New and returning teachers welcomed to Columbia Heights High School
Story by Greta Wilson, Co-Editor-Chief
As a new school year begins, we welcome not only hundreds of new students but new teachers and staff too! Look on to learn more about the new employees of Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) joining our team.
Marc Jerue (he/him)
Mr. Jerue has taught Spanish at CHHS for eight years. He returned this year after taking a leave of absence. He has a couple of kids at home and does a lot of chasing after them! Jerue’s favorite Heights tradition is the grade-level battlecries at the pep fests throughout the year. He is excited to get to know the new staff and students.
Jessica Kiel-Wornson (she/her)
Ms. Kiel-Wornson joins the art department at CHHS teaching Basic Design and Media Arts. She has developed her skills by practicing at home as well as teaching at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and at the University of Illinois. Kiel-Wornson loves spending her time practicing art and teaching it, but she also enjoys gardening with the children in her neighborhood and reading novels. Ms. Kiel-Wo...
Jill Passage (she/her)
Ms. Passage has been working in the Heights District ever since 2004 and is returning this year after taking a three year break that began in 2019. Passage has taught a variety of English classes as well as EL classes. Growing up, Passage did not expect to become a teacher but wanted to learn from a teachers perspective after being in the Peace Corps. She started on a Navajo Reservations, moved to...
Carrie Trnjanin (she/her)
Ms Trnjanin is now part of the Admin Team! She is the ninth grade dean. Trnjanin has been in Columbia Heights for eight years. She loves watching sports and spending time with her four year old daughter. Along with many other staff, Trnjanin loves all of the spirit weeks. She is also very excited to work with all of the students and staff this school year.
Adam Ward (he/him)
You are likely to see Mr. Ward all around the hallways as he teaches and co-teaches many classes such as English, civics and biology. Specifically, he is a Special Education teacher. Mr. Ward enjoys exercising and playing League of Legends, as well as playing the piano. In high school, Ward was a football player and a band student, so homecoming was always a very fun and special week to him! ...
Jennifer Switalla (she/her)
The new addition to the science department is Ms. Switalla, who teaches biology and environmental science. Ms. Switalla loves spending time outdoors rock climbing and gardening as well as baking. Originally, Ms. Switalla was planning on being a nurse but switched to teaching. She loved spirit weeks in school and the communities she was able to build.
Dean Larimer (he/him)
Mr. Larimer is a new physical education teacher at CHHS. He grew up in the Twin Cities and has now returned. Larimer taught social studies for 26 years and PE for 14. He enjoys traveling and even traveled to Europe with his sons just a couple of years ago. Larimer is excited for the new opportunities at Heights and experiencing a much bigger school than his last!
Jessica Nelson (she/her)
Ms. Nelson started in Heights teaching ENCORE this summer and realized that she had a passion for teaching English via the Special Education department. On top of teaching, she loves to cook and bake as well as spend time with family. Ms. Nelson is excited to grow alongside her students and eventually attend their graduation and witness the seniors accomplish their goals. ...
Andrew Dettle (he/him)
Mr. Dettle is our new social worker at CHHS. He went to the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire for his bachelor’s and then to the University of Wisconsin—Madison for a degree in Social Work. Some things that Mr. Dettle loves to do include spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, watching and playing sports. In general, he loves meeting and helping others, so feel free to say hi ...