Welcome Fridley High School Alumni!
Thank you for visiting the Fridley Alumni website. We’re so happy you’re here. Check here regularly for upcoming alumni events and more.
Since Fridley High School's inception in 1962, we celebrate decades of Fridley alumni. This page is dedicated to provide our alumni with information about class reunions, the Fridley High School Distinguished Alumni Awards program, as well as current and past distinguished honorees.
Although Fridley High School is not involved in planning class reunions, we are happy to list information or contacts for the reunions. If you would like to post a contact person for your class reunion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click below to view the list of contacts and class reunion dates currently scheduled.
After the gathering, do not forget to send us a group picture of your reunion so we can post it on our Facebook Page and in our newsletter. To share reunion information or to share pictures, please contact: email@example.com
Class Reunion Contacts & Dates
Class of 1962
Contact: John Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reunion website is: www.fridleyclassof1962.net
Class of 1963
See our reunion website: http://www.fridleyclassof1963.org/
Contact: Barbara (Kendrick) Carpenter: email@example.com
Class of 1967
Contact: Rick Pratt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1969
Contact: Steve Chesney at Steven.Chesney@outlook.com
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/324535361328817/
Class of 1971
Contact: Becky Fink at email@example.com or 763-228-3246
50 Year Reunion Information - Saturday, August 28th
Click to view the informational flyer
- 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Meet at the Newly Remodeled Fridley History Center
(Old Hayes School) 611 Mississippi, Fridley
- 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Travel to Fridley High School for a guided tour
- 6:00 p.m. - Forgotten Star Brewery
(Former FMC Site off East River Road) 38 North Stack Drive, Fridley
Class of 1972
Contact: Dawn Price McPherson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1989
Class of 1992
Contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1994
Contact: David Ulrich 612-384-3217 or email@example.com
Class of 1998
Contact: Kelly Manly (Goodnature) firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1999
Contact: Julie (Menard) Schlueter at email@example.com
The Purpose of the Distinguished Alumni Awards program is to honor distinguished alumni, to connect with our past, and to generate interest and support with current students and staff. Distinguished alumni exemplify the spirit of the IB learner characteristics.
Each year, Fridley Public Schools hosts a Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner where Fridley High School graduates are honored under two categories: individually as Distinguished Alumni and collectively as Circle of Excellence group honorees.
Both of these awards are presented to Fridley graduates who, through their excellence and contributions as individuals and as a group, have brought honor to Fridley High School and to their community.
The Distinguished Alumni Award program also helps current Fridley High School students experience a world class community of learners in action. The presence and accomplishments of our alumni helps today's students touch and experience the past and see possible pathways to brighter futures.
Distinguished Alumni Honorees
- 2018 Distinguished Alumni
- 2017 Distinguished Alumni
- 2016 Distinguished Alumni
- 2015 Distinguished Alumni
- 2014 Distinguished Alumni
- 2013 Distinguished Alumni
2018 Distinguished Alumni
Dr. Kenneth Bruder | Class of 1975
Dr. Kenneth Bruder from the Class of 1975 was involved in sports and the arts while a student at Fridley High School. He was on the basketball team, participated in drama and was in both Chamber and Pops Choirs. Bruder said he particularly enjoyed choir, both because of Dave Ryan, the director, and because it allowed him to spend time with his friend, Kim Christenson, who would later become his wife.
It was between his junior and senior years that Bruder was diagnosed with cancer. Because of the major surgery and radiation therapy, he was very ill during his senior year. With his faith, however, he found grace and strength and became determined to persevere in his dream of becoming a surgeon.
Following graduation from Fridley High School, Bruder attended Gustavus Adolphus College, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. From there, he undertook graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Iowa. He received his medical degree from Oral Roberts University’s School of Medicine in Tulsa, Oklahoma, followed by a general surgery residency at the University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. From 1990 to 2002, Bruder served the United States in the Army Reserves Medical Corp.
Bruder first practiced as a general surgeon in Mankato, Minnesota, in 1992. In 1994, the Bruder family moved to Neenah, Wisconsin. He continues to provide comprehensive general surgical services, with an interest in vascular, endocrine and advanced laparoscopic surgery, in nearby Appleton. He is also specially trained to perform robotic surgery and specializes in cancer services and thoracic surgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons.
Bruder has worked with and trained other doctors in Nigeria, Panama and Macedonia. He also hosted two surgeons from Macedonia at his home so they could receive additional training in the United States. He has participated in non-medical missions in Mexico and Costa Rica.
An example of Bruder's compassion for helping others was shown when a patient who had just received surgery was going to be alone for Christmas, recovering in the hospital. Bruder brought his own family to the hospital to sing carols to the patient on Christmas Day, a 100-year old woman.
Bruder shies away from attention to his awards and accolades. He prefers to focus on his family, church activities and working with doctors in poverty-stricken countries.
Today’s students are encouraged by Bruder to never give up on their dreams, just as he never gave up on himself when he suffered illness in high school. He says, “Be prepared to put in the hard work that it takes to accomplish your dreams. Make sure in the mist of that hard work, you find time for fun and friendship.”
Bruder and Kim have been married 39 years and are the proud parents of Josiah, Kendra and Jonah. Between their children and their respective spouses, the Bruders have five grandchildren: Brenton, Jeremy, Aubrey, Sophie, and Hailie.
Bruder is grateful for the supportive and accepting environment of the faculty and classmates at Fridley. He feels the instruction, particularly in math and sciences, prepared him well for his degree in chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus, leading to his path as a doctor.
Joseph Bue | Class of 1999
Joseph Bue from the Class of 1999 was very involved at the high school during his years there. He was a member of National Honor Society, played basketball his freshman year, and was a captain of both the football and baseball teams. His senior year, he was voted most valuable player on the football team and made All Conference.
After graduating, Bue attended the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education. He earned his master’s in education from Saint Mary’s University, and an Education Specialist certificate in principalship from St. Thomas University.
Bue returned to Fridley High School in 2004 as a math teacher, working alongside many of the same teachers who mentored him. He also took up the role of coach, as he worked with students on the football and baseball teams he once captained. While at Fridley, he was one of the first staff members trained for the International Baccalaureate Programme.
In 2008, Bue was welcomed at Roseville Area High School as its new math teacher. During his tenure as a teacher, he also taught English Learner Sheltered Content Mathematics and was an AVID Elective teacher. Bue received additional training in restorative justice and culturally responsive curriculum. In 2013, Fox 9 News presented him with their Top Teacher Award.
This past June, Bue became the Associate Principal at Roseville Area Middle School. While that envelopes a good amount of his time, he also serves as an equity coach and professional learning community lead. He has trained fellow educators in culturally responsive curriculum, AVID, technology integration and instructional strategies. Bue teaches mathematics to Urban Learners–Community Faculty at Metropolitan State’s College of Urban Education.
Bue says the thing he enjoys the most about his career in education is working with young people. His goal as a principal is to motivate as well as educate. He hopes to inspire and coach students and fellow educators to improve their current skills to meet their highest potential.
Regarding Fridley High School, Bue shares that it was a great place to grow up because it had all the opportunities of a suburban school, but with a small town feel. He felt connected to his teachers and knew all his classmates, and enjoyed a deep sense of community in and out of the walls of the schools. His favorite subject was, of course, math, and his favorite teacher was David Loo, English teacher.
Bue married his wife, Jill, in 2005. They have two children: son Troy, who is ten-years old, and daughter Anneke, who is eight.
Bue advises current students to get involved in your school! Find a way to connect with staff, students and activities. It will make your formative years more enjoyable and productive.
Matt Ehling | Class of 1989
Matt Ehling, 1989 graduate of Fridley High School, has been a producer of television documentaries for over two decades. He began his training both in the high school theater’s light booth and working for Fridley Cable Access Channel 33.
Following graduation, Ehling received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University. He set out on an illustrious career that has taken him throughout North America, the Virgin Islands and Cuba.
Ehling’s television work has been seen on PBS. His work has explored diverse life experiences, ranging from police ride alongs with the Baltimore homicide unit, to witnessing the aftermath of 9/11. He has covered a variety of notable events, such as presidential primaries and national political conventions.
Ehling has written both news and opinion pieces since 2007, covering topics from President Obama to the digital culture and its future on American privacy. His writings have also appeared in the Pioneer Press and Twin Cities Daily Planet. He is a frequent panel guest on television and radio stations, and at film festivals. Ehling has served as a guest lecturer on film production for institutions such as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, University of St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where he has also served as an adjunct faculty member.
Since 2013, Ehling has been a partner and treasurer of Twelve Plus Media, a communications company based out of Saint Paul, whose clients include TPT Television, Medtronic, Xcel Energy, the University of Minnesota and the National Geographic Channel.
Based on his career, Ehling has devoted several years of volunteer work toward research, litigation and nonpartisan policy advocacy. His goal is government transparency and accountability. He has had the fortune of working with individuals and lawmakers from across the political spectrum on freedom of information laws, search and seizure policy, surveillance policy, oversight of government spending, and related issues. This work has taken various forms, including deep engagement with open records requests, open records lawsuits involving state and federal agencies, and advocacy at the Minnesota Legislature.
Ehling has been a part of both civil and religious organizations in Saint Paul - from St. Paul Neighborhood Network to Central Presbyterian Church - to help improve community life in the east metro through volunteer activities and charitable work.
In 2012, Ehling was recognized with the coveted John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award. The award is given to those individuals and groups who demonstrate, through expression and action, commitment to the idea that a popular and democratic government can never realize the aspirations of the founding fathers without the participation of an informed electorate.
Ehling and his wife, Cheri, have been married for 17 years. They are the proud parents of 12-year old son Joe.
Looking back on where it began, Ehling recalls his favorites teachers as Duane Georgias, who taught English, and Gary Zehnder, theater director. He views high school as a formative period when a person's understanding of the world is just beginning to solidify.
He advises current Fridley student that a critical trait for success in life is dedication to a cause, tempered by caution and self-examination. These may appear to be at cross-purposes, but their co-existence is essential. Being a zealous advocate for what you want to see happen in the world is necessary to achieving it. Pursuing your aims while watching for one's own errors and faults is necessary to avoid collateral consequences.
Dr. Kendall Heitzman | Class of 1991
Dr. Kendall Heitzman, a 1991 graduate of Fridley High School, has built an impressive career based on his world travels and exploration of other cultures.
Heitzman had grown up in awe of the big theater presentations on the stage of Fridley High School. But by the time he got there, he was doing quick costume changes to play various roles in Little Shop of Horrors because there weren't enough people to play all the parts. During his senior year, he wrote the winter one-act play that was staged.
Heitzman attended the University of Minnesota - Morris, and then Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech for a double-major degree in Theater and English. At Johns Hopkins University, he added a Master of Arts from The Writing Seminars. Heitzman took a master's in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College before going on to Yale University, where he earned a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures.
Over the years, Heitzman has enjoyed teaching and researching at a number of colleges, including Carleton and Macalester in Minnesota, and Nihon and Waseda Universities in Japan. He started learning Japanese when he was 26, and has lived in Japan for about 8 years all together. Along the way, Heitzman studied the Japanese tea ceremony and worked on staff at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, and studied kyogen theater. He is one of the very few foreigners who has been given the chance to perform on the stage of the National Noh Theatre.
