Meet Our Staff

Deb Sixel

Deb Sixel

Administrator

I am Deb Sixel, Kiel Middle School principal and co-administrator for the Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. With 30+ years of experience in education, I’ve held roles as a teacher, principal, curriculum/technology coordinator, online teacher, and adjunct professor. I am excited to see the expansion of e-learning for elementary and middle school students! In my free time, I enjoy reading, traveling, cooking, and hiking the Ice Age Trail with my adult children.

Chad Ramminger

Chad Ramminger

Administrator

I am Chad Ramminger and I am an administrator for the Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I am excited to be part of this new journey for our students, parents and staff. I have been an administrator in the Kiel Area School district for 18 years and have the privilege to work at all levels within the district. I have three sons who enjoy sports and spending time outdoors. You will find me on the golf course when I have a free moment.

Katrina Pionek

Katrina Pionek

Program Leader & Elementary Local/Mentor Teacher

I am Katrina Pionek and I’m the Between the Lakes Virtual Academy’s Program Leader and Local Mentor/Teacher. I love working with students and their families to find a personal education plan that works for each individual student. I currently live on a dairy farm with my husband and two kids. I enjoy watching my kids play sports, perform in theater, and show their animals at the fair. My favorite pastime is watching the Green Bay Packers.
Chris Christopherson

Chris Christopherson

Middle School Local/Mentor Teacher

I am Chris Christopherson and I’m a mentor teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to meet you, give support, and help ensure a positive online learning experience. I have taught K-12 physical education and adaptive physical education for 10 years and have mentored online algebra courses for the past two years. I also have a Masters in Sports Administration and experience as an athletic director. When I’m not teaching or coaching athletics, I enjoy spending time with my wife and our son, playing golf, volleyball, hunting, and fishing.

Christine Clements

Christine Clements

Specials Coordinator

I am Christine Clements and am the Specials Coordinator for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been an elementary music teacher for 17 years. Besides teaching music, I am also a home-school mom of 3 children. When not teaching music or my family, I enjoy swimming, biking, cooking, writing, and am very involved at my church. Our family also enjoys outdoor activities, field trips, and spending time at home with our pets.
Cari Schmidt

Cari Schmidt

Kindergarten Teacher

I’m Cari Schmidt the Kindergarten teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I’ve been an educator for the past 28 years and find true joy and passion working with little ones. I’m excited to meet you and your family as we begin this journey together. I live in Manitowoc with my husband. We have three children and one grandchild. I love to ride my bike, golf and be near the water.

Sandra Weber

Sandra Weber

Kindergarten Teacher

I am Sandra Weber, the kindergarten teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching for 32 years and 26 of those years teaching kindergarten. I have a true passion for teaching and working with young children. I am excited to have this opportunity to work with your child and your family. When not teaching, I enjoy reading, watching movies, growing plants (especially orchids), and spending time with my daughter and pets.
Amanda Sieracki

Amanda Sieracki

1st Grade Teacher

I am Amanda Sieracki the first-grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching for 16 years in different capacities and am so excited to have this opportunity to work with your child and your family. I live in Manitowoc with my husband and 3 children. My children keep me busy with all of their activities. Whenever we get the chance, as a family, we love to travel! We are trying to hit all the national parks! During the summer, you will find us at our cottage or camping! I am excited for this virtual adventure!

Sarah Tegen

Sarah Tegen

1st Grade Teacher

My name is Sarah Tegen, and I am a first grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching for 21 years, 18 of those years in first grade. My greatest joy in teaching is watching my students grow and achieve great things each year. I am excited to be a part of your child’s virtual education. In my free time I enjoy watching my 3 children play sports, spending time with my family, relaxing on the lake, and I am an avid reader.
Sharon Driessen

Sharon Driessen

2nd Grade Teacher

I am Sharon Driessen the second-grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching for 26 years and am so excited to have this opportunity to work with your child and your family. I live in Fond du Lac and have 1 daughter. As a family, we love to bike, kayak, camp, read, and hike. During the summer, you will find us with our softball family at many different complexes throughout the state. I am excited to see where this learning adventure takes us!

