Mrs. Kim Mikolajczyk – Principal
Kim Mikolajczyk, principal of McDonald school loves the students, families and staff she works with each day. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Idaho, her Master’s Degree from Eastern Washington University and her Education Specialist degree from University of Idaho. After serving as the school counselor at McDonald for 10 years, Kim now leads our school. She brings a wealth of knowledge about the children, their families as well as working closely with staff and programs within the school and community. Her positive and proactive approach along with getting to know and enjoying each student helps make McDonald Elementary a fantastic place to be!
Kim grew up in Vancouver, Washington, in her large family of seven children. She came to Moscow to attend the University while on a Track scholarship and has never left! She enjoys exploring new places, exciting foods and playing on the St. Joe river in the summer with her husband and two children while out of cell phone range of anyone else.
Mrs. Heidi Palmer – Kindergarten
Heidi Palmer hails from The Dalles, Oregon and earned a degree in K-8 education and early childhood education from Western Oregon University in 1999. In 2009 she graduated from University of Idaho with a Master’s degree in Special Education. She teaches two Kindergarten classes at McDonald Elementary, one morning class and one afternoon class.
In the fourth grade, Mrs. Palmer visited her aunt in San Francisco. While there she toured her aunt’s work place, which was a training center for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Over the next several years she raised four guide dogs. It was an awesome experience!
For Mrs. Palmer, being a teacher is a very fulfilling career. She loves watching the children grow socially, as well as academically throughout the course of the year and for years to come. She loves the enthusiasm for learning that Kindergarten children demonstrate each and every day. Check out Kindergarten’s website: http://www.mcdonaldelementarykindergarten.weebly.com
Mrs. Emma Riely – Kindergarten
Emma Riely teaches morning Kindergarten at McDonald Elementary. She earned double Bachelor’s Degrees in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education at Central Washington University.
When she is not teaching, Mrs. Riely absolutely loves organizing other people’s houses. Every time she goes back home for the holidays she helps her mom organize an entire room and take tons of her stuff to the thrift store (she has a lot of stuff!) Her and her husband love to run and always do an organized run on Thanksgiving.
Mrs. Riely enjoys spending time with kindergarteners because they are hilarious and adorable! Check out Kindergarten’s website: http://www.mcdonaldelementarykindergarten.weebly.com
Mrs. Emily Spellman – Kindergarten
Emily Spellman teaches Kindergarten at McDonald Elementary. She was raised in a town outside of Philadelphia and moved to Moscow at the age of ten. She graduated from Moscow High School and went abroad to Nepal for her first semester in college. She learned lifelong lessons in Nepal and it was there that she decided to become a teacher after teaching English songs to kids in the villages. She graduated from the University of Idaho with a Master’s degree in Education along with a literacy and gifted & talented endorsement.
Other than her love for teaching, Mrs. Spellman loves to run, hike, backpack, travel and volunteer for the Humane Society of the Palouse. She has volunteered there for 20 years and been on the Board of Directors for the shelter for over ten years.
Emily enjoys spending time with her family and is married and has two young children, Maya and Reid. She is proud to admit that she is a McDonald Duck alumnus along with her husband. She stated that once her youngest child enters school her whole family will be Ducks, “once a duck, always a duck!”
Mrs. Spellman loves getting to know the students. She likes the opportunity to support them in their learning career and creating a safe and inviting environment for them to grow.
Mrs. Kristine Fitze – 1st Grade
Kristine Fitze earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education at University of Idaho. Following graduation she achieved her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Fitze has taught at McDonald Elementary since 2001.
She loves the outdoors such as camping, fishing, boating, hiking, hunting and walking her 2 Yorkshire Terriers. She also loves baking fruit pies, reading and scrapbooking. She currently is working on writing children’s books and is hoping to get published at some point. Her sister, who teaches art in The Dalles, Oregon does the illustrations.
Mrs. Fitze loves making a difference in a child’s life in some small way. It is always good when she is teaching and a student says or does something that teaches her something too!
Mrs. Brenda Iverson – 1st Grade
Brenda Iverson was born and raised in Moscow, where she attended elementary, middle school and graduated from Moscow High School. She went on to attend the University of Idaho and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. In 2003, she completed her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Mrs. Iverson and her husband, Ken, have two grown children; Emily and Kirk. Mrs. Iverson and her husband live on a farm outside of Moscow where they grow lentils, winter and spring wheat, barley and garbanzo beans. Her hobbies include; crafts, boating, traveling, watching sports and spending time with her family and friends.
Mrs. Iverson enjoys being in the classroom and getting to know each child. She loves the excitement and enthusiasm students bring each day. She truly enjoys her career; “Teaching is a fun and rewarding job!”