At the University of Iowa, Heitzman teaches Japanese literature, film, theater, and translation. Since arriving at the university in 2012, he has been able to bring Japanese novelists, poets, artists, filmmakers, and translators to campus. His students often translate the work of contemporary Japanese writers who stop by the class to answer questions about their stories and perform bilingual readings of the work on campus with the students. Heitzman researches postwar Japanese literature and film, with a particular interest in how World War II is remembered in Japan. He has written articles on contemporary women writers, Japanese travel TV, and parallel-world stories, and has published translations of stories by a number of writers who have come to Iowa City in the last few years. He is currently working on a book about the postwar writer Yasuoka Shotaro, to be published by Vanderbilt University Press.
Heitzman says David Loo's class changed his life, giving him the sense that there were things he needed to learn about the world, but that it wouldn't be easy to get this information out of Loo. "It was remarkable to meet someone who claimed to have wisdom that might or might not see the light of day, depending on whether we were willing to work for it. He would begin a story, abruptly stop, and say, 'Is everyone in here 18? I can't tell you this story if everyone isn't 18,' and of course, half of the class weren't 18 yet, so he stopped telling the story. Heitzman says, “The novels we read inevitably reminded Mr. Loo of his own youth in Northern Minnesota, and although we didn't realize it at the time, what he was implying with his autobiographical asides was, 'How does this relate to your life? What will you do with these stories now that you know them?' Every time I teach a literature class, I channel Mr. Loo.”
He has fond memories of participating in marching band, where he was drum major his senior year. He thought the pep band should play more than just football and basketball games, so they showed up at swim meets and other unlikely places. His favorite Fridley memory (perhaps because he has a son in kindergarten now) is of Miss Sievers bringing her giant pet turtle to Kendall's kindergarten class.
Heitzman met his wife, Yuri, through mutual friends in a small town in Japan they both happened to be visiting at the same time. Their son, Kaoru, is five years old and loves to play the piano, draw, sing, and dance.
Heitzman tells today’s students it is a great thing that Fridley is a more diverse place than it was when he was in the district. “You are fortunate to be able to spend your days with so many different kinds of people with different experiences and different stories to tell. The rewards of spending your time with different kinds of people are innumerable. Be kind to them, and get to know them!”
Allison Johnson Heist | Class of 2003
Allison Johnson Heist, of Fridley High School’s Class of 2003, was as active in a number of activities that benefitted others while a student: National Honor Society, Student Council and Key Club. In addition, she was on the swim team.
Johnson Heist graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in Justice and Peace Studies in 2007. She took part in a Metro Urban Studies Term at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. In addition, Johnson Heist participated in a semester study-abroad program focused on Sustainable Development and Social Change in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. She is currently working toward a master’s in Leadership for Social Transformation from the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
Her experiences led her to work as a community organizer around issues of justice in immigration and housing at the local and national level. Johnson Heist served as campaign manager for Sojourners in Washington, D.C., advocating for just and compassionate reform of our broken immigration system. She led efforts to raise awareness of the issue of housing instability and homelessness as a congregational partnership organizer for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. While at Beacon, she worked alongside faith communities to build support and raise public and private resources to create the first affordable housing development for homeless youth in Edina, called 66 West, which supports 39 young adults in Hennepin County with housing, supportive services, job coaching and life skills.
Today, she is the Senior Program Officer at Headwaters Foundation for Justice, Johnson Heist enjoys making a tangible difference in her community. Every day, she connects with people about their values and talks about how to financially support organizations that are invested in a more equitable and just Minnesota. A few examples include coaching non-profit leaders to be more powerful and effective or facilitating conversations about how to tackle the major injustices that affect our state, like the lack of affordable housing and persistent racial disparities.
Staying true to her commitment to serving others, Johnson Heist is a board member for Resource Generation, Exodus Lending and Trinity Apartments. She has been involved as a Racial Justice Facilitator at the YWCA of Minneapolis and as a Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow with the Minnesota Council on Foundations. She also held a community faculty position with the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs.
Reflecting on her time at Fridley High School, Johnson Heist said she had many opportunities to develop as a young leader. Her passion for making the world a better place was encouraged by teachers and administrators, and she was challenged in and outside the classroom to think critically and to engage with others across lines of difference. She learned her voice mattered and that she could play a role in shaping the future for others if she stepped into her own power. Johnson Heist says Fridley High School taught her the value of community and belonging, which is something she carries into her work and life today.
Her favorite memories of Fridley High School were Homecoming Weeks, including the parades, Powder Puff game, spirit days, football game, and Homecoming dance. And her favorite teacher was the incomparable Ms. Rintala!
Johnson Heist is married to Kevin Heist, and they reside in Minneapolis.
Johnson Heist's advice for current Fridley student is don't be afraid to try something new! Now is the best time to experiment and get out of your comfort zone. Take that art class or join a new sport or club this year. Challenge yourself to do something that seems a little scary. You'll be better for it!
Jeff Seeman | Class of 1981
Jeff Seeman from the Class of 1981 was a noted athlete, participating in varsity football and golf. Perhaps inspired by his own father, Jerry Seeman, who officiated over the NFL gridiron from 1975-2001, he decided to take on officiating roles when he was a junior at Fridley High School. He began with the men’s basketball league games at the middle school, where the teachers would play the police department.
Seeman attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1985. He would begin over 32 years in the financial services industry.
In 1990, missing the action of the field, Seeman began officiating junior college football games. From there, he moved onto working Division 2, then Division 1, match ups. In 1999, he had worked his way into the Big Ten for three seasons.
It was in 2002 that Seeman was invited to join the NFL officiating staff. In the NFL, he has worked in 12 post season assignments, including Super Bowls 44 and 51. He now also works with newer officials to train and develop them, much as his dad did when he began.
The fall of 2018 marks the beginning of his 17th season, all while still holding on to his main career as a financial advisor. He says his work as an investment advisor mirrors football; the financial markets are new and different every single day. As a line judge in the NFL, every play in every game is unique.
Looking back at his days growing up in Fridley, Seeman recalls Mr. Loo’s energy, enthusiasm and humor as meaningful to him. He cites the quality of Fridley education, explaining that of his eight closest friends, only four went to college. The other four have had every bit of success without college based on the schooling they received here.
Seeman and his wife, Colleen, married in 2009 and reside in Chaska. They both can be found frequenting area golf courses, including championship wins at Hazeltine in July of this year.
To today’s students, Seeman says face-to-face interaction skills will impact your trajectory in the long term of your career. Don’t send a text from your office cubicle – go see the person down the hall. So much of communication is lost in texting words versus the inflection of your voice.
2018 Circle of Excellence Award Honoree
The 1985 Fridley High School Baseball Team
The 1985 Baseball Team was selected for the Fridley Circle of Excellence because they exemplify the Fridley Activities Mission “…to inspire and develop excellence.” Perseverance, teamwork, commitment, and passion were some of the character values embodied by this team. They used a season of ups and downs as building blocks to catch fire in the post season and capture the hearts of not only their classmates, but the whole Fridley community. This was Fridley’s first year in the North Suburban Conference and the strength of their conference schedule prepared them for post season play. Fridley ran off a series of victories in the post season to finish their magical season as the 1985 MSHSL State Baseball Class AA Runner-up!
2017 Distinguished Alumni
From top row, l to r: Dino Taronis, John Swanson, Ed Grivna, Jeff Savelkoul; From bottom row, l to r: Heather Peabody, Emily Anderson, Lisa Boxwell; Not pictured is Ken Gilbertson, PhD, in his place is sister Karen Onken, who accepted the award on his behalf.
Fridley Public Schools 2017 Distinguished Alumni honorees (along with their career and community service accomplishments), and Circle of Excellence Award recipient (the cast of "A Company of Wayward Saints") are listed below:
EMILY ANDERSON | Class of 2000, From a young age, Emily Anderson was destined for great things. The Fridley High School Valedictorian of the Class of 2000 was not only a high achieving student, but very involved in activities as well.
While at Fridley, Emily was president of student council and was a member of the National and Hispanic Honor Societies. She was also captain of both basketball and soccer teams, in addition to playing golf. Her favorite high school memories were made on the basketball court, and with many dedicated hours spent there, deep friendships with her teammates were formed.
Because of her positive scholastic experience and gratitude to the dedicated staff, Emily became a teacher. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Social Studies Education and Master’s in Educational Leadership from Bethel University. Emily now teaches at Blaine High School and has become an award-winning teacher of economics. Among her numerous awards throughout her career, Emily was honored in 2014 with the Economic Educator Excellence Award from the Minnesota Council on Economic Education and was also a Top Ten Finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. In the same year, Emily was also awarded the 3M Economic Educator of Excellence Award.
Emily is continuously involved in writing and improving curriculum and has introduced a hybrid economics course that focuses her students on being college and career ready. Following suit of her own teachers at Fridley, she is hoping to be more than a teacher and to help students develop a growth mindset. She loves to show students that she cares about them and loves to help them discover that they can.
Along with her husband, Chad, and four children – Cooper, Riley, Gracie and Paisley – Emily lives in St. Francis, MN. She is the head coach of Moms on the Run - a comprehensive fitness program for women - and has coached Blaine High School students in soccer, skiing, economics challenge and debate. She is also a Home for our Troops Charity Team member and works with the Blaine High School National Honor Society. Most poignant, perhaps, was her involvement with Sarah’s Scholarship, an annual award to a deserving Fridley senior in honor of her cherished friend and classmate, Sarah Evers, who passed away in 2002 from osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
Emily challenges today’s Fridley students to do something every day to make their brains grow. Get out of comfort zones and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Limits are only perceived. Consistent effort leads to success.
LISA BOXWELL | Class of 1977, Lisa Boxwell graduated with honors from Fridley High School in 1977. She took part in concert choir and band, and was a captain of the cheerleading squad. It was her efforts on the field, however, that gained the most recognition.
During her time at Fridley, Lisa was All-Conference in track and field and All-Conference in cross country. While at Fridley, she was such a tremendous competitor, as well as scholar, that she was presented with the Athena Award her senior year.
Lisa began her post-secondary career at Golden Valley Lutheran College, where she immediately set track records in 100-meter hurdles, 300 meters, 400-meter relay and 800-meter medley relay. In 1978, she was named All-American in Track and Field. From there, she established herself as an athlete of distinction at the University of Minnesota, setting more records in 60-meter hurdles, 100-meter hurdles, 800-medley relay and 880 relay. The University named her Athlete of the Year in Track and Field for 1981.
Lisa graduated from the University of Minnesota with a double major in Physical Education and Business. She used this experience as she began working for the Golden Gophers as an assistant coach in recruitment, developing and implementing training programs for Division I hurdlers and high jumpers.
Lisa began a journey in athletics in 1994 with Anoka Ramsey Community College, where she has served as Director of Health and Wellness Center, Athletic Coordinator, Academic Advisor, Athletic Director and in the Academic Support Center.
Lisa has given back to the communities she's served, including such activities as coaching hurdlers, taking part in the baseball booster club at Coon Rapids High School, coaching youth flag football in Fridley and coaching T-ball in Coon Rapids.
In 1991, Lisa was inducted into the University of Minnesota's All Decade Team for Track and Field. Fridley Public Schools later welcomed her to its inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Reflecting back on her Fridley years, Lisa acknowledges that Fridley’s teachers encouraged her to work hard, dream big and never give up. They provided advice that helped her achieve her goals at the collegiate level and develop the skills she still applies in life today.
Lisa has three sons: Tony, Brett and Alex, and two grandsons Calvin and Wesley. All three of her sons followed their mother in becoming tremendous athletes. She is engaged to Charlie Fiedler.
Her advice to Fridley students is to stay positive! Take a deep breath, keep moving forward and don’t look back. Everything is working out for the highest good. Embrace and trust the process.
