Welcome to our new faculty and staff
The beginning of the school year not only included the return of students to campus but also welcoming new faculty and staff to our community. Take a moment to get to know some of the new faces on campus:
Mardryka Adzick ’14, Lower School Teaching Assistant, has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Bennington College. She has over five years of experience working with young children in various educational settings including Breck Summer Programs, CTC's Neighborhood Bridges program, and Fraser School. She is excited to be back at Breck to learn more about Teaching for All Kinds of Minds with the Peter Clark Center for Mind, Brain, and Education, and applying it to her work with preschoolers.
Anu Dean, Upper School History Instructor, is excited to be back in Minnesota for the first time in 17 years. She is originally adopted from India and grew up in Roseville in a Swedish-American home. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bethel University and moved to Philadelphia after college. She spent 12 years in Philly where she worked as a teacher and a geriatric Social Worker. During her time there, she earned her Masters Degree from Eastern University. She then moved to Morocco for three years and South Korea for two years where she taught high school history. She is happy to have the chance to get to know Minnesota again and be at a school that values community.
Joseph (Judd) Garbina III, Ice Arena Manager, holds a B.S. from the University of Minnesota in Park and Recreation Administration. Judd comes to Breck after spending nearly 20 years at the Bloomington Ice Garden ending his time there as Assistant Arena Manager/Maintenance Superintendent. When Judd isn’t on the ice you can find him on skis! In the summer he loves to slalom water ski and in the winter he takes to two skis and heads downhill.
Katherine (Kati) Kragtorp, Upper School Science Instructor, will be teaching Chemistry and Advanced Science Research. Dr. Kragtorp holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Jamestown College (now Jamestown University) and a doctorate in Molecular and Environmental Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She spent four years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota and has taught a wide variety of Biology courses over the past eleven years at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. When Kati isn’t in the classroom or research lab, you can find her singing with Hymnus, a small choral ensemble, or gardening with native plants.
DeRick O’Connell earned his B.S. in Exercise Science from the Minnesota School of Business. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Human Performance with a minor in Injury Prevention and Exercise Rehabilitation from the California University of Pennsylvania. He also holds several continuing education certifications. Prior to coming to Breck, DeRick worked for Wayzata High School, Holy Family, and the University of Minnesota before moving east and working in a partnership between the New York Giants and Hackensack University Medical Center. After, he worked privately with collegiate and professional athletes, primarily hockey and combat athletes. DeRick recently moved back to Minnesota and now works with the Sports Science program at the University of Minnesota as well as Breck Athletics. DeRick is looking forward to building a culture of training at Breck and increasing preventative exercise for all students.
Rebekah (Becky) Orpen, Health and Wellness Coordinator, earned her license as a Registered Nurse from the University of Minnesota. She also has her Public Health Nurse Certificate and is a Licensed School Nurse. She has over ten years of nursing experience within a range of fields, including school nursing, mental health, eating disorders, and public health. Becky loves to run and bike as well as cooking and spending time with her two very active boys and husband. Fun fact! She is an identical triplet and enjoys spending time with their families.
Elizabeth Pabst, Associate Director of College Counseling, earned her B.A. at Boston College and M.A. at the University of Chicago. Most recently, she served as Associate Director of College Counseling at The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts; previously she was a college counselor at Saint Joseph Preparatory High School in Boston. Before coming to the high school side, she worked in undergraduate admissions at Boston University and Harvard College. Elizabeth enjoys spending time on the water and is happy to be back home in Minnesota. This year she is excited to help students land at a college where they will thrive both personally and academically. It's all about finding the right match!
Rachel Paddock, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant, is a graduate of Creighton University and holds a B.S. in Elementary Education. She was previously a second-grade teacher at a charter school in North Minneapolis and has worked in an early childhood education setting for the past 5 years. Rachel is excited to learn and grow as an educator in the kindergarten classroom.
Clay Pufahl, Middle School Band Assistant, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has resided in the Minneapolis area for the last 20 years. He has maintained an active schedule as a woodwind performer and educator. Prior to coming to Breck, Clay held the position of Woodwind Instructor and Band Assistant at Totino-Grace High School. If you’re looking for a good book to read, Clay recommends Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter.
Holly Robinson, Lower School Administrative Assistant, has over 15 years of Executive Assistant experience. She came to Breck from Syngenta Seeds, LLC, located in Minnetonka where she supported the Regional Director and COO, and the Seeds Sales team. Holly loves being outdoors, water skiing, walking her dogs, and spending time with her family. She is excited to work with the amazing faculty and staff at Breck and is already loving the energy and positivity of the school.
Stephanie Turner, Math and Science Instructor, is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in Chemistry. She comes to Breck from Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts, where she taught math and science for the past twelve years. Over the summer she read State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, and enjoys cooking and gardening.
Rachel Yoon, Seventh-Grade Science Instructor, holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Before coming to Breck, she taught at the FAIR Schools in Crystal and Downtown Minneapolis, and served on the district Positive School-Wide Engagement team for Minneapolis Public Schools. Rachel is excited about getting know Breck students, families, and staff!
Congratulations to Emre Adabag, Margaret Broyles, Andrew Cheng, James Clinton, Samantha Detor, Gunnar Evenstad, Ekemini Jones, Grace Medeiros, Sam Schoenecker, Dylan Vincent, and Niels Wu, who were named National Merit Semifinalists by the College Board.
Beth Gaffga returns to Breck as our new Middle School English Teacher.