Category Archives: Notes

Jean Ann Robertson (M.S.W. ’96)

Jean Ann Robertson (M.S.W. ’96), passed away on March 9, 2017, at the age of 66. Jean received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 1996.  Jean had a 36 year career in social work. She dedicated her life to being the voice for the underrepresented.

Nancy Hohn (M.A. ’69)

Nancy Hohn (M.A. ’69), peacefully passed at age 91. Nancy  served in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (W.A.V.E.S) in World World II. After WWII, Nancy obtained her Master’s of Art Degree in Early Childhood from the University in 1969. She taught in Columbus City Schools during her teaching career. She was loving wife, friend, and grandmother who loved to travel around the world.

Sybel Haugen (M.Ed ’85)

Sybel Haugen (M.Ed ’85), passed away at age 93, on March 4, 2017.  She was one of the first teachers of Kasson-Mantorville region to obtain additional training in special.  In 1980, Sybel was recognized as the Teacher of the Year at Kasson-Mantorville. She always was recognized for Minnesota Teacher of Excellence and became semi-finalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year. She was a person who loved to travel. She traveled to many continents such as South America, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Australia, and more. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota in 1985.

Julie A. Critz (M.Ed ’93)

Julie A. Critz (M.Ed ’93), is the current Superintendent of the Alexandria Public Schools. Julie was recently awarded with the 2017 Kay E. Jacobs Memorial Award.  This award recognizes “excellent leadership and involvement in MASA and other educational organizations by an administrator who is a woman with ten or less years of school district central office experience”. Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) is a professional organization of Minnesota’s school leaders and educators that are dedicated to educational leadership for students. MASA recognizes members for their contribution and hard work to public education. Julie Critz  earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University in 1993.

John L. Hoffman (Ph.D ’00)

John L. Hoffman (Ph.D ’00) is being inducted by NASPA as a Pillar of the Profession on March 13, 2017. NASPA Foundation recognizes outstanding members of the student affairs and higher education community through the Pillars of Profession. The Pillars of Profession award honors individuals who have served as teachers, leaders, and scholars in the field and who have kept professional distinction in the higher education field, served leadership roles in NASPA, are recognized by colleagues, friends, staff, or student organizations for outstanding service, and have a significant lifetime contributions to the higher education field. Dr. Hoffman earned both his master’s degree in 1997 and Ph.D in Educational Policy and Administration 2000 from the University.

Laura Hageman (M.Ed. ’14)

Laura Hageman (M.Ed. ’14),  is one of the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District’s Teachers of the Year for 2016-2017 school year. This is Laura’s fourth year teaching at Five Hawks. Laura is highly active in several activities and committees at Five Hawks. She is currently on the BILT Leadership Team, Junior Naturalist Team, and E-STEM Team. Along with her participation with several activities and committees, she is currently planning a garden at Five Hawks to provide students with a hands-on learning experience.


Jeanne d’Arc Gomis (M.A. ’05)

Jeanne d’Arc Gomis (M.A. ’05), is the new Director of the Study Abroad Programs at Arkansas State University.  Jeanne d’Arc Gomis’s previous experience greatly prepared her for her new position. She has worked four years as the regional director of International Member Relations for International Student Exchange Programs,  also known as ISEP in Arlington, Virginia. In 2006, she worked six years as the study aboard adviser at Appalachian State University. At Appalachian State University she served four years as the assistant director of the International Student Exchange and Study Abroad department. In 2010, she became the interim director of the International Student Exchange and Study Abroad department.

Marsha Wilson (M.Ed ’11)

Marsha Wilson (M.Ed ’11), is a master teacher who wears all the hats — parent, social worker, teacher, nurse and she wears them all so effortlessly,’ said Principal Jeff Roland, Banfield Elementary School. Marsha Wilson is Austin’s top choice for 2017 Minnesota State teacher of the Year. She currently a fourth grade teacher at Banfield Elementary School. She has been teaching at Banfield since 1986.

Heidi Haugen (M.Ed ’97)

Heidi Haugen (M.Ed ’97), is a 2016 nominee for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. She currently a kindergarten teacher at Kenyon Wanamingo School. She has been working in Kenyon Public Schools since 1986. She is an advocate for reading. Through her passion for reading she created a book program that “has secured funding for a monthly book donation to students receiving food backpacks” (, 2016).

Lisa M. Bolt (M.Ed. ’95)

Lisa M. Bolt (M.Ed. ’95) has published three middle grade “choose your path” sports novels (hockey, baseball, and soccer), over 20 nonfiction children’s titles, and an adult history book. She also teaches ESL to adults part time.

Brenda Blume (M. Ed. ’07)

Brenda Blume (M. Ed. ’07) accepted corporate marketing role focused on talent, learning & development, diversity, inclusion and community relations related efforts for the global supply chain company, C.H. Robinson. The role focuses on marketing our talent’s education, lifelong learning, giving back and the value that brings to our company and customers.

Brad Hokanson (Ph.D. ’00)

Brad Hokanson (Ph.D. ’00) has been elected president of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). He will become president at the 2016 annual convention in Las Vegas this October. AECT is the premier international organization for educational technology, with over 2400 members world wide and affiliates in 21 countries.

Mark Falkowski (B.S. ’06)

Mark Falkowski (B.S. ’06) was recently announced by Columbia College as the college’s first general counsel. Falkowski will serve as a member of the college’s senior leadership team.

Erin Pepelnjak (M.Ed. ’07)

Erin Pepelnjak (M.Ed. ’07)  is an instructor in the Department of Education at UMD and am the program coordinator for the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) in the department.