DR. KEN GILBERTSON, PhD | Class of 1972, While a student at Fridley High School, Dr. Ken Gilbertson was an active athlete, participating in football, swimming and track. It was his work in Brian Ingvalson’s horticulture class, however, that received a good amount of Ken’s interest. Learning about plant life and the environment led Gilbertson to embark on a path of teaching others about and working to protect the natural places on the planet.
In addition to Dr. Gilbertson’s participation in sports and horticulture club, he was a Boy Scout who worked his way up to the top, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in December 1969. Earlier in August 1969, he witnessed a child fall off a dock into 6-foot deep water on Lake One in Ely. Jumping to the rescue, Gilbertson saved the youngster from drowning and was awarded the Honor Medal from the Boy Scouts of America for his heroism.
Dr. Gilbertson attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD), where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 1978, and followed with a Master’s of Education in 1984. Because the Outdoor Education program wasn’t yet designed, Gilbertson created both the undergraduate degree in Environmental and Outdoor Education and Master of Education with a Concentration in Outdoor Education. In addition, he is the founder of the UMD Outdoor Program, a non-academic outdoor education program. They are all now considered some of the leading programs of their kind in the nation. He also developed the first emergency care curriculum leading to an Emergency Medical Technician. Gilbertson earned his PhD in Outdoor Education with a Clinical Counseling emphasis from Ohio State University in 1990. Dr. Gilbertson has worked with Vietnam veterans with PTSD in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and has also been an Outward Bound Instructor, a Wilderness Canoe guide, and a Wilderness Ranger with the United States Forest Services (USFS) in the BWCAW.
Today, Dr. Gilbertson is still at his Alma Mater, the UMD, where he is a professor and Department Head in the Department of Applied Human Sciences. His contributions have led to a host of awards, including the 2014 University of Minnesota President’s Award for Outstanding Service. The book he co-authored, Outdoor Education: Methods and Strategies, is considered by many to be a standard resource on the topic of teaching about the environment. He has published numerous articles and is an international guest speaker.
Besides his wilderness adventures, Dr. Gilbertson has literally traveled around the world. He created a consortium of outdoor educators in the United States, Finland, Turkey, and New Zealand who work together on research and teaching practices. He has also created partnerships with state and national parks to promote environmental literacy.
Dr. Gilbertson has been married to Katie Kyyhkynen over 35 years. In his spare time, Ken enjoys horseback riding and continued wilderness expeditions - having traveled all over North America on wilderness trips. He has also competed in at least 7 Birkebeiner-Kortelopet ski races in Hayward, Wisconsin and in several marathon ski races in Finland and Sweden.
Dr. Gilbertson encourages today’s Fridley students to live their dreams. Whatever it is they want to do, be patient and go for it. And always remember to be kind along the way.
ED GRIVNA | Class of 1974, Ed Grivna has a penchant for combining science, the arts and the gift of volunteering, all of which began as a student in Fridley Public Schools.
Music was a major portion of Ed’s activities at FHS, as he was involved in marching band, pep band, jazz band and pit orchestra. A meaningful moment came in the summer of 1973 when Mr. Grivna received a new (though used) trumpet for his senior year and he was able to finally play his first trumpet parts. But his scientific mind was stimulated, too, with the amateur radio club. Mr. Grivna built his first crystal set radio while in grade school. In high school, he received his novice license to operate an amateur radio and now holds an advanced class license. He also participated in German Club and National Honor Society.
Upon graduation, Ed enrolled at the DeVry Institute in Chicago, where he graduated with an electrical engineering degree in 1977. Coming home to Minnesota, he joined Control Data Corporation, working in its disc drive subsidiary. In November of 1989, he joined forces with Cypress Semiconductor, where he is currently a fellow and senior electrical engineer in the programmable systems division. Very impressively, Ed currently holds 58 United States patents, as well as patents in Brazil, China, South Korea and Europe.
Ed married Sieglinde Nelson, a 1978 graduate of Spring Lake Park High School, in 1982. Together, they raised three daughters: Margaret, Mara and Meridith, and have three grandchildren.
The Grivna’s daughters all attended Champlin Park High School in the Anoka Hennepin District, where they were all involved with music as well, so Ed spent a lot of time at the school watching their performances. He noted there were needs in the music department he could take care of. It began with rebuilding a set of chimes. Then he designed and built a pair of gong stands. Eventually, he was repairing and replacing any assortment of instruments and equipment, including updated stage lighting and sound reinforcement. Due to a generous donation from Ed and Sieglinde, Champlin Park was the first school in the district to offer a world drumming class. Their generosity has spread throughout the district, and even beyond to Blaine, St. Louis Park, Anoka, Andover and Cambridge school districts. Over 200 musical instruments have been donated by the Grivna family.
Mr. Grivna says he appreciates that Fridley gave him a place to focus on math, science and electronics, as well as music. The combination of concrete sciences and creative arts allowed him to do well in engineering in college and later in the industry.
His advice to today’s students is to not be too focused on one area of interest. Get a well-rounded education, especially including creative arts. His ability to go beyond what he has learned and think outside the box, creating something new, is highly valued in the workplace.
HEATHER PEABODY | Class of 1995, Heather Peabody was born to be on stage. When her teacher Ms. Malmberg gave her fifth grade class an assignment to perform an original, five-minute skit about colonial days, Peabody jumped right in. Not only did she write a skit, she cast the entire class in it, designed set pieces, provided costumes and wrote a show that lasted much longer than five minutes. When Malmberg asked after twenty minutes if the “wonderful” play was almost over, Heather replied they were almost to intermission. Ms. Malmberg arranged to have the entire school see Heather’s play.
So began a rich and colorful life as a performer. Heather would go on to act in many productions at Fridley High School, including Phantom of the Opera, Fame, Beauty and the Beast, Bye Bye Birdie and The Wiz. She also participated in choir, band and cheerleading.
In 1999, Heather relocated to New York to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Theater in 2004. While in college, she was an American College Theatre Festival nominee for her role in Nuncrackers and was invited to compete at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Returning home, Heather has performed on the main stage at Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, where she starred as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. She has also appeared in an episode of Law and Order, has be featured in numerous commercials, and even had the opportunity to read for the role of Molly in the CBS show Mike and Molly.
In 2014, Ms. Peabody founded the comedy company The Peabody Players. The group is focused on improving the quality of life through laughter and connection. During the past year, the ensemble has donated performances to the Wright County Crisis Nursery Fundraiser, Family Youth Community Connection Fundraiser and partnered with the Bounce Back Project. They also create team-building workshops that focus on innovation and collaboration, trust and vulnerability and, most importantly, connection and play. The Peabody Players were nominated by the I-94 Chamber of Commerce for the 2017 Innovation Award. Heather also teaches and volunteers at Lundstrum Performing Arts in North Minneapolis, an organization that serves hundreds of students from diverse backgrounds.
When asked her advice to today’s Fridley students, she had five points: Follow your passion, live courageously, don’t compare your journey to those of others, pay attention in school and don’t stop playing!
Heather has been married to husband Christopher for ten years. They are the proud parents of 8 year old daughter Kate.
JEFF SAVELKOUL | Class of 1965, Jeff Savelkoul grew up in Fridley Public Schools. While at Fridley High School, he played football and hockey and built mini bikes in metal shop class.
He graduated from Fridley High School in 1965 and enrolled in college prior to enlisting in the Marines less than a year later. By this time, the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. Jeff trained as a radio and telegraph operator and was assigned top secret crypto clearance based on the typing skills he learned in high school.
Mr. Savelkoul was deployed to Vietnam in January of 1967 where he served as a radio operator for an eight-man reconnaissance team called “Team Striker.” It was on a recon mission in hostile territory where, on June 30, 1967, Team Striker’s helicopter was shot down and erupted into flames. Four members of his squad escaped, but only two survived.
Jeff suffered burns over 65% of his body and was given a 10% chance of survival. He spent three months in a burn unit in Texas before being transferred home to Minnesota, where he would spend 13 months in a recovery unit. He was given medical retirement from the Marines as Lance Corporal.
Jeff married Karen Bjorngjeld (pronounced B-yorn-geld), who he met on the high school football field the first day of ninth grade. He became an electrician for the next 34 years, including over 16 years as owner of a company.
Over the years, Mr. Savelkoul became a licensed pilot and flies his own, private Cesna. He coached youth hockey for six years, and chaired Linwood Township’s Parks Commission. In 1990, he was appointed to the Anoka County Veterans Board, of which he is the current Board Chair. Jeff belongs to nine veterans’ organizations and has held office at the VFW for 37 years. He is the president and secretary of the Alpha Recon Association, the national Vietnam organization.
On August 19, 2004, Jeff was awarded the Bronze Star by Governor Tim Pawlenty. It now rests next to the Bronze Star belonging to his father, a World War II veteran.
In February of 2013, Savelkoul received a phone call informing him that the remains of five Team Striker members, missing for over 46 years, had been recovered and identified. In June of that year, he flew to Hawaii to personally escort the remains of his friend, fellow Marine and team member, Merl Allen, home to Bayfield, Wisconsin and lay him to rest.
Jeff now lives in East Bethel, but also enjoys time at his cabin on Lake Mille Lacs and winters on the Gulf Coast. He is the proud father of three sons: Chris, Mike and Andy, and has two grandchildren: Joshua and Samantha. He devotes his time to American Heroes Outdoors TV and Wounded Warriors Guide Service, with the aim of getting young and old veterans together in the outdoors to share and heal from the physical and emotional wounds of war.
His advice to current students is to remember that what you are learning in school, along with your relationships with teachers and classmates, will shape the rest of your life. Don’t forget to have fun.
JOHN SWANSON | Class of 1975, One Fridley grad has exemplified strong characteristics with the amount of time and work he has put in to benefit Fridley Public Schools’ students.
John Swanson was a fervent athlete in the district, especially in basketball and football. He was particularly drawn to the guidance of coaches Bob O’Neill and Steven George. He also participated in baseball and track, making him a true year-round athlete and competitor.
His intensity from the playing field didn’t stop after graduation in 1975. John became a youth coach while studying at the University of Minnesota. John took over the administration of the younger age leagues and of 7th and 8th grade football when enrollment numbers were in decline, even while working on his bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduating from the U in 1979, Mr. Swanson enrolled in the University’s School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1983, again coaching youth teams along the way.
John became an assistant city attorney for the City of Minneapolis, where he served from 1983 until 1985 when he went into private practice as an attorney and management consultant. He currently represents a variety of small and medium-sized businesses as general counsel on a variety of legal and business related issues. He also represents others on labor relations and collective bargaining issues through the Management Association, Inc.
For 40 years, Mr. Swanson has been a volunteer coach, director and mentor to Fridley youth. He has coached over 600 football games and 1,600 basketball games, many times coaching the children of players he previously coached. He has been the volunteer football coach for Fridley Youth Sports Association since 1976, and the Director of Fridley Youth Football since 1983. He served as assistant basketball coach at Fridley High School from 1985 to 2012, and has been an assistant football coach for the Tigers since 2000. John is dedicated to serving the community he grew up in and still resides in today.
He is the proud father of two daughters: Annie and Kelly, both of whom are Fridley grads. He says the accelerated and advanced classes he was able to take at Fridley Public Schools prepared him very well academically for college. John advises current students to not be afraid to follow their dreams, but recognize that doing so requires passion, focus, discipline and sacrifice.
Mr. Swanson was inducted into the City of Fridley’s Community Hall of Fame in 2015.