Nicholas Propson

Nicholas Propson

2nd Grade Teacher

I’m Nick Propson a 2nd grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. This is my 15th year in education and I find true enjoyment working with the kids and watching learning take place. I’m excited to meet you and your family as we begin this journey together. I live in School Hill with my wife. We have two children. I love hunting, fishing and spending time in nature with my family.
Nancy Casper

Nancy Casper

3rd Grade Teacher

Hi, I’m Nancy Casper and will be the third-grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching for 23 years. 15 of those years have been in third grade and 8 have been in second. I am excited to be able to have this opportunity to work with you and your child. I feel that having a variety of learning opportunities for students makes for a successful educational process. I live outside of Kiel with my family. I have 3 daughters and one son. We spend much of our time enjoying many sporting activities.

Judy Meyer

Judy Meyer

3rd Grade Teacher

I am Judy Meyer one of the third grade teachers for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching for 21 years. The last 11 years as a 4K teacher. My main goal as a teacher is to instill a love of learning in each student I work with. I live in Kiel with my husband and daughter. As a family we put our love of learning to the test when we travel to different baseball stadiums around the country. We also hike, bike, garden, and enjoy Wisconsin sports teams.
Jenny Neils

Jenny Neils

4th Grade Teacher

My name is Jenny Neils, and I am a fourth grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have been teaching elementary students since 2003. I have a Bachelor of Science from UW-Green Bay and a Master’s Degree in Education from Cardinal Stritch University. I live in Kiel with my husband and two daughters. I also coach basketball and softball. I love being outside, especially when playing sports with my family.
Karen Propson

Karen Propson

4th Grade Teacher

I am Karen Propson and I’m the fourth-grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I love working with fourth graders and am excited to meet your child and family. I have taught fourth grade for 11 years and have a master’s degree in educational technology. I currently live in School Hill with my two children and husband. I love watching my children play sports, participate in scouts, and dance. Whenever we get the chance we head to our cabin in Wausaukee, Wisconsin.

Jennifer Garty

Jennifer Garty

5th Grade Teacher

My name is Jennifer Garty, and I’m the fifth-grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have my Bachelor of Science from Cardinal Stritch University, with minors in both Mathematics and English, and an Associate degree in Arts and Sciences. I have my Master’s degree from Concordia University of Wisconsin, with my 316 Reading Teachers License, and my 317 Reading Specialist License. I have taught for the past 13 years, at both the elementary and middle school levels, and absolutely love it. Working with kids is a passion of mine. When not teaching, I enjoy being active, rummage saling, fishing, reading, traveling, and spending time with my husband and two kids.

Mary Lamberson

Mary Lamberson

6th Grade Teacher

My name is Mary Lamberson, and I am thrilled to be a 6th grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity International University and am currently working towards a Math Specialist Certificate. For the majority of my 8 year teaching career, I have had the joy of teaching 6th grade Math, Science, and Language Arts. I am deeply passionate about supporting and encouraging students on their learning journeys! When I am not teaching, I love to cook, garden, read, enjoy nature, and spend time with friends and family.
Tavia Manz

Tavia Manz

6th grade Social Studies Teacher

Hello! My name is Tavia Manz and I will be the 6th Grade Social Studies teacher for Between the Lake Virtual Academy! I am super excited to be teaching this as it is a new adventure for me! This is my 8th year as a Special Education teacher for 5th and 6th grade at Kiel Middle School. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree from Lakeland University in Sheboygan and my Special Education Degree from St. Mary’s College in Minnesota. I have 2 children, my son will be a senior and my daughter will be a sophomore, both at Kiel High School. My family and I live in Kiel as well. In my free time I love to take walks through the beautiful nature trails in Kiel and read. I also love going to watch my children play sports.
Kari Migacz

