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Lisa Menninger to fill new special education position at Hancock School

There are times when Mom really is right. Sometimes it takes a while to figure that out but many young people eventually own up to the fact.

Lisa Menninger, the new special education teacher at Hancock Public School, willingly admits that her mother was right about her future profession. Her mother, an educator for 32 years, always told her that she would make a good teacher. However, Lisa stubbornly refused to admit it.

Lisa grew up in Chicago, Ill. where she graduated from high school in 2000. She then attended the University of Illinois in Chicago and did undergraduate work in Psychology. Her first job was working with adults with disabilities. After a year in that program, she decided to get her master's in Special Education.

During this time, Lisa also worked as a permanent sub at a therapeutic day school for students with emotional disabilities. She then did her student teaching for sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the Chicago Public School system.

Lisa met her husband Christopher Atkinson while in college. When Chris was given the opportunity to spend a year at Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., Lisa followed and spent the year teaching at a self-contained kindergarten special ed school in Oakland, Calif.

When the year was over, the couple moved to Philadelphia where she taught three years in an alternative school at the high school level. This past year, her husband was offered a job teaching math at the University of Minnesota, Morris which brought them to this area. Lisa is excited to find a job teaching in a small school setting which is similar to many of the positions she has held over the years.

Lisa's position in Hancock is new. She will be joining Kayla Rinkenberger and Jamie Draper in the special ed department and her focus will be on the middle school age students.

Her plan is to utilize her past experiences in working with her students. She will be getting to know each individual and developing a plan for their education. She also hopes to work closely with the parents of the students because she realizes that the parents are the experts on their child. She plans to stay in touch with the parents on a regular basis.

By getting to know the parents, she will also be getting to know the community. She is very happy to be here in what she describes as a friendly and beautiful area. She felt the towns in the midwest are charming and she is looking forward to meeting the students and their families.

She admits that the town is a bit smaller than what she is used to but feels the people of Chicago had the same midwestern friendly attitudes. The climates will also be very similar so the cold Minnesota winters don't worry her a bit.

When Lisa is not teaching, you may find her running. She is an avid runner and is currently training for the Twin Cities marathon. She hopes to join a running club such as the one in Morris and get involved with their program. She also likes to go ice skating and was a swimmer in high school.

Lisa noted that the turning point in her career toward special ed was when she worked with a child with autism during her college days. She also did a lot of tutoring for other students during high school and enjoyed those experiences. She soon began to notice and become inspired by her mother's teaching career and decided that mom was right. Education is the right choice for her career and she looks forward to expanding on that career at the Hancock Public School.