DINO TARONIS | Class of 1996, After graduation from Fridley High School, Gino Taronis headed straight to Las Vegas and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Performing Arts Center. He began as a stagehand and worked his way up the ladder, working as a stage manager and lighting designer. Along the way, he had the fortune of working with such noted celebrities as Mandy Patinkin, Rosemary Clooney, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Siegfried and Roy, and many other local and national artists. Earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Design and Technology from UNLV, he worked on over 50 theater and dance productions in a myriad of tech roles. In 2009, he added a Master’s in Education from Walden University and began teaching high school.
Mr. Taronis has taken all he learned from his time in Fridley High School’s auditorium and coupled it with priceless experience on the road and in one of the entertainment meccas to create an unparalleled learning experience. While at Fridley, Dino participated in theater, band, drum line, Key Club, Knowledge Bowl, choir, Student Council, AV Office, Horticulture Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and Distributive Education Clubs of America. He was especially fond of portraying Richie Valens in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story in 1993.
In 2006, Mr. Taronis headed to Gainesville, Georgia where, for three years, he taught theater and technical theater classes at East Hall High School. He was also technical director for the fine arts department, delivering lighting, and sound, set and prop design for every event that took place at the theater.
He returned to Las Vegas in 2009 and since June of that year, has been with the Clark County School District of Las Vegas, teaching theatre, playwriting, technical theatre, fine arts, computer applications, improv and film studies. He also serves as the technical director for the Nevada Thespians Adult State Board.
From his experience as a teacher, he offers three pieces of sage advice to the Fridley students: 1) Take advantage of every opportunity you have and don’t be afraid of who you are; 2) Don’t get addicted to social media; and 3) High school is the only time in your life that allows you to try as many things and activities as you want without having to really worry about things not going right.
2017 CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE AWARD HONOREE
"A COMPANY OF WAYWARD SAINTS"
From l to r: Lisa Nee (Class of 1977), Director Gary Zehnder and Gregory Frankenfield (Class of 1977)
Fridley’s one-act play troupe consisted of sixteen very talented and imaginative actors and crew members, who depicted a traveling company of Commedia dell’arte players in 16th century Italy. As was the tradition at that time, the company performed its improvised comedy with minimal scenery along the streets of the Italian villages & towns, wearing masks and colorful costumes to portray their stock characters.
Staging the play proved to be a very challenging but rewarding task for Fridley’s troupe... The full-length play had to be cut to 35 minutes or less to qualify. Rather than using any scenery at all, the actors used only a trunk and select props to convey their comedy. Stock characters, such as Harlequin (the leader), Scapino (the rascal), Tristano & Isabella (the lovers), needed to be portrayed as authentically as possible for the period. The improvised comedy also needed to have a certain amount of clarity in the midst of chaos.
Rising to meet each of these challenges throughout the rehearsals and regional competition, Fridley’s troupe saved its best performance for last. The cast and crew found a way at state to make a strong emotional connection with the audience, as the troupe depicted a company of wayward performers, who were weary and fractured as a group. There was emotional tension in the theatre as Fridley High School showed this company evolving from its outsized egos and petty squabbles into a company of performers who really cared about each other. The meaning they were trying to convey was apparent to everybody.
For their creativity, perseverance, and achievement, as the first Fridley High School group ever to win the state’s highest drama award, all members of the 1977 One-Act Troupe richly deserve The Circle of Excellence Award.
Greg Frankenfield, David Havlovic, Tresa Sauer (Teresa Jahnke), Lisa (Lund) Laudenslager, Kelly McGaughey, Lisa Nee, Rachel Nee-Hall,
Cindy (Truehl) Croker, Raymond Kent Truehl.
David Anderson, Maria Alm (Ann Haines), Paul Haines, Ann Myers, Gwen Ostlund, Birgit Schjold, Margaret Foss, Student Director
Gary Zehnder, Director.
2016 Distinguished Alumni
Fridley Public Schools 2016 Distinguished Alumni honorees (along with their career and community service accomplishments), and Circle of Excellence Award recipient (Decade of Girls Basketball Excellence) are listed below:
Fridley Public Schools’ 2016 Distinguished Alumni
Row 1, left to right: Patricia Ann (Levendoski) McCormick (1963), Dr. Laura Hosman (1993), Nancy (Swiderski) Keyes (1961), Rev. Dr. Judith Stone (1963). Row 2, left to right: Richard Matthews (1969), Ronald Berglund (1965), Dr. Timothy Johnson (1974), Alison G. Myhra (1978), Dr. Janice Beauduy (1974), and Kent Truehl (1978).
Dr. JANICE E. BEAUDUY, Class of 1974, is currently an MD/licensed psychologist providing individual, family and group therapy as well as yoga and mindfulness classes at the New Ulm Medical Center in New Ulm Minnesota. Her primary area of expertise is working with people who have experienced trauma/chronic pain. In her own words, Beauduy provides compassionate care to help individuals focus on their strengths to optimize outcomes. She has also taught a variety of classes to medical staff, medical students, massage therapy students and the general public. Beauduy has practiced as a family physician in Grand Rapids and Minneapolis in MN, as well as in Woodruff, WI and Frankenmuth, MI. She is a former professor at Rasmussen College, Mankato, and instructor at the Sister Rosalind Schools and Clinics of Massage in Mankato. Beauduy, who is licensed to practice in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, belongs to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Holistic Medical Association, and Yoga Alliance. She considers her greatest accomplishment to be her dedication to her family. She is a member of the Fridley Alumni Choir because of her belief in offering scholarships to students in arts as well as sciences. Beauduy attended Lakeland Medical-Dental Academy where she became a Certified Lab Assistant; the University of Minnesota, Morris, where she received a BA in Biology in 1979; the University of Minnesota School of Medicine where she received an MD in 1984; Mankato State University where she received an MS degree in Community Counseling in 1991; Northwestern School of Homeopathy, Minneapolis, 1998; and attended Sister Rosalind Gefre Schools and Clinics of Massage in Mankato in 2005 and Sun Moon Yoga Studio in 2006. She resides in New Ulm, Minnesota.
RONALD L. BERGLUND, Class of 1965, is currently an Air Compliance Team Lead for Murphy Oil in Houston, Texas. His primary responsibility is obtaining and assuring compliance with air permits for oil wells and production facilities for North American Operations, drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and international operations. He is responsible for evaluating and implementing new technology and approaches for reducing air emissions such as methane and minimizing emission events. Berglund has worked in many positions for organizations in the energy industry that address environmental issues such as EOG Resources in Houston, Texas; Evergreen Energy, LLC in Denver, Colorado; and many others dating back to his first job at Union Carbide. He is a member of the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi and a member of the chemistry honor society Phi Lambda Upsilon. Berglund has been a speaker at the annual meeting of the American Society of Quality Control, was a keynote speaker at the meeting of the National Petroleum Refiners Association, and has many representative publications on the environmental impact of energy use. He has been actively involved in his church wherever he has lived, where he and his wife have taught many classes at their churches and served as leaders in Christian education. They are also actively organizing and running the Texas Marathon. Berglund attended the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology and the University of Washington where he received an MS degree in Chemical Engineering. He currently resides in Kingwood, Texas with his wife and children.
DR. LAURA HOSMAN, Class of 1993, is currently an Assistant Professor of Ethics, Public Policy, and Science and Technology at California Polytechnic State University. Hosman has a joint appointment with the Science, Technology and Society Program and the Department of Political Science. As a professor, Hosman is committed to forming multi-partnered, cross disciplinary teams to realize action-oriented projects that address real-world challenges. She offers life changing opportunities through project-based course work. Specifically, Hosman brings technology into resource-constrained schools around the world, and works to find out what helps or hinders its adoption and use. She has received many fellowships for her global interdisciplinary studies, outstanding faculty awards, as well as awards for various papers and publications. Hosman previously served on the faculty of the University of Southern California; the University of California, Berkeley; and the Illinois Institute of Technology. She has served on many college committees throughout her career and has mentored large numbers of students. Her work always deals with global justice, inequality, and development. She has served on the Executive Board of The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions, a Stockholm-based organization that promotes ICT4D programs in democracy, health, and education and serves as global knowledge broker in this field. Hosman received a BA in Political Science from Wheaton College in 1997; an MA in International Relations and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Amsterdam in 2000; an MA in Economics from the University of Southern California in 2004; and a Ph.D. with distinction in Political Economy and Public Policy from the University of Southern California in 2006. She currently resides in Atascadero, California.
DR. TIMOTHY JOHNSON, Class of 1974, is currently the sole owner as well as a practitioner at the Osceola Veterinary Service in Osceola, Wisconsin. A member of the Academy of Veterinary Scholars, Johnson has special interests in surgery, orthopedics and equine reproduction. He hosts veterinary student interns from all over the nation and provides practice experience externships for veterinary technician students from regional programs to special interests. Johnson’s clinic offers health care for companion animals, equine, dairy, and small animal ruminants and extraordinary pets. He has spent his veterinary career at this clinic, where he became sole owner in 1989. Johnson is a charter member of the Lion’s Club, a board member of the Osceola Medical Center, a board member of the Bank of Osceola, a guest lecturer for animal science and agricultural classes for the Osceola School District, has chaired auditorium design and building committees for the Osceola School District, and is an annual mentor for the CAP program for high school seniors to work in local businesses. Johnson is also involved with the University of Minnesota Alumni Band and the Fridley Alumni Choir. He sponsors a scholarship in his sister’s name for music students studying at the University of Minnesota. Johnson received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 from the University of Minnesota. He currently resides in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin.
NANCY (SWIDERSKI) KEYES, Class of 1961, is a concierge for Cushman and Wakefield/NorthMarq in the Campbell Mithun Tower in downtown Minneapolis. She has worked as a concierge for the past 21 years beginning at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington as well as other corporate settings. Keyes has served many years on the National Concierge Association (NCA) Minnesota Chapter Board of Directors. She earned the status of NCA Certified Concierge in 2003 and has served on various NCA committees over the years, and continues to mentor aspiring concierges who are working on NCA certification. Keyes has also organized volunteer groups for Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, Opportunity Partners, Children’s Cancer Research, Bridges to Learning, The Ordway Circle of Stars, Bridging, the Starkey “So the World May Hear” galas, Courage Kennedy and others. Recently she has served as the Vice-President of the ULLR “Ski for Light” Foundation. The Foundation is the Philanthropic arm of the ULLR “Ski, Bike and Social Club” that raises money for adaptive equipment for children and adults with physical disabilities. Keyes has received many awards such as Best Concierge and Outstanding Concierge Leadership, the NCA-Minnesota Chapter’s Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award, the WCCO radio “Good Neighbor” award, as well as the first ever NCA Volunteer of the Year Award, which included international recognition. She also supports the Fridley Community Theater. Keyes resided in Edina, Minnesota.
