Michael Cary

Michael Cary is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Duluth Public Schools. He has been an educator for 14 years and has served as a teacher, building principal, college program administrator and district office administrator. He holds an undergraduate degree in Biology, a master's degree in teaching and a doctorate degree in school administration and leadership.

Mike is passionate about the outdoors, cooking and video games. He spends much of his outdoor free time hiking, biking, camping and kayaking with his wife and two young children. These outdoor pursuits led him to a side hobby as a published wildlife photographer. When confined indoors, Mike spends his time experimenting in the kitchen, watching movies with his children and playing video games with his son. 


John Pokrzywinski

John teaches 6th grade mathematics at Ordean East Middle School. He is a father of two teenagers and married to MarySue Taallerud who is also a teacher. When their children were small, John and MarySue shared a job for ten years exchanging domestic and professional roles every nine weeks. John and MarySue also taught for two years in Shanghai, China in elementary classrooms at Shanghai American School. John is active in Duluth’s theatre community as an actor and director. He once stalked this very stage as the bloody ghost of Banquo.


Jill Lofald

Jill grew up in Morgan Park, graduated from Esko High School and went to UMD. There she majored in Theater, Communications and English.  Her first love was theater and that was her focus in college in the beginning.  Teaching was encouraged by her advisors Jackson Huntley and Roger Schultz.  She still gives them a lot of credit for pointing out her potential and strengths!

Her first year of teaching was at Barnum High school and then she spent five years in Esko teaching, subbing, directing high school plays and musicals and coaching their speech team.  She starting teaching at Denfeld in the fall of 1984. She has been coaching the Denfeld speech team since 1984, added the East and Central students in 2008, and they now make up the Duluth Speech Team. She has directed over 30 plays and musicals in her thirty-one years at Denfeld.

She has been honored to be awarded the Greg Irons Teaching Award and also represented Denfeld as a Minnesota Teacher of the Year semi-finalist just last year.


Brad Vieths

Brad is the current Vocational Program’s Coordinator for Duluth Public Schools and has dual Masters degrees in Educational Leadership and Experiential Education. He also has teaching degrees in Elementary Education, High School Social Studies and Hospitality/Culinary Arts.  He lives in Duluth with his wife Brenda, daughter Megan, and dog Hunter.  Being a Duluth transplant since 1997, he has found the love of all things Duluth.  His career has taken him from Kindergarten physical education, 5th grade classroom and high school social studies, to stints at charter schools and teaching culinary arts in the area, and from coaching elementary runners to college basketball. 


Joe Schingen

Joe Schingen teaches English at Academic Excellence Online School in the Duluth Public School District where he has been working with students for 16 years. Joe is also an M.Ed Facilitator for St. Mary's University of Minnesota. ​He believes that students should own their learning and teachers should be always improving their craft.  Joe also teaches a course that delves into the very latest research on how the brain learns. Joe asserts that if we want students to learn and retain, we must know about the brain.  Joe is a candidate for the 2016 MN Teacher of the Year award.


Tate Haglund-Pagel

Tate grew up in and around Chester Creek, equally interested in the detritus washed down the streets and in the blue stone tunnels beneath them. Populist idealism, talkativeness, and a knack for last minute strokes of excellence lead him to teach social studies in Superior for eight years.  During that time he got much better at instruction and improvising with computers. Three years ago he became the District of Superior's Instructional Tech Coach. Now he helps teachers, helps students, and argues with IT.


Danielle Magnuson


Danielle is currently a member of the Innovation team for Duluth Public Schools, where she brings great technical expertise to the team. She made Duluth her home in 2012 and appreciates the many outdoor adventure opportunities this area provides. When not at work, you will most likely find Danielle camping, on a mountain bike, or in a kayak which is where she spent eighteen days last summer kayaking and rafting through the Grand Canyon. She lives in Duluth with her fiance, Jeff, and three dogs, Seven, Lukin and Zoey.



Jebeh Edmunds


Jebeh is a wife to Andrew and mother of two wonderful ‘busy’ boys Maxwell (8) and Mateo (5) and a native of Liberia. Jebeh immigrated to the United States with her parents because of a civil conflict in 1982. Jebeh grew up in the twin cities before she made her journey up to Duluth to pursue her first Bachelor’s Degree in Communication at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2002. She took the position of African American Cultural Specialist in 2004 with the Duluth Public School District. Jebeh graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with a BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Communication Arts and Literature and MN K-8 licensure in 2011.  In May of 2015 she received her M.S Teaching Degree from the College of St. Scholastica. Jebeh is currently teaching First Grade at Myers- Wilkins Elementary School. Jebeh has been an active member in the Duluth community teaching African Dance and Hip hop to students all over the district as well as being a key project manager to various community wide events such as Martin Luther King Jr. Rally Program, Kwanzaa, Juneteenth and Celebrate Africa to name a few. Jebeh was the founder of the Ebola Block-Aid initiative that helped bring over 40 cases of medical supplies to various hospitals in her home country. Jebeh’s ultimate dream is to teach all students the importance of tolerance of all cultures and to take pride in one’s own ancestry and challenge her students to go further.



Logan Griggs 


Logan is an 8th grader at Lincoln Park Middle School in Duluth. Two of his favorite school subjects are Orchestra (he plays viola) and Global Studies. He is also involved in Knowledge Bowl and Student Council. Outside of academics, Logan enjoys writing works of fiction and composing classical music. Logan’s other hobbies include downhill skiing and playing the piano.



Ed Lewis


Born in Saigon, South Vietnam, Ed is currently in his fifth year as a math teacher at Denfeld High School and was a math teacher at Central High School for 17 years before that. Ed has lived in Duluth since he was five months old, is a graduate of Duluth Public Schools and UMD. He and his wife have an eight year old daughter and will be celebrating twenty years of marriage this summer.



Helen Mongan-Rallis


Helen Mongan-Rallis is an Associate Professor in the Education Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). Her experiences as a child growing up during the apartheid era in South Africa led her to her decision to become a teacher and then later a teacher educator.   Her 35-year teaching career has been, and continues to be, shaped by her passionate belief in social justice and the importance of education as a tool for empowerment rather than oppression.