Mrs. Denise Johnson – 1st Grade
Denise Johnson hails from Yakima, Washington and was raised in Kennewick, Washington. She has been teaching at McDonald for 25 years. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education followed by her Master’s Degree in Special Education, both from University of Idaho.
Mrs. Johnson spends every minute she can with her husband, three adult children, two son-in-laws and four grandchildren. All of her grandchildren live in Couer d’Alene where she can see them often. Her whole family enjoys camping, playing card games and visiting. If she has any additional spare time, she enjoys sewing and crafts.
In 1977, Mrs. Johnson and family moved to the Philippines for her husband’s job. They made life-long friendships while living overseas giving them the opportunity to vacation in Hawaii, Hong Kong, Japan and Europe. This has been a life changing time for them and she will always be grateful for the experience.
When asked what she loves the most about teaching, she exclaims “Spending time with kids!!!!” She loves this age group because they are excited about learning and they say the funniest things that make her chuckle every day. There is such joy watching children interact with each other and learning something new in class daily.
Ms. Debbie Bell – 2nd Grade
Deborah Bell has been teaching at McDonald Elementary since 2000. Ms. Bell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries Biology from Humboldt State University. She received her teaching credential from the University of Idaho. Following graduating, she received her Master’s Degree in Special Education.
Ms. Bell is a sports enthusiast and loves swimming, biking and running. She is also a tri-athlete and has accomplished three ironman competitions.
She loves teaching as it allows her to watch children get excited about exploring new ideas, kids saying the funniest things and working with families to strengthen the family unit at home. Check out the second grade website: http://grade2quacks.weebly.com/
Mr. Lance Hamma – 2nd Grade
Lance Hamma teaches 2nd grade at McDonald Elementary. He was born in Montana and achieved his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Physical Education from the University of Idaho. In addition, he earned his Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Idaho.
Mr. Hamma loves swimming, kayaking, rafting, hiking and chasing after his son. He loves sports especially the Green Bay Packers, of whom he boasts that he is part owner. Ask to see his Green Bay certificate if you don’t believe it! Oh, Mr. Hamma LOVES brownies.
He loves working with children. Mr. Hamma states “they are funnier, more forgiving, energetic and capable than we can imagine.” Check out the second grade website http://grade2quacks.weebly.com/
Mrs. Jana Horne – 2nd Grade
Jana Horne was born and raised in Texas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in science from Texas A & M University – WHOOP! She earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Idaho.
Mrs. Horne loves the outdoors and spending time with her family and friends. When time allows, she enjoys gardening and knitting. As a child she enjoyed playing sports and basketball is her favorite sport.
Her husband, Jon, works for Idaho Fish and Game and they have one child, Connor and a lovable Golden Retriever named Dusty. Mrs. Horne and her husband have rafted the Canning River in Alaska and the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
Mrs. Horne stated “I love the challenge of making school fun and successful for every child.” Check out the second grade website http://grade2quacks.weebly.com/
Mrs. Pepper Abbott – 3rd Grade
Pepper Abbott teaches 3rd grade at McDonald Elementary this year. She achieved her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Idaho in Elementary and Special Education.
Mrs. Abbott loves being outdoors! She enjoys hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, four wheeling, soccer, rock climbing, snowboarding and camping. If after all of this she has any spare time, she loves to quilt and knit, but top on her list is spending time with her husband, children and dog.
Some interesting facts that you may not know about Mrs. Abbott is that she spent four summers in Naknek, Alaska working in the roe room of a fish processing plant. She also fought wild fires for seven summers.
Mrs. Abbott loves knowing that she makes a difference in each and every student that she teaches.
Read more about what is happening in Mrs. Abbott’s 4th grade class at http://mrsabbotts3rdgrade.weebly.com/
Mrs. Ashley Payton – 3rd Grade
Ashley Payton currently teaches 3rd grade at McDonald Elementary. She was born and raised in Post Falls, ID and attended University of Idaho where she achieved a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance along with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She is currently working on Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Concordia University. She anticipates finishing in May of 2016.
After marrying her high school sweetheart in 2014, they went on an amazing honeymoon to Maui, Hawaii where they biked down the world’s largest dormant volcano at 10,000 feet. The ride was 26 miles long, all downhill with an amazing view of the entire island.