RICHARD MATTHEWS, Class of 1969, is President of Matthews Enterprises International (MEI) which encompasses numerous service related small businesses. MEI is an awareness and training company focusing on teaching personality styles through the DISC human behavior model, as a way to reduce stress and increase individual and organizational productivity. MEI has done corporate training with managers in the medical community, realtors, business owners, private companies and numerous schools. Matthews describes himself as an entrepreneur, and his business ventures have been in partnership with his wife, Mary Jane. He and Mary Jane were introduced to a catalog distribution/basic commodity business in 1988. This business grew quickly, and today its service corporation, Alticor/Amway, serves clients internationally. Matthews and Mary Jane were part of a founding team that created International Leadership Development, an educational, training and mentoring affiliate for Alticor. They have presented on private business ownership, free enterprise, personal responsibility and excellence in life, in Australia, New Zealand, and throughout the United States. Prior to being in business, Matthews worked in elementary schools, was a high school counselor, worked at a state mental hospital, and a residential treatment center for court placed males. He has been a founding member of a Crisis Pregnancy Center, a Counselor Advisory Board Member at Saint Cloud State University, and a Chemical Dependency Board Member at Saint Cloud Hospital. Matthews attended five different colleges after high school earning a bachelor’s degree in Special Education, and a master’s degree in Psychology/Counseling with additional certifications as a Chemical Dependency Counselor and Human Behavior Consultant. Matthews lives in Milaca, Minnesota in a 103 year old home that he and his wife completely remodeled. His grown children visit often.
PATRICIA A. (LEVENDOSKI) MCCORMICK, Class of 1963, retired in 2009 after 35 years of service with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Prior to retirement, McCormick was the Secretary to the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Antonio Division. This position was an administrative assistant job with a wide variety of responsibilities that integrated with management of the office. The duties evolved over the years consistent with the growth of the San Antonio office and advancement in technology. McCormick was a part-time member of the FBI Headquarters Inspection Team for eight years. In this position, she made two-week visits to various field offices to insure investigative and office procedures followed the law and procedural guidelines. She spent six weeks in Budapest, Hungary, as well as six week assignments on important cases at FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. McCormick has written two human interest articles that were published in the FBI magazine “The Investigator”. She received several letters of commendation and cash awards based on top performances, and was consistently promoted to the top level of her position. McCormick previously worked for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Bethesda, Maryland, and for the Electronic Security Command, US Air Force in San Antonio, Texas. She has also given time and energy to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, tutored grade school children in reading, and participated in an FBI mentorship program at a public school in a poor neighborhood. She began her career immediately after high school as a stenographer in the FBI Minneapolis Division. McCormick completed eighty five semester hours as an English major at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She resides in San Antonio, Texas.
ALISON MYHRA, Class of 1978, is an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law. Myhra has been Associate Dean since 2014, and has been a Professor of Law since 1991. She was awarded tenure in 1994, and was promoted to full professor in 1999. Her courses include Civil Procedure; Comparative Constitutional Law; Constitutional Law; Criminal Procedure; Externship Class; Jurisprudence. Myhra has taught courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution, bankruptcy, criminal law, freshman seminar, law and psychiatry, legal analysis, research and writing, and privacy law. She was a Visiting Endowed Chair at the University Of Alabama School of Law in the fall of 2012 when she was recruited to teach Criminal Law and Jurisprudence. In 2009 Myhra taught Comparative Constitutional Law at the Vytautas Magnus University Faculty of Law in Kuanas, Lithuania. She has also done Summer Law Institutes at Universidad De Guanajuato, Mexico. Prior to her work as a professor, Myhra worked for several law firms in the Minneapolis area and was a Law Clerk to Honorable Roger J Nierengarten, Minnesota Court of Appeals. Myhra has achieved many awards and recognitions in her distinguished career. In 2010 Judge Robert H Bean Professorship of Law, Nominee; Outstanding Law Review Article for 2009, selected by the Texas Bar Foundation for an article “A Pharmacist’s Duty to Warn in Texas Reconsidered within a National Framework”, and many awards for excellence in teaching. Myhra has served on numerous committees for the University and its Law School. She serves on the Bethpage Charitable Tennis Tournament Committee, Goodwill Industries Volunteer Service Council, is a Charter Member of the Fridley Schools Foundation, and is the recipient of an outstanding service award from the American Cancer Society. She attended the University of North Dakota, graduating with a BA in Political Science, and a B.S.Ed. in Social Science in 1982. Myhra received J.D with Distinction from the University of North Dakota School Of Law in 1985, and graduated with an L.L.M from Harvard Law School in 1991. She resides in Lubbock, Texas.
REV. DR. JUDITH STONE, Class of 1963, is currently a visitation pastor at Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, as well as a chaplain for Heritage of Edina. In her career as a minister, Stone has described church as a place that is willing to help people in need. For her, church is about caring for the homeless and hungry, and doing things to make the world a better place. She has served in churches in Minneapolis, Burnsville, and Cannon Falls, Minnesota; Glenwood, Illinois; Tucson, Arizona; Sun City, and Poway, California. She has travelled to about 40 countries, experiencing the cultures as well as other languages, one of her other interests. She has studied Spanish, Russian, French, Hebrew, Greek and German and is presently studying Swedish at the American Swedish Institute. Stone, who has a lifetime of learning and giving to people in need, has received numerous awards and recognition over the years. Stone received a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish/Linguistics from the University of Minnesota in 1966. She took classes in a Master of Education program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and received a Master of Arts Education from the College of Saint Thomas in 1975. She received a Master of Divinity from Luther Northwestern Seminary in Saint Paul in 1987, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California in 2000. Stone continues to take classes to this day. She resides in Eden Prairie, Minnesota where she remains close to her daughters, grandchildren and family.
KENT RAYMOND TRUEHL, Class of 1978, is a Director if the University of Nations Community Transformation and Development, located in Perth, Australia. Truehl is also a principal for Life Together Development Services where he works as an urban and regional planning consultant assisting organizations with community development, and cross-cultural initiatives in poor communities. He is also an international development consultant who has worked on national projects and programs in southern Asia by finding funding, project design and implementation, and in meeting all donor and government requirements. Truehl is a published author whose recently published book, “Amazon Riverboat Family,” is about the adventures of Truehl and his family while in the Amazon Jungle. He has held positions in the Department of Water for the government of South Australia, and has served as senior policy officer for the assessment of planning policy and other government initiatives against the Objects of the River Murray Act of 2003, and the National Resources Management Act of 2004. Truehl was a training officer for the International Program Officer for World Vision, Australia, an International NGO in JOCUM Brazil, and directed community programs dealing with rural health, and networking and promotion of the church. Truehl has been a guest lecturer at Tabor Bible College and the University of South Australia, and has served as a Board Member for the Australian Refugee Association. He received an AA degree in Music and Political Science from Golden Valley Lutheran College (now Augsburg University) in 1980, and a BA degree in Christian Ministry from the University of the Nations, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in 1997, a graduate diploma in Leadership Development from Azusa Pacific University, Los Angeles, California, and a MS degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of South Australia in 2004. Truehl resides with his family in Belair, South Australia.
2016 CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE AWARD HONOREE
DECADE OF GIRLS BASKETBALL EXCELLENCE
Section Champions: 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997
1990 3rd place, 1997 4th place
2 Miss Minnesota Basketball Finalists
The 2016 Circle of Excellence for Fridley Public Schools is the “Decade of Girls Basketball”: 1988-1997,” represented by (Row 1, left to right): Coach Clyde Riddel, Sandy Nelson, Kim (Carlson) Hoehne, Deedee (Matson) Bossen. (Row 2, left to right): Coach Pat Barrett, Cathy Jacobson, Ann (Schueller) Peiler, Denise (Boser) Girtz, Nicole Johnson Kamp, Kris Traczyk Henry, Tammy Bredahl, Coach Dave Morgan, and Sherry (Earley) Nygren.
Fridley Public Schools 2016 Circle of Excellence Award honors a Decade of Girls Basketball Excellence
The Fridley High School 1988 Girls Basketball team beat the number one ranked team in Minnesota and #15 National team Osseo, in their own gym to start a decade long rivalry. It became the game that everyone in the state who followed girls basketball wanted to see.
The teams played nine consecutive years, the winner reaching the state tournament each year. There were many thrilling finishes with Fridley winning nail biters in 1990 and 1992 and Osseo winning a double overtime heart stopper in 1994 and a game winning basket at the buzzer in 1995.
The largest attendance at the state tournament records were in 1988 and 1990 for the two class system and 20 years later 1997 is still the largest attendance for the 4 class system. These people were the leaders of that excellence that was Fridley Girls Basketball with many teammates also being a special part of that excellence.
2015 Distinguished Alumni
GARY AASEN (1982) has been the Tennis Director of the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, MN since 2003. In this capacity Gary has increased pro retention and quality through job descriptions, training and review process, managed billing with 99% accuracy, created an outstanding service culture, and met members needs in regards to facility, staffing and hours of operation. He sees to it that the Minikahda Club promotes all tennis activities and has quality staff to meet the needs of its members and maintains the club’s budget. Gary is also the head tennis coach of Edina High School where has held this position since 1994. He has coached the team to eight state titles, eight individual titles, and fourteen Conference titles. Since his tenure, he has developed and prepared multiple players for Division I scholarships. Gary has been tennis director at Bearpath Golf and Country Club in Eden Prairie, the head tennis professional at Edina Country Club, and head tennis professional at Northwest Athletic Club/Lifetime Fitness in St, Louis Park, MN, and a professional ski instructor at Buck Hill, MN. Among his many accolades, he has number one rankings as a United States Professional Tennis Association Coach, is a Certified Personal Trainer, was USPTA Coach of the year in 2000, and Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Boys Tennis Coach of the year in 2002 and 2005. Gary often donates tennis lessons to local fund raising charities like Pine Tree Event for Children’s cancer, Children’s Heart link and many others. After graduating from Fridley High School, Gary attended the University of Minnesota where he created his own degree which exists today as “Sport and Exercise Science.” He has a BS in Public Health and a BS in Psychology. Gary resides in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and son.
CAROLYNN JOHNSRUD ANDERSON(1963) spent her career as an educator for the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activities (DODEA). She lived in Europe for five years, the Middle East for ten years (two years as the Personnel Manager for the Prime Minister of Bahrain) and Asia for four years. Carolynn taught history, humanities, art, anthropology, psychology, English and Spanish on the high school and college level. While working Carolynn was involved in many volunteer activities: in Germany she started and coached a Girls Track team at Frankfurt American High School, an Archeology Club for teens and organized visits from local teens to area Bahraini home for disabled children, and served as a Docent and invited guest curator of a major multi-media exhibit to the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Carolynn has received many special awards and bonuses for community activities. In Seattle, Carolynn volunteers at the Seattle Arts Museum, the Burke Museum of the University of Washington, and the Neely Mansion (an historic Victorian Home in Auburn, Washington). Carolynn studied Ikebana in Japan and became a Sogetsu Master. She is an active member of the Ikebana International and Sogetsu community in Seattle. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival for Ikebana International at the Seattle Center. Carolynn lives part time in Costa Rica where she started a “Kits for Kids” project to donate school supplies, books, and clothing and sports equipment. The project is based in Seattle and Carolynn takes supplies twice a year to Costa Rica. After high school Carolynn received a BA in English from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, an AA in Interior Design from University of Anchorage, Alaska, and three Master’s Degrees: MS Education/Administration from the University of Southern California, MA Anthropology Museum Studies from the University of Washington, and MA Art History from the University of Washington. Carolynn currently resides with her husband in Seattle, Washington.
