."
It was the memorable high school summer music programs at Northwestern University that struck a chord in Aaron. He has musical lineage, in that both his father and grandfather were choir directors in church. But it was his great high school experiences that led him to pursuing it as a career himself.
After studying at St. Olaf and receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree of Music in Music Education, Aaron had the opportunity to complete his student teaching in 2016 under our very own Paula Holmberg, director of Minnetonka High School choirs. The following school year, he joined as the choir director at MME, where he teaches all of the sections of the boys’ choirs, as well as some sections of the 6th grade girls' choir.
He is so happy to be “part of an amazing district where the arts are supported.”
Minnetonka Middle School West
As a former student and Skipper herself, Carol Carlson, has spent many years as part of the Minnetonka School District.
In the early part of her career, she conducted the 9th grade Choristers at Minnetonka High School, before taking a hiatus to raise her children. She returned to teaching in 2007, as part of the Minnetonka Middle School music team, teaching classroom music.
Carol graduated with a BA in Music from Bemidji State University and received her teaching certificate from the University of North Dakota. She earned her Masters from St. Mary's and is licensed in K-12, Vocal and Classroom Music.
Her early love of music can be recalled with the memories she made learning ukulele, singing, and playing the synthesizer in music class at Clear Springs Elementary. In middle school, it became clear to her that her special love was playing the piano and singing, and she got to experience both at MMW. She continued her love and involvement in music throughout her high school career, and has great memories of her time with MHS Choir.
She continues to stay involved with musicals at MHS as a pit and performance pianist.
“I absolutely love it when I see kids realize that they can do it. I love working together with a group of students in order to present a wonderful concert and I love the pride and joy that I see on the kids’ faces after a job well done.”
Jena brings a Bachelor of Science in K-12 Music Education from St. Cloud State University, as well as a Masters in Teaching and Learning for the St. Mary’s University Winona, to her 19 years of teaching at MMW.
She recalls that she grew up always singing and playing piano at both church and at home. It was her Jr. High choir teacher, Ms. Sherman, that she remembers making choir such a fun place to be. Choir was not just about singing, but also about hanging out, and it made her feel as though she found home. It also made her realize that she wanted to be a choir teacher, just like Ms. Sherman!
She gets to do just that with the middle schoolers at West. Behind the piano, fixing and rehearsing, is her favorite place to be.
“I love what I do, pinch me. I get paid to do what I love.”