Mrs. Payton loves that teaching gives her a direct impact on the future. School was a very positive experience for her as a learner and she strives to make that experience happen for more and more learners today. She loves that as a teacher, and admits that she is a lifelong learner and is constantly changing and perfecting her craft to make it better and better for her students. Check out Mrs. Payton’s classroom website at http://mrspaytonsclassroom.weebly.com/
Ms. Krysta Spinarski – 3rd Grade
Krysta Spinarski grew up in Cheney, Washington. She achieved her degree in Elementary Education at the University of Idaho (GO VANDALS!) in 2010. She did her student teaching in kindergarten and 2nd grade but after working a few years in kindergarten, she decided to become a substitute throughout Moscow School District. She fell in LOVE with McDonald Elementary and began teaching 3rd grade here in 2014. To see more about Ms. Spinarski’s class, go to her website at http://spinarski.weebly.com
Ms. Spinarski’s and her fiancé, Scott love to spend time with their two cats, Fuzz and Stiles. Both of their families live nearby so they also enjoy spending time with them.
Not only does Ms. Spinarski love teaching her students, but she is constantly learning new things from her students as well.
Mr. Wes Bascom – 4th Grade
Wes Bascom teaches 4th grade at McDonald Elementary. He grew up in Eastern Oregon and achieved his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Washington State University and his teaching certificate at University of Idaho.
Among Mr. Bascom’s many hobbies, he enjoys drumming/music, outdoors backpacking and camping. He has lived and taught in three Northwest states, Costa Rico and Mexico.
Mr. Bascom enjoys watching the lights turn on when a student interests or understanding “clicks”.
Mrs. Wendy Thompson – 4th Grade
Wendy Thompson was born in Tucson and moved here when she was three years old. She has been teaching at McDonald Elementary since 1999. She graduated from Moscow High School (Go Bears!) and went to the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!) where she earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Master’s of Education degree.
Her passions include anything related to friends, family and sports. She and her family are a huge baseball family who takes their children everywhere due to sporting activities. Between baseball, basketball, soccer, softball and dance, she stays very busy. In case you didn’t notice, Mrs. Thompson is a big fan of the UI Vandals, Seattle Mariners/Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Boston Red Sox.
She loves everything about teaching and it is the one thing that she can do to make a difference in a child’s life. She enjoys seeing the “lightbulb” go on when students start to “get it”. It keeps her busy and on the go, but she values every minute of it. McDonald School is such a great place to be. It truly is “home away from home”.
Ryan Walquist – 4th Grade
Ryan Walquist grew up in Eden Prairie, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. In 2000, he graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. He received his Master of Arts in Teaching at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. He also attended Champlain College in Burlington, VT and the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.
When Mr. Walquist isn’t teaching he enjoys hiking and camping with his family, designing and building furniture and playing hockey. He states that he has always loved a good adventure. In his teens he rode his mountain bike 500 miles from Boulder to Durango, CO with two friends. In his 20’s he toured through half the countries in South America. In his 30’s he got married and started a family. Now in his 40’s he is moving to Idaho and teaching at McDonald!
When asked what he loves most about teaching, Mr. Walquist states that in the classroom, everyone has the opportunity to be both a teacher and a student and he loves the interesting and inspiring things students teach him. Every day is an adventure!
Mrs. Lee Berg – 5th Grade
Lee Berg teaches 5th grade at McDonald Elementary.
She has lived in Moscow almost all of her life. Her dad served in the army and moved here when she was very young. Her parents believed that Moscow was the perfect place to raise their family. The University of Idaho provided a wonderful opportunity for her mom to become a teacher and fulfill her dreams. At the age of six, Mrs. Berg knew that she wanted to become a teacher, just like mom. There has never been a question about her path in life.
When she has spare time, she enjoys working outside in her yard or taking a walk. Her three dogs keep her very busy. Mrs. Berg has a Boston Terrier and two Newfoundlands. Her three children are grown but she and her husband always find time to visit them as often as possible.
Mrs. Berg looks forward to each new student arriving at McDonald Elementary. It is such an honor for her to have the opportunity to work with them and teach them new things. She states, “It is also very hard to say goodbye when our school year ends.”
Ms. Staci Brandner – 5th Grade
Staci Brandner comes to McDonald Elementary from Yuma, Colorado. She moved to Moscow in 2015 after graduating from Chadron State College in Chadron, NE with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.
Her passion is very simple, teaching! She loves working with kids and seeing them progress in their education. She reads a variety of books and loves to write poetry.
Ms. Brandner made a huge change to her life when she moved to Idaho in 2015. She decided to follow her family to Moscow to be closer to her oldest sister and since the move it has been wonderful living here. She enjoys exploring new towns and places and seeing the beautiful scenery. She is excited to claim this state as her home.
The thing that she loves most about teaching is seeing the students grow and learn. It is gratifying to see the students take the information that has been given them and have them apply it in their lives and throughout their education careers. She enjoys making those connections with students that allows for the fun, learning environment.
Mrs. Jerri Parce – 5th Grade
Jerri Parce teaches 5th grade at McDonald Elementary. She received her Bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education from the University of Idaho. She followed this with earning a Master’s degree in Education after writing a 35 page thesis.