KIM BUTORAC GOOD (1978) is the Founder and President of Premier Charter Network, Inc., a private aircraft charter company dedicated to creating personalized travel solutions for clients. Over the years, Premier Charter Network has achieved unparalleled knowledge in the industry and high recognition for their services. Many clients come by way of referral including Fortune 500 companies, professional and collegiate sports teams, entertainers, heads of state, and wealthy individuals. Kim previously worked for Charter Services Air Charter Broker Sales, and Carlson Marketing Group, a travel company where she gained valuable knowledge and experience. Kim is also the founder of Music of the Heart Nonprofit, an organization she started in 2011. Music of the Heart develops long-term, sustainable instrumental music programs for youth in Haiti with the goal of equipping, empowering and enlightening Haitian youth through music. Music of the Heart utilizes music as a way of fostering hope, discipline, teamwork and learning. The organization also provides support for families with food, medicine, computers and technology, solar energy projects, clean water and outreach programs with Christian fellowship. Students from this program play music for the sick, elderly, disabled, and those in prison. They also make money performing at weddings, funerals and festivals around Haiti. Kim also donates time to an Open Door Ministry in Denver serving the homeless. She is active in Women’s Ministry at Calvary Chapel, Castle Rock. From Fridley High School Kim attended Saint Cloud State University graduating in 1980. She resides in Castle Rock, Colorado with her husband.
DR. KATHRINE DANIELS(1991) is a Family Social Scientist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy where she is accredited as a clinical training supervisor. An expert of family loss and grief counseling, she is also a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling and of the National Council on Family Relations. Dr. Daniels is a clinician in private practice, providing therapeutic services to individuals, couples and families. She provides supervision for those seeking licensure, where she provides supervision for those seeking licensure in Marriage and Family therapy. She is an instructor providing classes at the University Of Minnesota Department Of Family and Social Services doctoral program, and a course instructor at Saint Mary’s University where she is an adjunct assistant professor in the Marriage and Family Master’s Program. Dr. Daniels provides resource education and training regarding family loss and grief. She offers these services to individuals as well as health care providers. Dr. Daniels is an expert witness to assess loss in a particular family which attorneys may use in a legal case. Dr. Daniels has received the Neubeck Award, from the Department of Family Social Science in 2004. She received a University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Block Grant in 2002-2003. She also volunteers at her daughters’ schools in many capacities such as facilitating an advanced math group, supervising field trips and classroom or building parties. After high school Dr. Daniels received a BS from the University of Minnesota in 1995 in Individualized Studies: Family Social Science, Psychology and Spanish. She received a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy in 1999. Dr. Daniels was awarded a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Minnesota in 2004. She resides in Columbia Heights, MN with her husband and children. Her children attend Fridley Schools.
DR. DAVID EITRHEIM (1975) is a Family Physician who has worked for the Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Cedar in Menomonie, Wisconsin since 1987. His responsibilities include emergency room care, clinic practice, hospital rounds, obstetrics, minor surgery, medical student teaching and working at a free clinic. Dr. Eitrheim, who is a fan of rural medicine, was elected president of the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians in November 2014. Although he practiced in a community too large to be called rural, he served as director of the Menomonie Family Medicine Rural Track Training Program. It was a program designed to train medical students in the full scope of family medicine so they would be comfortable practicing in a small rural community. The Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians created a scholarship award called “The David C. Eitrheim, MD Rural Resident Scholarship Award” given annually starting in 2015. The award will be given to a first year resident in a Wisconsin residency program that demonstrates an interest and commitment to rural medicine. Dr. Eitrheim has served on many foundations and boards in the course of his career.
After high school, he attended Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN where he graduated in 1979 with a BA in biology and chemistry. He attended the University of MN Duluth medical school and the University of MN, Minneapolis becoming a medical doctor in 1983. He did his residency in Sioux Falls Family Practice from 1983-1986, and was chief resident from 1985-1986. Dr. Eitrheim has extensive experience in teaching, presenting papers and writing grants. His many volunteer activities include a charity race, bicycle race series and a Menomonie Triathlon. Dr Eitrheim resides in Menomonie, Wisconsin with his family.
DR. TODD JOHNSON (1973) is a dentist in Columbia Heights, MN where he has had a dental practice since 1981. Dr. Johnson’s other business interests include ownership of Fish America Franchise, Bevco Bottling Company, and Serum’s Good Time Emporium in downtown Anoka since 1981. He belongs to the American Dental Association, the Minnesota Dental Association, and the Minneapolis Dental Association. Dr. Johnson is also a member of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, the National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, and Pheasants Forever. Dr. Johnson has coached both youth soccer and basketball, House League and Traveling League ages 4 – 14. He is a charitable contributor to Give Kids a Smile, Catholic Charities, Shriners Hospital, the Animal Humane Society.
Dr. Johnson also donates dental services on a regular basis. He is a man who has worked in and contributed to his community all of his adult life. After high school Todd attended the University of Minnesota, Morris earning a BA in biology and chemistry and graduated with distinction in 1977. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Human Services in 1979. Dr. Johnson received his Doctorate in the School of Dentistry in 1980. He is a lifelong resident of Fridley where he resides today with his wife and daughter. He still holds Fridley Basketball records to this day.
ROBERT POWELL(1959) worked for 34 years as a 5th grade teacher at Mississippi Elementary School in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. As a teacher Bob was an Honor Roll Finalist in the 1983 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota. He is a lifetime member of the National Education Association, Education Minnesota Retired, and Retired Educators Association of Minnesota. Since his retirement in 1999, he has been a substitute teacher in the Anoka Hennepin District. Active in his community, Bob serves as the secretary of the Coon Rapids Scholarship Association, the Coon Rapids Historical Commission, the Anoka County Historical Society, and the Fridley Historical Society. He is a member of the Anoka Kiwanis Club volunteering many hours there and at school functions. Bob has been a railroader all of his life and is a member of the National Railroad Association, Minnesota Transportation Museum, Minnesota Streetcar Museum, St. Croix Railroad and other local railroad clubs. After high school Bob received a degree in Elementary Education, including junior high certification and library science from Saint Cloud State in 1965. He received a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on elementary and secondary remedial reading. Bob resides in Coon Rapids with his wife. They have grown children and grandchildren.
JOLENE ROEHLKEPARTAIN (1980) is the writer and chief executive officer of Ideas to Ink, LLC, in Minneapolis, MN, a business she developed in 1995. Ideas to Ink help writers and develop products, books and websites for publishers, nonprofits, and corporations. Jolene is the author of 32 published books, co-author of 10 books and has had more than 1,000 magazine articles, journal articles, and blogs published. Her best sellers include Fidget Busters, Building Assets Together, and What Young Children Need to Succeed. She is the founder of Children’s Ministry and Adoptive Families magazines. Together they have thousands of subscribers. Jolene has won many writing awards including a National non-fiction Award, a Fiction Writing Grant, Parent’s Choice Award. Prior to this Jolene was Editor in Chief and Director of Publications for Adoptive Families of America Minneapolis from 1991-1995. She also worked as associate editor for Group Publishing in Loveland, Colorado; assistant editor for Maclean Hunter Publishing in Chicago, Illinois; and assistant editor of Curriculum Innovations in Highland Park, Illinois. Jolene volunteers in community organizations, the arts and congregations, including: doing writing workshops at Stevenson Elementary School in Fridley with teacher Nancy Simoneau, speaking in high school classes, singing in the Fridley Alumni Choir, playing flute for worship services at Hennepin United Methodist Church, and leading adult education writing classes at several congregations in the Twin Cities. After high school Jolene attended Saint Olaf College in Northfield, MN where she graduated with a double major in English and “Messages in Media,” a self- designed communications degree. She completed graduate courses as part of the MBA program at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Jolene currently lives in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota with her family.
JAMES SKELLY (1980) is the newly appointed Director of Communications for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the largest school district in the state of Minnesota. Prior to this position, Jim was Communications Manager for Pillsbury United Communities of Minneapolis, where he provided communication and marketing media relations leadership for strategic focused non-profit corporation from 5 community centers and 175 employees. He also served as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for Farmington Area Public Schools from 2011-2014. There he would plan and direct public information and marketing for a growing public school district with over 800 staff and serving 6,700 students. Jim has also been the communications coordinator for the City of Burnsville, MN where he created and coordinated a multi-media communications plan including public relations, advertising, internal communications, website, social media, trade shows and engagement events. He was responsible for budgets totaling $1.1 million, supervised three full time staff and four primary consultants and 12 part time staff. Jim was also public relations coordinator for Northwest Community Television from 1980-1994. He managed a comprehensive communications and public information program for a television entity serving nine northwest Hennepin County suburbs with over 300,000 residents and 50,000 customers. Jim has been awarded the Minnesota School Public Relations “Star Award” for a newsletter publication. He has been recognized by the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators “Best for Least” in marketing, and Local Government Innovations Award for his work in Burnsville, and 3CMA Silver Circle Award. Jim has also served on the Lakeville School Board in many capacities, and has coached and helped many youth teams in the Lakeville area. After high school Jim received a BA in speech communication from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He resides in Lakeville, MN with his wife. They have 2 grown children and one child in college.
2014 Distinguished Alumni
STEVEN D. CARLSON (1968), formed what is now Keystone Wealth Advisors, Inc., a “Registered Investment Advisory Firm” that provides financial and investment planning to wealthy families and company sponsored retirement plans.The company currently has approximately $180 million investments under management for their clients.
In 1977 Steven started Carlson, Poston and Associates Ltd., a CPA firm which was sold in 1995 to Clifton Larson Allen LLP, a large regional CPA firm.Steven has volunteered as a board member for various chambers of commerce, churches, Lions Club and Rotary.In 1977 he co-founded “The Gopher Wrestling Club” a non-profit organization to support amateur wrestling in Minnesota.This organization grew to have an investment account of over $2.5 million.He has also been a volunteer on various University of Minnesota Alumni Association and University of Minnesota Athletics boards.
Steven attended the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, and graduated in 1973 with a degree in Business and Accounting.He received a Master’s Degree in Business Taxation from the same institution in 1987, and is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner and Personal Financial Specialist.Steven and his wife Shiela live in Naples, Florida and spend their summers at their houseboat on the St. Croix River in Stillwater, Minnesota.
CHRIS DAHLQUIST (1981), is a financial planner for Prudential Financial.Since joining Prudential in 1998, Chris has built a practice that specializes in comprehensive personal and business planning.He manages over $100 million for private clients and coordinates employee benefits for over 30 companies ranging from sole proprietors to multi-state corporations.
Prior to his career with Prudential, Chris was a 13 year professional hockey player appearing in 759 games from 1985-1997.His teams included the Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, and Ottawa Senators.He was also a member of the 1991 Stanley Cup finalist Minnesota Northstars.Chris attended Lake Superior State University (LSSU) where he graduated in 1985 with a degree in business administration.
While in college, Chris was captain of the Lakers for three years and in 1985 was named to the NCAA “All Academic Team” and LSSU Athlete of the Year.He was inducted into the LSSU Athletic Hall of Fame.He has been active in coaching youth hockey and is on the board of directors of the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association, a local non-profit organization for retired NHL players.Chris resides in Eden Prairie with his wife of 27 years Jeanie, son Chad and daughter Charly.
RANDAL J. FREITAG (1981), is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Lincoln Financial Group where he provides executive leadership to corporate finance, risk management, treasury, corporate tax, and corporate actuarial, audit and investor relations. He also works closely with senior leaders throughout the company to develop strategies that positively positions the company for the future.
At Lincoln Financial,Randal also served as Chief Risk Officer, Senior Vice-President of Product Risk and Profitability, as well as serving in the corporate actuarial area. He is a Board Member and financial supporter of Philadelphia Futures, an organization that focuses on at-risk youth, and provides support and mentoring to youth in grade 9 through college. Randal has also served as a Board Member for Junior Achievement of Greensboro, is a financial supporter of Greensboro Urban Ministry and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries.
Randal holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Minnesota and is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries. He lives in Devon, Pennsylvania with his daughter Anna and sons, Andrew, Adam and Alex.
