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Kierstin Nygaard will be teaching Phy Ed and Health in Hancock this year

The small size of the Hancock community and school will be a new experience for the new physical education and health teacher but Kierstin Nygaard is looking forward to it. Nygaard grew up in Scandia, which Nygaard considers a small town, but graduated from Forest Lake high school with a class of over 600.

Forest Lake is located northeast of the Cities and the town of Scandia is a smaller town near there. She compared it to the size of Morris and is also in a rural area. Her parents and one sister, who is a senior in high school, still live in Scandia.

In high school, Nygaard played hockey and was involved in track. When she went on to college at Concordia in Moorhead, she continued to participate in track where she threw the shot put, discus and hammer. Her track experience is what brought her to this area.

After graduating in December of 2011 with a double major in phy ed and health and a coaching minor, Nygaard got a job as an interim assistant track coach at the University of Minnesota, Morris. She held that position this last spring and applied for the job in Hancock this summer.

In Hancock, Nygaard will be teaching kindergarten through twelfth grade phy ed and junior high health courses. She will also be the head track coach next spring. She hopes to integrate some new ideas into the teaching program but at first would like to simply learn what has been done in the past and sort of 'get her feet wet.'

Like many other new teachers, Nygaard choose her profession because of the example of someone special in her life. For Nygaard, it was her mother, who has been a second grade teacher at a school in Forest Lake for many years. Nygaard always felt like she belonged in the school system and loved to accompany her mother when prepping her classroom in late summer and even on a few field trips when younger.

When not teaching or coaching, you might find Nygaard simply doing anything outdoors. She loves biking and spending time outside. She also enjoys traveling during the summer when there is no school.

Nygaard is looking forward to her first teaching position and has heard many good things about the school system and support system in Hancock. She is excited to start teaching and to become a part of this community.