Weather Forecast



Pine River-Backus

Starts: Sept. 6 for grades seventh through 12th and Sept. 8 for elementary students. 

Open Houses: 4-8 p.m. Aug. 31 at high school and individual orientation meetings scheduled Sept. 6-7 for elementary students. 

Enrollment: 820 students. 

New administrator: Trent Langemo, high school principal. 

New teachers: Kate Rennicke, special education; Stephanie Nelson, special education; Amy Martinson, special education; and Julie Markwardt, youth and family services worker. 

New programs: New Central Lakes College Community Outreach site located in Pine River for fall 2011 and Project: Pride in Progress — In November the Pine River-Backus School Board will hold a special election in order to get public support for three large facility projects: An Early Childhood Center, athletic space expansion (weight room, wrestling and dance practice areas) and a bus storage garage. 

St. Francis of the Lakes School

Starts: Sept. 6.

Open house: 5-7 p.m. Sept. 1.

Enrollment: 230 students. 

New teachers: Shannon Trout, kindergarten; and Jacob Rath, fourth grade.


Starts: Sept. 6 for first-ninth-grades, Sept. 7 for 10th-12th-grades and Sept. 8 for kindergarten.

Open houses: 5-7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at Motley Elementary and Motley Staples Middle School, 4-5:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Staples Elementary and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Staples Motley High School. 

Enrollment: 1,264 students.

New teachers: Lorna Bendson, high school science teacher; and Kelly Anttilla, middle school special education teacher. 

New administrators: Justin Sperling, principal at Motley Elementary and Motley Staples Middle School; Mike Schmidt, dean of students/activities director, Staples Motley High School. Wadena-Deer Creek

Starts: Sept. 6. 

Open Houses: 6-8 p.m. Aug. 29 for seventh-eighth-graders at Deer Creek School, 4-6 p.m. Aug. 31 for preschool through sixth-grade and ninth-through 12th-grade at Wadena-Deer Creek School. 

Enrollment: 1,035 students.

New teachers: Bethany Danielson, elementary art/technology teacher; Kali Mattiesen, second-grade teacher; Nicole Schumacher, third-grade teacher; Andrew Waldbillig, fourth-grade teacher; Chelsey Weiss, fourth-grade teacher; Zachary Martin, fifth-grade teacher; Jason Mielke, sixth-grade teacher; Cami Oakes, high school special education teacher; and Michael Shrode, STEM teacher. 

New programs: Olweus bullying prevention program for K-12, with a focus on K-8; advisory time for junior high students; a new I-tech teacher at the high school with a push toward engineering/robotics; and the new grades fifth-12th school taking shape and on schedule to open Fall of 2012. 


Starts: Sept. 6.

Open house: 5-7 p.m. Aug. 31 with a free meal of hot dogs, chips and juice.

Enrollment: 775 students.

New administrator: Superintendent Mary Donohue Stetz.

New teachers: Tanya Rensvold, math; Alyssa Lissick, DCD/Special education; Tyna Richter, fourth-grade; Danielle Tesmer, sixth-grade.

New change: School starts at 8:20 a.m. Tuesday through Friday but will have a later start of 8:45 a.m. Mondays so teachers can be involved in professional development throughout the year.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.