Mrs. Parce was born and raised in Moscow and always dreamed of someday moving away from Moscow, but her husband had lived all over the world and was determined to call Moscow his home. Just as Moscow was a great place for her to grow up, it has been as equally wonderful for raising her children.
When she is not teaching, Mrs. Parce enjoys cooking, the outdoors and spending time with her grandchildren. Mrs. Parce and her husband since 1978 have raised three hardworking, successful children.
After 27+ years of teaching 4th, 5th & 6th graders, she has a deeper understanding of how they learn. She has learned to look at each child as an individual with unique needs. No child is the same. She is always proud at the end of each school year to celebrate the academic, social and emotional growth of each child as she sends them on to the next level in their learning journey.
Mr. Aaron Schiffelbein – Counselor
Aaron Schiffelbein was born in California but grew up in western Washington in Kent, a suburb of Seattle. He achieved his BA in Communication from Washington State University followed by MA in School Counseling from the University of Idaho.
Mr. Schiffelbein enjoys collecting and listening to vinyl records along with camping and being outdoors. One of his favorite things is going to concerts. He has seen a few of his favorite bands 15+ times in concert (and counting).
He loves the joy and energy students bring to school with them each day. One of his favorite things about the work he does is seeing students make new connections and learn more about what makes them uniquely who they are.
Ms. Stephanie Sant – Movement
Stephanie Sant teaches Movement at McDonald Elementary. Movement is a non-competitive creative dance class where students explore, create, respond to and perform movement and dance works. Ms. Sant received her Associate of Arts degree from Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington. Upon completion of her Associate’s degree, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music and in 2005, a Master’s degree in Education, both from the University of Idaho.
Ms. Sant loves to sing for community events and occasionally sings the National Anthem at sporting events. She participates in the Palouse Choral Society choirs. In addition to her work at McDonald Elementary, she teaches Choir, Jazz Choir and Opera group at Moscow High School.
Among some of Ms. Sant’s favorite things about teaching is interacting with students, watching them learn and develop from year to year.
Ms. Maggie Tappana – Movement/Enrichment
Maggie Tappana was born in Sandy, OR. She earned a BA in Theatre Arts at Eastern Oregon University and a MFA in Theatre Arts at University of Idaho. Her passions include Theatre, Arts Education & Integration, Cooking and Photography.
Maggie is a theatre artist, member of Screen Actors Guild and an advocate for arts education and integration. She spends her free time adventuring with her family. Her great accomplishment is her two-year-old son, Benjamin.
Watching students as they make personal connections to new ideas is one of Ms. Tappana’s favorite things about teaching.
Mrs. Lisa Carscallen – P.E.
Lisa Carscallen was born and raised in Moscow and graduated from Moscow High School in 1989. #GoBears She graduated from University of Idaho with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with a minor in Health Education.
Mrs. Carscallen’s passion and hobbies are currently her kids who are both in Moscow High School. Both children are “3” sport athletes so this keeps her and her husband constantly on the go supporting them in their athletic and academic achievements. They also like to camp in the summers and travel to visit family. She planted a garden for the first time this past summer and now considers it her “new” hobby. She is active in the Moscow School District where she is on the board of the Moscow Bear Boosters.
Mrs. Carscallen has coached high school volleyball, basketball and softball and while coaching the Moscow High School girl’s basketball team they finished 3rd in 2004, 2nd in 2007 and she was named IEL coach of the year in 2004. In addition she was named Idaho Elementary Physical Education teacher of the year in 2013 and has served on the executive board of SHAPE-Idaho.
For Mrs. Carscallen, the best part of teaching is seeing the smiles on student’s faces when they learn a new skill or concept. You can see how proud they are in their accomplishments. She loves hearing stories from parents who tell how excited their children are to talk about things they have learned in P.E. She knows it is her job to help children excel and bring their knowledge home to share with their families. Physical Education is a lifelong education, we all need healthy bodies and minds for a lifetime. Mrs. Carscallen feels that she is so lucky to get to be the one who can start children off on a path to a healthy lifestyle!
Read more about what is happening in P.E. at: http://duckspe.wordpress.com or scan the code to go directly to Mrs. Carscallen’s blog!
Mrs. Kathy Stefani – Music
Kathy Stefani, a Moscow native, has taught elementary and secondary music for many years. She joined McDonald Elementary in 2016.
She plays numerous instruments and is an Orff Level I specialist. Kathy currently serves as President-Elect for the Idaho Music Educators Association. Mrs. Stefani is the recipient of numerous grants and she and her programs have been recognized by the Grammy Foundation. The love of music came late to Mrs. Stefani and her hope is to instill that love in her students early on.
