Madeline Strenke, new seventh, eighth and ninth-grade English teacher, never choose education as her career path.
But with her mom a retired choir teacher and her older sister a U.S. History teacher, becoming a teacher was something she always knew she was meant to do.
“I’ve been surrounded by strong educators my entire life, and I’ve definitely been influenced by them as well as many other teachers along the way.”
Strenke was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and graduated from Harrisburg High School in 2016. From there, she went on to the University of Minnesota, Morris where, in 2020, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English as well as a 5-12 Communication, Arts, and Literature teaching licensure.
Before she came started at Cleveland, she taught seventh-grade ELA in Pierre, SD for two years and eighth-grade ELA in Isanti, MN for one year.
She chose to teach at Cleveland because she immediately felt a strong sense of community here.
“It was a community I knew I wanted to be a part of. For me, it was an obvious choice.”
Strenke loves to teach academic writing, even though as a student, she detested writing essays.
“I was a perfectionist, and I didn’t ever feel like I was doing it right. I would get stuck trying to find the perfect wording and couldn’t let myself move on. Combine that with the fact that I’ve always been a procrastinator, and I had many late nights and early mornings as a high school and college student.”
But in her junior year of college, all of that changed.
“I took a course called, ‘Understanding Writing,’ and it changed my entire point of view. I learned how to combat all those issues I’d faced as a student, and I learned how to help my future students do the same. Ever since, I’ve always been extremely passionate about teaching writing.”
Strenke's passion for teaching has not gone unnoticed. Last year, a parent of one of her students nominated her for the “Above and Beyond Award” at Isanti Middle School.
“It was my first year in the school district, so it meant the world to me to know that I was making a noticeable difference in my students’ lives.”
Strenke got married to her husband Vaughn in July of this year. The couple moved to Elysian at the beginning of August so he could start flight school in Owatonna and she could begin working in her classroom at Cleveland.
“We haven’t lived here long, but we’ve already fallen in love with the area.”
When she is not in her classroom, Strenke likes to read, of course. She also enjoys knitting, baking and spending time with her friends and family. She likes lake days and going on hikes with her husband and their black lab/Doberman mixed dog, Remi.