Hi, I’m McKensie Schwanke the new St. John’s Grandkids & VIK Club Director. I was born and raised here in Springfield. After graduating from SHS in 2017, I went on to earn my AAS degree in Early Childhood Education at LATI in Watertown SD, and graduated in 2019. Following college graduation, I worked at Cougar Cub Childcare in Franklin MN as the lead toddler teacher until February 2021 and accepted my position as director here at St. John’s in September 2021. I am the youngest of 4 and an aunt of 6, my niece and nephews are the reason I choose the carrier path I did as well. I really enjoy watching children grow and play and see how much they change along the way! A little more about me, I bought a house here in Springfield in January of 2020 and welcomed my son Baylor Schwanke in November of 2020. I enjoy playing, watching, and coaching volleyball to girls of all ages. I also enjoy doing photography but most of all I enjoy spending endless time with my family.
My name is Shandel Sell. After graduating high school from the Comfrey Public School, I went on to earn a degree in Child Development through SCTC-Mankato in 2005. I worked for 3 years in the Comfrey daycare before starting at grandkids in May of 2007. My husband Josh and I have two children; Colten and Kinsley. I enjoy 4-wheeling and spending time with family and friends.
Hello, My Name is Lisa Anderson, and my mission is to instill a love for learning in my students. Teaching is an absolute passion of mine! I graduated from MSU in Mankato with a 4 degree in Elementary Education. I was a teacher at Kids X-Cel Center in New Ulm for 8 years before I took the job as the preschool teacher here at St. John’s Grandkids in November of 2016. I set individual goals for my students to get them ready for kindergarten, and love to see the progress they make. A little more about me, I am married and have 2 beautiful children. I love to sip tea while reading any book written by Nora Roberts. Most of all, I love taking walks with my family.
My name is Brittany (Brit) Bierl and I am a teacher here at St. John’s Grandkids. I’m originally from Sanborn, MN, and graduated from Red Rock Central in 2017. I started in here in May of 2021 and love getting to know all of the staff, children, and their families here. My goal is to create a safe and fun learning environment for all the children who come here! Before moving back home from Mankato, I worked in a childcare center there for 2 years and also nannied for a few families while there. I am currently finishing my Early Childhood bachelor’s degree through Winona State University online and will graduate in May! I now live with my boyfriend, Cole, of 5 years in the country near Sanborn. I love online shopping, organizing, watching TV shows, listening to music, and being with friends and family! The most exciting thing about working here has always been and will continue to get to know the families of the children- it’s such a small world and you learn lots of things you’d never guess!
Hello, my name is Abigail Walter. I have 2 sons Cooper who is 8 years old and Chase who is 3 years old. I also just recently got engaged to Tyler Braulick and will be getting married in September of 2023. My family and I love to go camping, we love farming, playing outside, and spending time with family. We live on a farm outside of Sleepy Eye and raise our own cattle. We also have 5 dogs Willow, Ringo, Buzz, Hanky and Buddy along with 1 rabbit named Thumper and 1 pet cow named Spud. I graduated from Sleepy Eye Public School in 2012 and went straight into college at Rasmussen in Mankato that year and got my associates degree in Early Childhood Education in 2015. I am currently going to college now online for my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. I have been a lead teacher for 5 plus years in various different age groups. I was also a nanny for 2 years and a receptionist/ office assistant for 2 years. The most rewarding part of being a part of Grandkids and V.I.K. Club is getting to work with all the kids and watching them grow and learn everyday, also seeing them interact with the grandparents here at St. John’s along with getting to work with this wonderful staff. I am most excited to see the children and residents together more and more!
My name is Samantha Tomschin. I started working at Grandkids/VIK in 2018 as a teacher’s aide, and now I am a teacher’s assistant. I live on a farm outside of Springfield with my husband Aaron and our cat Pebbles. I like spending my free time working in my flower and vegetable garden. I also enjoy doing word find puzzles, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Hey, I am Josephine (Josie) Suess and I am 16 years old-the oldest of 5 kids. I live here in Springfield and I am a junior at SHS. I grew up mainly in Mankato but moved to Springfield in 2018 to live with my grandparents. Before St. John’s Circle of Care, I worked at Springfield Market in the deli. With my job, I grew to love meeting new people and becoming friends with my co-workers. At St. John’s I work in both the daycare and in the nursing home in the activities department. I not only get to meet new kids but also staff, parents, nurses, and residents. I would say the most rewarding part of working with the children is seeing all the kids and all of their very different personalities. Being a part of these kids’ lives every day puts a smile on my face every time. My favorite hobbies include cosmetology. I love doing hair, make-up, and nails. I also enjoy snowboarding during the winter and I enjoy spending time with my family. I was excited to join this community as I am excited to meet new people. I love being able to put a smile on the kids’ faces. Working here is 100% rewarding!!
My name is Maddie (Maddie) Stremcha. I work in the business office at St. John’s and substitute in the daycare. I went to high school in St. James and received my associate’s degree in Health Information Technology from Rasmussen College. I have loved working with children, starting with babysitting through high school. I spent a lot of time helping out whenever needed and babysitting our family friends’ newborn triplets and their 2 ½ year old brother when I was 13 years old and continued to stay active in their lives as they grew up. My husband Joe and I have lived in Springfield since November 2018. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, family, and niece and nephew, reading, shopping, and going for walks.
Hi, my name is Katie Bedner I am 27 years old. After graduating from MCC high school. I went on to Minnesota West Community & Technical College In Worthington where I took my Generals and Child Development classes while deciding on which direction I wanted my career to go! From there I had planned to head to SMSU to earn my teaching degree when I decided to take some time off and save up some money to continue my education. I worked at jackpot junction form 2015 to 2021 during this time I welcomed my first son Maverick in May of 2017 and my second son Wyatt in October of 2019. I took a Teaching position at Little Sprouts Learning Center in Sleepy Eye in January of 2021 where I taught the Preschool class. My time at Little Sprouts helped me grow as a teacher and pushed me to decide to start college again online in August of 2021 at Iowa Lakes to finish my degree to become a Elementary Teacher. I decided to to accept a position at Grandkids and started on February 3rd. I am very excited to get to know the children and families along with helping the children grow and learn! I am also very excited for summer time and getting to help with outdoor activities and field trips! Some of my favorite things to do outside of work are spending quality time with my family and friends, my 3 dogs and 1 cat, going four wheeling, camping, snowmobiling, having grill outs, swimming, and overall just being outside! I also love to color, do crafts, along with teaching my kids their shapes, colors, and numbers.
Hi, I’m Dlisha Callanan. I live in Comfrey with my husband and our two children. Tyler is 12 and Kylie is 8. I also have a house full of fun loving pets to complete our family unit, 2 dogs, three cats and a bearded dragon to be exact. As a family we enjoy board games, adventures outside and a little bit of travel. My children are active in Springfield Football and Just for Kix dance. I have had 3 years experience working for the Comfrey Public School Daycare. The daycare was all ages from infant to school age but I mainly worked with the toddlers and infants. I feel blessed too have learned so many valuable things while there. With some more time on the job I hope to become a lead teacher here at St. John’s. Before St. John’s Grandkids I worked here in the laundry department where I started in August. I will still fill in as needed there. The most rewarding part of being apart of Grandkids & V.I.K. Club it getting to meet all the new faces here in the daycare. Children are our most precious gift and I love helping them and watching them grow into wonderful people. I am very much looking forward to being actively involved in their lives while here at Grandkids!