Mrs. Geri Ray – Special Education
Geri Ray grew up in Bellingham, Washington and earned her Bachelor’s degree and teaching certification at Western Washington University. She has her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and continues growing professionally by earning from Portland State University and University of Idaho.
In her spare time, Mrs. Ray loves taking pictures of her family along with gardening, ceramic painting and making jewelry. She finds mowing the lawn to be one of those crazy things that help relieve stress.
For Mrs. Ray, teaching is never a boring moment and she hopes her work with students will help people remember her. They will!!
Mrs. Becky Adderson – Special Education
Rebecca Adderson is new to McDonald Elementary in the Special Education department. She grew up among the wheat fields and sports activities of a small community in eastern Washington. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education at Lewis-Clark State College and is certified in both Elementary Education and Special Education.
When she is not teaching, you may find Mrs. Adderson curled up on the couch reading a good book! She loves to read.
She finds working with students with special needs a passion that she is called to do and it brings her fulfillment. When asked what she loves most about teaching, she responded “the students!” They are what drive her to work her hardest and do her best every day. “If they can, then I can too!” is her motto.
Ms. Shahna Paul – School Psychologist
Shahna Paul is the newest member of McDonald Elementary coming onboard as the School Psychologist. Shahna grew up in Troy and graduated from there in 1986. Ms. Paul has lived in Greenwich, CT, New York, NY, Liberty, NY and Los Lunas, NM before returning to her home State. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Services, Ed. S in School Psychology all at the University of Idaho. In addition, she achieved another Ed. S in building administration at NNU.
When Ms. Paul was asked what her passions are, she stated “I love, love, love the fall, football and pumpkin spice lattes”. She also enjoys fishing, traveling and camping. She learned how to paddle board this summer.
Ms. Paul loves that education is something that no one can take away. Knowledge and academia is all yours.
Mrs. Patty Pancheri – GT/Reading Intervention
Patty Pancheri has been teaching since 1995 at McDonald Elementary where she works in the Gifted/Talented department and as a Reading Specialist. She achieved her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction emphasis on math instruction with a Gifted and Talented Endorsement from the University of Idaho.
She has many interests and hobbies, including spending time with her family, reading, gardening and hanging at Priest Lake with family.
The best part of the job for Mrs. Pancheri is meeting and working with students from all grade levels. She loves the energy and enthusiasm they bring to our learning communities.
Mrs. Janet Mundell – Speech Language Pathologist
Janet Mundell grew up in Glen Burnie, Maryland and has worked for the Moscow School District for five years. She has held positions as Speech Language Pathologist and Special Education Director. She graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Washington State University.
When not teaching, she enjoys music, cooking, reading, gardening, crafting and doing “do-it-yourself” home improvement projects. Mrs. Mundell has two children and five grandchildren.
She loves working with children and it shows in her everyday attitude.
Mrs. Faye Nagler – MSD District Elementary Librarian
Mrs. Nagler was born and raised in Canada and moved to the USA in 1996. She has a Masters in Science, Certification in K-8 Elementary Education from the University of Idaho and an Endorsement in Library Sciences and Secondary Earth Science. She serves as the District Elementary Librarian, responsible for all four elementary school libraries including the expansive McDonald Library.
Mrs. Nagler is passionate about encouraging literacy in young readers and providing students and staff with the tools and resources to become effective users of information and lifelong lovers of reading. In the afternoons she also teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) to First and Second Graders at West Park Elementary.
When not balancing books or teaching robotics she loves doing anything near the water, volunteering in the community, reading (of course), traveling as much as possible, worrying about her two adult daughters and trying to manage her two crazy dogs.
Mrs. Leanna Gergen – Moscow School District Developmental Preschool
LeAnna Gergen comes to us from New England and currently works in our Developmental Preschool. She earned her B.S. in Early Childhood Developmental & Education Blended Certificate from the University of Idaho.
It is always exciting to see Mrs. Gergen walking down the hall with her precious preschoolers. It is a joy to watch her at work. She loves helping others, working with children & families, learning and using American Sign Language, music, and art.
She finds fulfillment in helping children reach their fullest potential, increase their sense of self-worth and grow in independence. To view the Developmental Preschool website click on http://msd281developmentalpreschool.weebly.com/
Mrs. Lindsey Wagner – Moscow School District Developmental Preschool Speech Language Pathologist
Lindsey Wagner is the Speech Language Pathologist in the Developmental Preschool. She received a Master of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Idaho State University in 2011.
She loves running, hiking, camping and reading. She and her husband have been married three years and have traveled to Panama. They just bought their first house and have a sweet 15 years old kitty.
Mrs. Wagner loves knowing that her interventions are helping a child communicate and that those skills will help them their whole life…is the very reason she does what she does.