Kari Migacz

6th grade Science Teacher

My name is Kari Migacz, and I’m the Sixth Grade Science teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have my Bachelor of Science from Lakeland University, with a minor in Social Studies. I have been teaching in Kiel since 2006 and have taught Social Studies, Science, and Math. When not teaching, I am usually found with a book or hanging out with my family.
Bridget August

Bridget August

7th grade ELA Teacher

My name is Bridget August and I’m excited to be a 7th Grade ELA teacher at Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have over 25 years of experience teaching at both the elementary and middle school levels. I have a passion for helping students become lifelong readers. I’m excited to work with you and your child as we explore the worlds of reading and writing. I received my education through the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Cardinal Stritch University. I live in the Kiel community with my husband, daughters and 2 dogs. When I’m not at school you’ll likely find me cheering on my daughters at their sporting events, reading, scrapbooking, walking, or traveling.
Melissa Ebert

Melissa Ebert

7th grade Science Teacher

My name is Melissa Ebert, and I am the 7th grade Science teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have a General Education Teaching license, Curriculum and Instruction license, as well as an Administrative Leadership license. I have been teaching since 2007. I have taught social studies, literacy, as well as held a coaching position for several years. When I am not in the classroom I am spending time reading, dancing, and camping with my family.
Mackenzi Schwarz

Mackenzi Schwarz

7th Grade Social Studies Teacher

My name is Mackenzi Schwarz and I am the 7th grade social studies teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have a Bachelors of Arts from UW Eau Claire. I have a secondary education teaching license with an emphasis in social studies and history. I have taught since 2012, and have had the privilege of teaching both World and American history. I currently live in Kiel with my husband, daughter, and another baby on the way!
Alice Wanty

Alice Wanty

7th Grade ELA and Math Teacher

My name is Alice Wanty and I will be teaching 7th grade Language Arts and 7th grade math for Between the Lakes. I am a middle and high school math and English teacher. I have been teaching since 1994. When I am not teaching, I love spending time with my family kayaking, fishing, hiking, skiing, and having adventures.
Emily Wegner

Emily Wegner

7th Grade Math Teacher

My name is Emily Wegner and I am the 7th Grade Math teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I got my Bachelors of Science in Education at Marian University, with minors in Mathematics and English. I began teaching in 2008 and have held positions at both the elementary and middle school levels. I have a love for learning and am excited to share that with my students! When I’m not teaching, I enjoy cooking, traveling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
John LeBlanc

John LeBlanc

8th Grade Teacher

My name is John LeBlanc and I am an 8th grade teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy, teaching Social Studies, Math, and English Language Arts. I graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a Master’s Degree in education, focusing on both Leadership and Innovation. I currently live in Slinger, WI with my wife, Lisa and our four children. I am also the Varsity Head Coach for the Horicon Girls Basketball team.
Paula Emme

Paula Emme

8th Grade ELA Teacher

I am Paula Emme, and I will be teaching Communication Arts for grade 8 at the Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I am in my 30th year of teaching. The last 29 years I have spent at Kiel Middle School – I taught Social Studies and Communication Arts in Grade 7 for seven years and then moved to Grade 8 where I have been teaching Social Studies or Communication Arts. I graduated from Silver Lake College and obtained a Masters in Education at Lakeland College. I enjoy supporting my husband who is a mountain bike and dirt bike racer and also spending time with my family. I am looking forward to this teaching and learning opportunity.

Randy Koppenhaver

Randy Koppenhaver

8th grade Science Teacher

I am Randy Koppenhaver, the middle school science teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have taught all core subjects at the middle school level for the past 30 years. I also have a Master’s in Educational Leadership. I currently reside in a rural area of Wisconsin nicknamed the “Holyland” with my wife and three daughters. As a family, we enjoy camping and kayaking.
Brenda Schmitz

Brenda Schmitz

8th Grade Math Teacher

I am very excited to be the eighth-grade math teacher for the Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have thirty years of experience teaching both at the elementary and middle school level. I have a passion for teaching and get excited when students learn. I look forward to getting to know the Between the Lakes Academy students and their families. When I am not teaching, I enjoy traveling, cooking, going for walks, reading, crafting, gardening, and spending time with my husband and two sons.