WANDA HART (1975), is a top selling realtor for Coldwell Banker Burnett where she has worked since 2003.She has been acknowledged for selling $3,000,000 in one month, for selling one of the top 10 most expensive houses in the Twin Cities in 2013 and is in the International Diamond Society of her company.
Wanda has also worked as a Licensed Customer Service Representative for 29 years in a Farmers Insurance family business, a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines from 2000 to 2007, a self-employed General Contractor for Grand Entrance LLC where she did staging and design work for clients, and a media technology assistant at the Fridley Middle School from 1990-1998. At Fridley Middle School Wanda was instrumental in setting up the new computer network when computers were introduced in classrooms.She was named Employee of the year for Fridley Schools for 1995-1996.
Wanda created and co-produced A Sterling Performance, honoring the 25th anniversary of shows produced on the Fridley Auditorium stage.The production raised over $40,000 for auditorium improvements.Wanda remains a member of the Sterling Scholarship Committee awarding over $50,000 to Fridley students pursuing arts in their college education and is a member of the Fridley Alumni Choir, which raises funds for the Sterling Scholarship.
Wanda has been a board member for Grace Manor Ministries since 1987. The Ministries were started by Wanda’s husband’s great-grandmother as a care facility for aging adults, and currently supports these ministries: Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge; Good News Jail Ministry; the Haiti Teen Challenge; Mom’s Haven of Hope and International Justice Mission which works to combat human trafficking. Wanda attended Bethel University, and has been a Licensed Real Estate Agent since 2003. Wanda lives in Fridley with her family and all her children attended Fridley Schools.
BILL INGALDSON (1975), is an attorney and founding partner of Ingaldson Fitzgerald PC, a law firm he formed in 1994.The firm has six lawyers, a paralegal, an investigator and four other staff members.The firm focuses on civil litigation and is recognized as one of the top litigation firms in Anchorage, Alaska.
Bill’s clients include Northland Insurance Company in St. Paul, MN; Target Corporation; Traveler’s Insurance; Lloyds of London and several national construction companies.He has handled several liability cases against auto manufacturers.Bill assisted a national child safety group in getting legislation changed to make power windows safer in cars.
Bill is most proud of the pro-bono work done by his law firm.Bill was a founding member of a non-profit charitable organization called the Scotty Gomez Foundation.The foundation has raised over one million dollars to enable economically disadvantaged youth to play hockey and has also refurbished hockey rinks with volunteer labor, and materials.Bill’s law firm also sponsors children with special needs from a local high school so they are able to participate in the Challenge Alaska ski program.
Prior to opening his own firm, Bill worked as an assistant District Attorney for the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office from 1983-1988.He spent one year with the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, and then went into private practice with Bliss Riordan, a large Anchorage Law Firm.Bill has also taught trial practice courses for the Alaska Department of Law, has presented at a gathering of International Women Police Officers, and has spoken in criminal justice classes of local high schools.
Bill graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and business and graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983.He lives in Anchorage with his wife and family.
DR. TODD JOHNSON (1976), is the Associate Professor of Global Christianity and the Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) where he researches the status of Christianity and world religions in every culture, language, country and city. He is a visiting Research Fellow at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University. He co-leads the International Religious Demography project and is co-editor of the World Religion Database (Brill 2008).
The World Religion Database provides statistical information on Christianity worldwide. Since 1988, Todd has authored, edited, and contributed to major encyclopedias, atlases, books, and articles. His work has been cited in major media outlets such as the New York Times, the Economist, the BBC, CNN, USA Today, and many others. He has held academic posts at Boston University, Gordon College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston Theological Institute, as well as Visiting Scholar Trinity College, Singapore. Todd has also given many presentations including a paper on “Christianity and Religious Freedom” at a conference in Rome in December 2013 where his group was invited to meet with Pope Francis.
Todd received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development from William Carey International University in 1988. From the same university, he received a Master of Arts degree in International Development with a concentration in history of religions in 1990, and a Ph.D. in International Development concentrating on empirical analysis of Christianity and world religions in 1993. Todd resides in South Hamilton, Massachusetts with his wife and three daughters.
JUSTINE NAGAN (1996),is the Executive Director for Kartemquin Films, a 48 year-old media arts non-profit based in Chicago, IL that creates powerful social issue documentaries. Since becoming executive director in 2008, Justine has made major strides in building the company’s foundation for long-term sustainability and impact. As executive director, she provides strategic leadership and vision in addition to overseeing all aspects of operations.
The Emmy-Award winning Executive Producer also serves as chief board contact and liaison, and is the face of Kartemquin in the community. Justine has held many roles at Kartemquin, including Director of Human Resources and Intern Coordinator, Director of Communications and Distribution, and Board Secretary.
Prior to joining the Kartemquin team, Justine worked at Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin ABC affiliate WKOW-TV, Vitality Media Productions, the University of Chicago Arts and Planning Council, and The History Makers for PBS. Justine graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2000 and received a Masters of Arts degree in Humanities with an emphasis on Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago in 2004.
She attended Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management Executive Education Program in 2013.She is currently an active volunteer in the community for such organizations as The Glass Slipper Project, the Hyde Park Art Center and WTTW. She is on the Advisory Board for Midwest Independent Film Festival, has served on the IFP Chicago Board as an elected member of the Badger Herald Newspaper’s Board, and has acted on several other civic and community committees. Justine resides in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago with her husband Matt, and son Rhett.
DAVID P. NEWMAN (1969), is the President and owner of the Bancor Group, Inc., a residential real estate development company, and was the lead principal in the company that developed Wild Meadows, one of Minnesota’s first conservation developments which has been recognized by the Minnesota Land Trust, and the Sierra Club.
Bancor was also one of the principals in the company that developed Locust Hills as well as being a principal in the company that has partnered with the Carlson Family in developing 480 acres on Halstead Bay on Lake Minnetonka, both of which were recipients of the Excellence in Development Award given by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
Among other positions, Dave was the Managing Partner of the law firm of Herrick & Newman, P.A. He serves as a Board Member to Traditional Capital Bank and has served on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizen’s Board.Dave served eight years on the Fridley School Board and four years as the Chairman of the Fridley Planning Commission.For the last ten years Dave has served as Board Member and Treasurer of Hope Community which is revitalizing the intersection of Portland and Franklin Avenue in the Phillips Neighborhood of south Minneapolis.
Dave joined the Fridley Rotary Club in 1981 where for the last seven years he has chaired an initiative by Rotary District 5960 to develop a new model to alleviate extreme poverty in the developing world. The Board of Rotary International honored him with the “Service above Self” award which is the highest award given by Rotary for volunteer effort.
David received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1973, and received his Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 1978. He lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
ALAN PALMER (1970), is the owner of Gaytee-Palmer Stained Glass of Minneapolis, Minnesota.Alan opened his own stained glass company in 1979.In 2010 he purchased Gaytee Stained Glass, which is the oldest and largest stained glass studio in the Twin Cities. Gaytee Stained Glass was founded in 1918 by Thomas Gaytee, who studied in the Tiffany Studios of New York.Alan is the 4th owner of Gaytee Stained Glass.With this purchase he combined two businesses, now called the Gaytee-Palmer Stained Glass Company, creating one all-encompassing stained glass studio.
The studio provides artistic development and creation as well as restorative work for churches, historical buildings, and private commissions.The company has received significant national recognition and was recently commissioned to fabricate over 80 stained glass windows for a Catholic church being built in Nevada and 60 windows for a local church, St. Charles of Borromeo Catholic Church in St. Anthony, Minnesota.
Alan has also devoted his time as a coach in the Fridley Youth Wrestling Program for 10 years; he was a referee for high school wrestling for 15 years, was a referee at the Minnesota High School State Tournament for 9 years; served on the Fridley United Methodist Church Building Committee, started and ran the University of Minnesota’s Christmas Wrestling Tournament for 20 years; and has been a volunteer at the University of Minnesota’s Golf Tournament for 8 years.Alan was an apprentice in the stain glass business for four years.He resides in Fridley with his wife, has raised 5 children and enjoys his grandchildren as well.
MARIA WALDE-DOUGLAS (1984), graduated from the College of St. Scholastica in 1989 with a degree in Physical Therapy.She is currently a physical therapist at Struthers Parkinson’s Center, a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence.This clinic is part of the Methodist Hospital/Park Nicollet Health Services system.
Maria specializes in assessment and treatment of persons with Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders.She is considered an expert in her field and has given webinar presentations for national organizations such as American Physical Therapy Association, Parkinson Disease Foundation and CurePSP. She co-authored “Fitness Counts” a publication for the National Parkinson Foundation and is a faculty member of their national training program, Allied Team Training for Parkinson.
Maria has developed programs such as Yoga for Parkinson’s and Nordic Walking that have been presented at the World Parkinson Foundation. She has been involved in research on falls prevention in Parkinson’s disease and co-authored an article in Movement Disorders Journal.She has developed curriculum on falls prevention in a training program for long-term care facilities.
Maria is married to a fellow Fridley class of 1984 graduate, Jeff Douglas, who is the national collateral risk manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.They have two children, Madelyn age 17 and Alex age 12.Their family resides in Andover. Maria is active in her church and is involved in leading short-term mission trips to Haiti.
2013 Distinguished Alumni
MICHAEL J. BJERKESETT '65 is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Handicap Housing Institute Incorporated (NHHI), where he supervises a staff of professional, para-professional and clerical employees to provide independent living services for seniors and the mobility impaired. His work involves a thorough understanding of HUD, HHS and Housing Finance Agency programs in order to develop housing alternatives, supervise management of properties, develop and disseminate design expertise, control allocation of funds, develop marketing/management plans, direct research, institute new programs and raise funds for continued operation of NHHI's corporate objectives.
For the past 38 years, NHHI has developed over 15,000 units of specialized housing in 46 buildings spread over seventeen states. The specialized housing provides an alternative to institutionalization for people with severe physical disabilities. Prior to this, Michael worked as a rehabilitation counselor at North Memorial Hospital and was the director of the United Handicap Federation.
Michael has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Southwest State University, the Courage Award from the Courage Center and the WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award. Michael received an Associate Arts degree from Bemidji State University in 1967, a degree in business from Southwest State University in 1971, and became a Community Organizer through the Industrial Areas Foundation Center for Urban Encounter in 1973. His own frustration in finding adequate housing as a handicapped person inspired his life's work. Michael currently resides in New Brighton, Minnesota.
MARK A. HELM '79 is the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Dolese Brothers Company, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Dolese Brothers, a supplier of construction materials including crushed stone, sand, gravel, ready mixed concrete and concrete block, has locations throughout Oklahoma and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The more than a century old privately held company employs 1200 people and is ranked in the top twenty by sales of aggregate and ready mixed concrete in the United States.
Prior to this, Mark was plant manager, area manager and divisional sales manager for Aggregate Industries of Englewood Colorado, a business development manager of CAMAS Inc., Lakewood Colorado, and a senior project engineer for Shiely Company in Eagan, Minnesota. The Dolese Brothers Company is nationally recognized for its quality. Mark is also involved in charity events that give to the community such as raising money for LLS and Diabetes.
Mark completed his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1984, and received a Master's in business engineering from the University of Saint Thomas in 1995. He resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with his wife (the former Roxanne Norton who is also a Fridley graduate). They have two adult children.
CHRIS MEYERS JANDA '83 is the former Vice President of Perioperative Services at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During her nearly five years working in surgery, Chris was accountable for safety, growth, experience and financial performance across three surgical sites for more than 24,000 adult and pediatric patients annually, and managed an annual budget of $100 million.