Mrs. Rachel Lambert – Preschool Assistant
Rachel Lambert was born into a military family and lived all over including twelve years in Europe. She has been in Moscow for 20+ years and calls this lovely town home.
Mrs. Lambert has 6+ years’ experience working in early education, mostly with preschool, ages two to five and has attended many hours of training including special education.
She is a mom of three very active and busy children. Her hobbies include watching them in all of their many sports. When she gets time to herself, she loves to read. The last couple of years she has been learning how to garden and enjoy the many berries & fruits that she has been learning to grow on her own. Her children love to help her come up with new ways to cook their home grown vegetables.
Rachel has been learning American Sign Language and has loved being able to use this form of communication not only in the classroom, but at home with her own children. She is teaching her five-year-old ASL so he may be able to communicate with the deaf community.
Mrs. Lambert loves watching the excitement of young children learning something new and reaching goals. She enjoys supporting them and making a difference in some small way as she learns from them as well.
Mrs. Stephanie Bontrager – Building/Duty Assistant
Stephanie Bontrager was born and raised in Spokane, WA. She earned a Business Management degree at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. She moved to Moscow in 2011 with her husband Scott, three boys and a yellow lab, Bailey.
Mrs. Bontrager spends a lot of her time running her three sons back and forth to sporting events and other activities. She loves outdoor adventures including hiking, paddle and traveling.
Stephanie enjoys the variety of things that she gets to do on a daily basis at McDonald Elementary. She loves the people she works with and seeing the kids every day.
Mrs. Vickie Brandner – Secretary
Mrs. Brandner was born and raised in Blytheville, Arkansas and moved to Colorado in 2002. She worked at the Lone Star School District in Otis, Colorado until moving to Moscow in 2015.
When asked what brought her to Moscow, she will loudly exclaim GRANDBABIES! Vickie has two grandsons who live in Clarkston and if you can’t tell by talking to her, they are her pride and joy. She loves being Grammy.
Mrs. Brandner and her husband, when not working, spend a lot of their time exploring the Palouse. This has been a great move for them and she is very proud to be a part of the Moscow community and McDonald School.
Mrs. Jan Brooker – Special Education Assistant
Jan Brooker is a special education paraprofessional at McDonald Elementary. She has worked in a variety of settings with infants, preschoolers, elementary school age children and young adults and their families. Jan has a BASc in Child and Family Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood and Special Education from the University of Guelph in Canada.
Jan was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. She lived in both central and western Canada before moving to Moscow Idaho more than 20 years ago. When she isn’t at work Jan enjoys outdoor activities including canoeing, camping, and gardening. Mrs. Brooker lives in Moscow with her husband and their two high school aged daughters, a dog, cat and hens. She also enjoys visiting their daughter who lives in Canada.
Miss Kelsie Cleverley – Special Education Assistant
Kelsie Cleverley was born in Plymouth, ID and has a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
She enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, baking, crafting and reading. Kelsie loves to smile and make people happy and it shows. We are happy to have her at McDonald Elementary.
She loves working with the awesome students and the amazing staff that makes everyone feel welcome
Joanne Eastburn – Head Cook
Joanne Eastburn was born in California and raised in Seattle, WA. Her interests include sewing, building miniature houses & furniture, camping and gardening.
She has two grown sons and two grandsons that live too far away!
Joanne loves working at McDonald with the students and watching them grow up (as much as a 5th grader can).
Ms. Debbra Flomer – Special Education Assistant
Debbra Flomer was raised on a farm in Moscow, ID. Her interests include the outdoors, gardening, making cards, cross stitching and going to the cabin on the lake.
She worked at Macy’s so long (for 17 years) that she is known as the Macy’s lady! Debbra has a black multi-poo and she is her little princess.
Ms. Flomer loves working at McDonald with the people. Everyone is so nice and friendly and the children are a delight to work with.
Mrs. Debby Germer – Cook Assistant
Debby Germer was born in Ashley, ND and moved to Moscow in the 5th grade. She graduated from Moscow High School.
Debby has worked in the Moscow School District as a cook since 1985 with 26 years at West Park and the rest here at McDonald Elementary. She loves working with the children and has seen two or three generations of children go through the school system.
She is married and has two daughters, two sons in law and four grandchildren with one on the way. Mrs. Germer enjoys huckleberry picking and camping with her family. In addition, she enjoys attending her grandchildren’s soccer games and other activities.
Mrs. Sheryl Gomez – Special Education Assistant
Sheryl Gomez grew up in the mountains of Salmon, ID on a cattle ranch. She received her B.S. in Zoology/Secondary Education from the University of Idaho.