Katie Thibeault

Katie Thibeault

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

My name is Katie Thibeault and I am an 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I have my Bachelor of Science from U.W. Green Bay in Education, with a minor in History. I have been a teacher at Kiel High School since 2009 in the Social Studies Department. Classes I have taught over the years are U.S. History, World History, Human Behavior, American Government, and World Geography. When I am not teaching, I love to be with my family, read, and spend time outside. Our family spends a lot of time at our family cottage kayaking, swimming, or paddle boarding.

Rita Liliyquist

Rita Liliyquist

ESL Teacher

My name is Rita Lilyquist. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education (grades 1-9) with a minor in English from Lakeland University. I have nearly 25 years experience teaching grades K-8 both in public and private schools and my own children via homeschooling. I have spent the past 3 years as a Virtual ESL Teacher. I look forward to meeting you and your family and assisting in this journey! I reside in Plymouth with my husband, two kids, and a goldendoodle named Bentley. When I’m not teaching, you will find me attending local high school sporting events, playing board games with my family, or cheering on the Bucks, Packers, and Brewers.
Sheila Ramminger

Sheila Ramminger

MS Visual Arts Teacher

Hello and Welcome! I am Sheila Ramminger, and I am excited to serve you as a Visual Arts teacher for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy and Kiel eSchool. I will be teaching MS 2D Studio Art, Drawing, Beginning Painting, and Digital Photography. I have a K-12 Art Education License and my Master’s Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction license, Director of Pupil Services license, and Administrative Leadership license.

I have been teaching since 1996, and am in 18th year at Kiel High school. Over my 24 years teaching I have had the true pleasure of teaching Art to students at all grade levels as well as some adult education classes. I am the Head Coach for Kiel High School Girls Tennis Team. Outside of teaching and coaching you will find me spending time with my husband and 3 kids, friends and family.

Olivia Durant

Olivia Durant

Teacher

Hello! My name is Olivia Durant. I’m so excited to serve you as an educator for Between the Lakes Virtual Academy. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from William Woods University in Missouri. I’ve been an educator for 6 years. For four of those years, I most recently taught at Leonardo da Vinci School for Gifted Children in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My position was in 4th grade ELA and content along with teaching varying math levels from 4th grade to 8th grade. I’m anxious to meet you and assist you on this journey of virtual learning. I live in Green Bay with my husband, two kids (Sutton, 2 years and Tatum, 7 months) and our 4 year old Goldendoodle, Piper. We love to spend time with family, travel and participate in any outdoor activities.
Jess Gruenke

Jess Gruenke

Teacher

Hello and welcome to Between the Lakes Virtual Academy! I am Jess Gruenke, kindergarten and one of the 5th-grade teachers. I am excited to have your child in our class. My goal is to ensure that students reach their full potential, embrace challenges, and connect with others.

I am a National Board Certified Teacher, and also completed my Masters degree in educational leadership. My WI certification is in General (k-8) and Special Education (k-12). I worked as a high school Special Education teacher for three years in Vancouver, WA, and then nine more years at Kiel High School before I changed paths to open a yoga studio and stay home with my daughter.

Teaching mindfulness to students, tutoring elementary kids, and mentoring teachers kept me connected to student learning. Now, I am excited to return to a “classroom” with you.

My husband, daughter, dog, and I all enjoy finding new adventures and experiences.

Lastly, together we are going to make it a great year!

Our Mission

It is the mission of the Between the Lakes Virtual Academy to provide student access to a challenging, high-quality, curriculum, in a flexible home environment. The Between the Lakes Virtual Academy provides a standards-based, online or blended instructional program through a personalized learning approach.