Prior to this position, Chris was Vice President of Supply Chain for Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, where she redesigned and restructured supply chain operations across five hospitals and drove $22 million in savings for the organization. She has also served in a variety of leadership roles throughout her career including; director of materials management at Allina Health in Minneapolis; business leader of surgical services at United Hospital in St. Paul; and manager of United Center for Breast Care in St. Paul.
Chris has served on many national and local service and leadership committees, and has received numerous awards such as “Person of the Year", from the Journal of Healthcare Contracting, “One of the Top 10 to Watch" in healthcare contracting, as well as being the chair of the Miss Fridley Pageant for six years. Chris is an active volunteer and spends time mentoring emerging leaders.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physiology from the University of Minnesota in 1988, and a Master's Degree in Hospital and Health Care Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1991. Chris resides with her husband and two children in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
GREGORY J. KURR '81 is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kemps LLC, a Minnesota Company that has developed quality dairy products since 1914. Kemps, currently based in Saint Paul, has annual sales of $850 million and employs 1300 people. The company provides its variety of quality dairy products nationally through retail stores and food service networks.
Besides his responsibilities as CEO, Greg serves on the executive board of the Minnesota Grocers Association. He is the past president of the Minnesota Frozen Foods Association and the Association of Manufacturers Representatives. Greg began working for Kemps in 1986 as a sales representative in Northern Minnesota and was promoted to vice-president of sales in 1999.
Greg is active with the American Cancer Society, Kowalski for Kids Foundation, and co-chairs an annual event that benefits the Centracare Health Foundation in support of children diagnosed with cancer. He and his wife reside in Elk River, MN. They have two grown children and are proud grandparents.
ANN HARRIS LEAF '90 is a front- line manager at Potomac Tracon, a radar facility located just outside of DC that deals with air traffic for Washington National, Dulles, Baltimore and Richmond. At Washington National, she is responsible for many VIP movements in a highly secure airspace, in particular presidential and congressional air traffic.
As a front-line manager, Ann manages day to day operations, as well as employee welfare, performance and future goals. Ann has worked for the Federal Aviation Association for the past thirteen years. She was an air traffic controller at Washington National, Midway Air Traffic Control Tower, in Chicago, Illinois, and Palwaukee Air Traffic Control Tower also in Chicago. Ann holds a private pilot license, commercial pilot license, a certificate in instrumental rating and multi-engine rating. She is a mentor for the Air Traffic Leadership Development Program, a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and a Career Day High School Advisor.
Ann attended the University of North Dakota, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Control in 1995. It was through a class in Air Traffic Control that had been added to her program in Aeronautical Studies that she decided to get her degree in air traffic control. Ann lives in Stone Ridge, Virginia with her husband and two children.
STEVEN E. NELSON, '76 a member of the NCAA Management Council, is in his 18th year as Athletics Director at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Nelson also served the NCAA as part of the Ice Hockey Rules Committee (1991-1998), the Men's Ice Hockey Championship Committee (2004-2008), which he chaired in 2008, and the Women's Ice Hockey Championship Committee (2009-2013), which he chaired in 2013.
This is Nelson's second tenure as athletics director, as he previously held the office from 1994-2000, while he was also the men's hockey coach. During that time, Nelson engineered the addition of men's soccer, women's soccer and women's hockey to the Yellowjacket sports. More recently he has overseen a department that has reached the NCAA tournament in three sports (men's hockey, women's hockey and softball) and had national tournament qualifiers in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field.
Nelson spent 14 seasons (1986-2000) as the head men's hockey coach at UW-Superior. As coach, Nelson turned the program into an NCAA Division III powerhouse, winning a conference championship (1994), two conference playoff championships (1994, 1997) and advancing to eight NCAA tournaments, including three appearances in the championship game.
A three-time NCHA and WIAC Coach of the Year, Nelson is the all-time wins leader at UW-Superior and has a career coaching record of 248-168-21. Away from UW-Superior, Nelson spent three years (2000-2003) as the commissioner of the America West Hockey League. Nelson, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, lives in Superior with his wife Amy and their three children.
MICHAEL SCHROER '75 is President and Co-owner of Bob's Produce Ranch of Fridley, Minnesota. Bob's Produce Ranch is a three generation family owned retail store featuring high quality perishable products. Mike has worked at Bob's since he was eight years old when working for his father, who founded Bob's in 1959. Seven years after high school, Mike, along with a cousin and long- time employee took over the business from Mike's father. In 1993, they doubled the size of the current location by remodeling the business and expanding the deli and meat departments.
Prior to taking over Bob's, Mike was an administrator for a machine tool and supply distributor business, and worked at Fridley Cable TV and while in high school, worked at the school's auditorium and athletic department. Bob's Produce Ranch has donated many hours and thousands of dollars to help many causes in the city of Fridley, such as donating cases of peaches to all block parties for Night to Unite.
Mike has maintained a strong presence in the Fridley Community, and gives generously to many causes and programs to help Fridley Public Schools. He has been Vice President of the Fridley Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Key Club Advisory Board, a board member for the Northwest Suburban Integration School District IB Advisory Board, a member and president of the Fridley Schools Foundation and a current member of the Fridley Community Education Advisory Council. Mike resides in Fridley with his wife and two children, who both attended Fridley Public Schools.
JOHN G. STARK, M.D. '67 received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, Chemistry and Asian Studies from Saint Olaf College in 1971, and his MD from the University of Minnesota in 1976. His internship/residency took place at the Hennepin County Medical Center, Veteran's Administration Center and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He received Board Certification from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, Diplomat in 1984, and from Arthroscopy Board of North America, Diplomat in 1989. Dr. Stark resides in Deephaven, Minnesota. He has thirty two years of orthopedic experience.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Stark worked with Saint Paul Bone and Joint Surgeons, and Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children, where he cared for complex foot problems, such as clubfoot, and other types of congenital deformity. He has been an Assistant Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Minnesota, practicing and teaching orthopedic residents and students in the care of low back problems and orthopedic trauma at Regions St. Paul.
Now back in private practice, Dr. Stark specializes in complex low back problems exclusively. He has traveled extensively internationally, instructing in new techniques and diagnostic methods of low back care but particularly in the emerging area of sacroiliac joint problems. He holds over two dozen patents related to systematizing the care and rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries, a Communication System for the rehabilitation data, and sacroiliac joint immobilization, just to name a few. His career has been dedicated to practicing, developing and teaching new methods of difficult low back trauma and other orthopedic injuries, while offering advances in patient education and understanding.
CHERYL TROCKE-FOWLER '85 is the manager of respiratory Care for Children's Hospital and Clinics. Cheryl is responsible for the day to day operations and strategic planning of the Cardio-pulmonary service line in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and peripheral sites. She oversees 257 employees, ten critical care units and the neonatal transport/flight team.
Cheryl previously worked as a Respiratory Care Practitioner for Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury. There she was responsible for providing patient care in all areas of the hospital. She provided ventilator-management, non-inventive ventilation, ABG analysis, oxygen therapy, patient assessment, PFT's and other patient care related duties. She also performed Medicare compliance audits, and assisted in scheduling and ordering supplies. Cheryl is a former Cardiopulmonary Manager at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater. She also collaborated in developing a book for children that explains all aspects of dealing with asthma and respiratory problems.
Cheryl received degrees from the College of Saint Catherine, the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College and Lowthain College. She resides in Fridley with her husband and children.
ROBB WHITTLEF '90 is the creative director for Rochdale Spears, an international home furnishings manufacturer. With offices around the globe, Rochdale Spears is the industry leading supplier to many of America's top designer home brands and retailers. Robb is currently overseeing the Singapore launch of their international distribution platform, a creation of a Los Angeles based “Brand LAB" and the development of design partnerships throughout Europe and Asia.
Robb previously was the Vice President of Marketing, Visual and Advertising for Midwest of Cannon Falls. Through his product visual and print plan he was able to provide major growth making them the premier provider for Christmas and holiday décor. Robb was also part of the cast of HGTV's popular show Decorating Cents, and created innovative yet accessible home accessories and furnishings from cast-offs. Robb began his career in the design arena when he opened his first retail home store at nineteen, growing it from 1000 square feet to 10,000 square feet and counts his parents unwavering support as a foundation for that success.
Robb's products have appeared from mass market retailers to the trendiest of boutiques, including Macy's, Target and Restoration Hardware. He has licensed collections to numerous top wholesale companies including Kurt Adler Inc., Department 56 and Bobo Intriguing Objects. Robb has logged many TV appearances on CBS, Network, as well as Elle Décor and House Beautiful. He was named by Minneapolis and Saint Paul Magazine as the top interior designer of Minnesota. He still owns (with his brother Mike) an interior design firm in Minneapolis and resides in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
2013 Circle of Excellence Award Honoree
Fridley High School Key Club
Key Club International is the oldest and largest service organization for high school students. Fridley High School's award winning Key Club was started by Tom Myra who also became the Club's first faculty advisor. Mary Bowen, who has served as advisor to the Club for the past 23 years recalls that membership has steadily increased from a few dozen students when she first came on board to almost 200 members. The club has also had five advisors to date; Al Farmes, Bruce Messer and Eugenie Burns and current advisors Jessica Baker and Michelle Miner who have been with the Key Club for two years.
Maintaining the Key Club International organization's vision of “caring competent servant leaders transforming communities worldwide," Fridley Key Club community service continues to be an invaluable asset to the Fridley community. This year, the Fridley Key Club reached a milestone accomplishment when it was recognized for the 10th year in a row as a Distinguished Diamond Level, the highest recognition awarded by Key Club International.
Nominate a Distinguished Alumni
Nominate a Distinguished Alumni!
Do you know a Fridley graduate who you feel should be recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award? We are looking for Fridley graduates who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments since graduation, who have contributed to their community, and who exemplify the attributes of our IB Learner Profile - inquirers, caring, principled, knowledgeable, balanced, risk takers, open minded, communicators, reflective, thinkers. They must have graduated at least 15 years ago.
Click here for the nomination form
Criteria for Circle of Excellence Award
Criteria for Distinguished Alumni Award
Please send form and nominee's resume to Lori Andler at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fridley Public Schools, 6000 West Moore Lake Drive, Fridley, MN 55432. Please contact Lori at 763-502-5002 if you have any questions.
For more information about the Alumni Association or to share information please contact: email@example.com or (763) 634-1501
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST
Fridley Alumni & Supporter Signup
Sign up here to receive more information on a variety of programs, scholarships and opportunities for students, educators and alumni that are a part of the Fridley Schools Foundation!
We invite our alumni to stay involved in our Fridley Public Schools community!
Join the Fridley Schools Foundation
The Fridley School Foundation is an independent 501c3 nonprofit. We support the mission of the Fridley Public Schools, by enriching educational opportunities throughout the school district. Learn more about the Foundation
Shop through Amazon Smile and donate to the Foundation
Shopping on the web? If you are shopping on Amazon, you can support the Foundation and our program. Click through this Amazon Smile link and a donation will be made to the Fridley Schools Foundation!
Establish a Student Scholarship
Many Fridley alumni have contributed and established scholarships to support the educational goals of Fridley High School students. Learn more about establishing a scholarship
Attend the annual Black & Gold Gala
The Foundation's largest fundraising event of the year is the Black & Gold Gala. Each January, hundreds of Fridley staff, community members and alumni attend the gala for an evening that raises funds to benefit students throughout the district. Join the Foundation mailing list for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org