Mrs. Gomez loves the outdoors, camping, hiking, fishing along with cooking and baking. She has three children and love spending time with them. Sheryl also enjoys to whittle and carve things out of wood. In fact, she makes wooden spoons and other utensils.
The students and the staff at McDonald are just amazing and make everyday a great day to go to work.
Ms. Tami Hurst – Special Education Assistant
Tami Hurst was born and raised in Texas. She attended the University of Idaho and earned a degree in Sports Science and Athletic Training.
Ms. Hurst loves being a lifeguard during the summer and her favorite thing about McDonald is the office staff.
Mrs. Tammi Kozlowski – Special Education Assistant
Tammi Kozlowski was born in Niagara Falls, NY. One day her parents packed up everything and traveled across country to settle in Omak, WA.
Mrs. Kozlowski loves to read, camp, hike, fish and her horse which she rescued in 2012. Tammi has two fabulous children and has been married since 1997. In case you don’t know her, she loves to laugh.
She enjoys McDonald Elementary and loves the students and the staff.
Mr. Jack McCown – Night Custodian
Jack McCown is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, but grew up and spent much of his life in California’s Central Coast region.
Jack’s interests are camping, fishing, mountain biking, recreational gold prospecting and metal detecting. He has one daughter who he is very proud of. Mr. McCown has written two novels and five screenplays!
McDonald is a great place to work and he enjoys the staff and students.
Mrs. Aimee Nielson – Reading Specialist
Aimee Nielson has spent most of her life in Meridian and Boise, ID. She graduated from Boise State University with a degree in Political Science – GO Broncos!! She has lived in Moscow since 2014 and loves it here.
She enjoys spending time outside with her family and likes to go camping & exploring North Idaho. She has one son and two daughters which keep her busy most evenings and weekends with soccer on one of the fields in the area.
Aimee loves working at McDonald Elementary because she believes we have the best staff and the BEST students here. She enjoys helping kids develop a love of reading.
Mrs. Michelle Ownbey – Aide
Michelle Ownbey was born in Gustine, CA. After moving several times, Michelle graduated from High School in LaCrosse, WA. She earned her B.S. in Education from the University of Idaho.
She is the mother to five daughters, one God daughter and Grandma to two grandchildren & two God grandchildren. Mrs. Ownbey enjoys singing, sewing, quilting, reading and teaching. In fact, Michelle, her husband, nieces and nephews recorded a music CD called “The Rubber Band”. If you are curious about the name, ask Michelle, she will be happy to tell you the story. She sang with the University of Idaho Jazz Choir for several years and was attending Central Washington University when Mount St. Helens erupted.
For Michelle, working at McDonald Elementary is the best, especially the staff and students.
Mrs. Kelly Perry – Reading Specialist
Kelly Perry hails from Missoula, MT and enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Perry and her family lived in Spain for five years prior to moving to Moscow. She used to be a civil engineer but wanted a job where she could really make a difference.
She loves the positive atmosphere at McDonald Elementary and how everyone is always there to help one another.
Mrs. Connie Pope – Playground Assistant
Connie Pope was born in Eric, PA and moved to Utah at age 3 where she grew up. One of the most memorable things she did in school was participate in Odyssey of the Mind when she was in 5th grade. Her group won at the state level and then traveled to Iowa for the world competition. It was also her first time on an airplane!
She married her high school sweetheart and is now The Pope’s wife. They have four amazing daughters! Connie enjoys spending time with her family, which inevitably means being a chauffeur to schools, practices, games, friends’ houses and whatever else they can think of. She is very excited for her oldest to gain her driver’s license. She also enjoys camping, four-wheeling, swimming, reading, going on dates with her husband, watching her girls participate in sports and dancing in the kitchen with her girls to very loud music.
Connie has been at McDonald since 2013. She loves coming to work and seeing the kids and staff.
Mrs. Lorie Quist – Reading Specialist
Lorie Quist was born in York, NE but grew up in Colorado Springs, CO. She graduated from Doherty High School in Colorado Spring and went to Kansas State University earning a BS in Fisheries Biology, with a secondary major in Natural Resources and Environment Sciences. She met her husband while he was working on his Master’s Degree at Kansas State.
Mrs. Quist loves to bake, do crafts with her girls, wood working, teaching Sunday School and spending time with her family. Just this year she ran her first 5k and loved it.
Lorie has two daughters and her life revolves around them and their activities. She has one of the few Pudelpointers in town, an old German breed that was used in making German Wirehair pointers. His name is Teak because her husband is a wood worker and had to name his dog after something related to wood working. She is a diehard Kansas State fan and probably has the only car in town with a KSU logo on it.
She loves seeing all the kids that went to preschool with her daughters plus meeting all the kids she works with in Reading intervention.
