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PWMS introduces three new teachers

Editor's note: This is the second in a four-part weekly series introducing the new teachers at Perham schools.

This fall, three new teachers started at Prairie Wind Middle School in Perham. District-wide there were 22 teachers hired, with the middle school seeing the smallest increase.

Principal Scott Bjerke said in an email to the newspaper that the affect of new teachers reaches far beyond the school's walls. He said the whole community is strengthened because, "in time, many will end up purchasing homes and perhaps raising a family. This adds to the heartbeat of the community and certainly helps the overall local economy."

Bjerke said the new teachers' "enthusiasm and new ideas can re-energize everyone within the school.  For those of us who have been in education for many years, their freshness can be contagious."

John Lubitz

Returning to Perham after attending school here himself, John Lubitz joined the staff at the middle school as an eighth grade physical education and health teacher.

Lubitz said, "My aim is to encourage students to feel good about themselves and to develop self respect."  

Lubitz graduated from Perham High School in 2007 and is excited to be back in town: "I love the rich tradition of excellence this community has of academics and athletics."

Within the first month of school, "the biggest challenge was making sure I learned all of my students' names as soon as possible so I could make a connection with them," Lubitz said.

Previously, Lubitz was a substitute teacher in Fargo Public Schools. He graduated from North Dakota State University in December 2011.

Brittany (Lubitz) Johnson

Brittany Johnson teaches sixth grade at Prairie Wind Middle School.

"I grew up in Perham. I went to school here. I wanted my kids to go to school here," Johnson said.

After graduating from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Johnson taught in Phoenix, Ariz. for two years. She also spent six months in St. Cloud, Minn. and six months in New York Mills.

Johnson was excited to accept the position in Perham: "I wanted to teach in a place that made me feel inspired and comfortable at the same time."

Johnson has two kids, Emma and Ethan.

Nancy Stromstad

Nancy Stromstad is the new special education teacher at the middle school.

After completing her student teaching in Perham, she taught in regular education classrooms in both Perham and Detroit Lakes.

"I'm excited to be in Perham teaching again," Stromstad said.

She was attracted to the idea of coming back to Perham because she was, "familiar with the district and the staff from working here before."

"My first month has been very busy getting to know the program," Stromstad said. "The best part of my job has been getting to know and helping my students."

Stromstad also grew up in the area: "My family lives by Frazee, so I have a short commute to Perham."