Mr. Vince Rathbun – Day Custodian
Vince Rathbun works at McDonald Elementary as the day custodian. He was born and raised in Moscow, ID. His educational history includes Gunsmithing and USMC.
Vince interests includes his cats, hunting, fishing and just being outdoors. Mr. Rathbun proudly served in the USMC. He has one daughter, eight cats and a dog.
When asked what he loves most about working at McDonald Elementary he stated that he likes the people he works with.
Mrs. Valerie Roberts – SLP Assistant
Valerie Roberts completed all twelve years of public school in the Moscow School District and is a proud graduate of Moscow High School. Mrs. Roberts earned an associate degree from Lewis-Clark State College. Following a career of 35 years on staff at the University of Idaho, 28 of which were serving students and faculty in the College of Graduate Studies, she retired.
Mrs. Roberts has three children, all of whom graduated from Moscow High School, and always looks forward to spending time with their families, including the three grandchildren. Her husband is a bus driver for the Moscow School District and then is the chauffeur for the summer travels in their motorhome. She also likes sewing and doing home projects as well as being a percussionist in her church band.
Valerie believes there isn’t anything better than working with children. She is fulfilling her long time desire to work in elementary education and is excited to be a part of the Speech and Language program.
Mrs. Linda Rogers – Secretary
Linda Rogers was born in California, then moved to Elk River as a child when the road between Bovill and Elk River was still gravel! Her dad wanted to get away from all the people in CA at that time, and boy, did he! Soon after, the family moved to the country between Deary and Troy on a small farm. Wonderful place to grow up – Linda had her own horse, cows, cats, and dog. After graduation from high school, the University of Idaho was her next home. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics.
Linda and her husband have one daughter; she teaches kindergarten in Chicago’s Chinatown. Anything out of doors – animals, trees, yard work, and taking trips through our beautiful country are on the top of her list.
Mrs. Rogers has been a secretary at McDonald Elementary School since 1990. Before that, she was a secretary for an elementary school in the Whitepine School District for four years. The McDonald staff is great to work with and the children are fantastic!
Mrs. Jeanne Sanford – Library Assistant
Jeanne Sanford began her career at McDonald School in 2012 and joined the library in 2014. One of her favorite quotes by Dr. Seuss is “You’re Never Too Old, Too Wacky, Too Wild, To Pick Up a Book, and Read to a Child.”
Mrs. Shellie Schemmer – Special Education Assisant
Shellie Schemmer was born in West Seattle, WA. She likes anything at the beach, gardening and reading. She also likes picking berries and sailing.
Mrs. Schemmer has a dog named Chief who loves Linda Rogers’ treats each time he comes to visit McDonald. Shellie enjoys working with everyone at McDonald Elementary.
Mrs. Asha Sudheesh – Special Education Assistant
Asha Sudheesh was born and brought up in a beautiful town in southern India. After completing her Master’s Degree in Accounting, she taught the subject at the local high school to 11th and 12th graders
Her passion is teaching children and enriching their lives with compassion. In fact, both of her parents were teachers and teaching is a tradition in her family. Asha’s favorite hobby is to relax on the couch and watch talk shows.
Her biggest accomplishment is being a proud mom of two smart and beautiful girls.
Mrs. Sudheesh loves the wonderful people that she works with and the kids that make each day memorable.
Mr. Sean Sullivan – Special Education Assistant
Sean Sullivan was born in Simi Valley, CA. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 2000 and earned a degree in PE & School & Community Health Ed.
He worked as a PE teacher for five years in Ventura, CA and has worked throughout Moscow School District as a para professional. Sean loves the students, parents and the fun, supportive staff at McDonald Elementary.
Mrs. Karen Tripepi – Reading Specialist
Karen Tripepi was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She earned a B.S. Horticulture degree from Penn State, a B.S. Elementary Education from University of Idaho and a M. ED from University of Idaho.
She has been at McDonald Elementary since 2000, as a classroom teacher in fourth and sixth grade and a reading specialist since 2013. She loves seeing kids get excited about reading and talking to them about the books they are reading.
Outside of school, Mrs. Tripepi enjoys reading, traveling to new places and spending time with her family, especially her two little granddaughters.
Mrs. McKenzie Walker – Special Education Assistant
McKenzie Walker grew up on a farm in Southern Idaho (Hazelton, ID to be exact!) where she helped raise sugar beets, cattle and alfalfa hay.
McKenzie enjoys baking, running, reading, canoeing, hiking, learning new things, hanging out with family and traveling. When asked about something interesting about herself, Mrs. Walker said that she and her husband share the same first name. Last year they travelled to Thailand to work in orphanages. She also has a beautiful 8-month baby girl.
She enjoys discovering new ways to help the kids learn at McDonald Elementary.