Faculty and Staff
Principal, Middle School Math
Steve Gettelman became Grace Lutheran School’s principal in 2013 after seven years of various educational roles at Grace. A graduate of Concordia University–Wisconsin with a degree in Secondary Education–Math, Mr. Gettleman started his Grace tenure as the seventh- and eighth-grade homeroom teacher, middle school math teacher, physical education teacher and Athletic Director. He continues to teach math to our fifth through eighth graders, and he coaches boys’ basketball and co-ed track and field.
Teachers and Staff
The daughter of a librarian, Mrs. Pankow is a book lover who shares that enthusiasm with her students. Featuring an extensive library in her room, she rotates the books she uses throughout the year to align with the themes the children are learning about. Mrs. Pankow employs a number of reading strategies to make reading fun and exciting for her students. She also teaches children about forgiveness, how to take ownership of mistakes, and how to learn from those mistakes to make better choices. Mrs. Pankow is also the Theater Club leader, directing the students’ theatrical production each spring.
Jennifer Mendez began teaching at Grace in the 2016-2017 school year. A graduate of Concordia University, Mrs. Mendez is an inspiring, well-organized instructor that puts the students’ needs and interests at the forefront of her lessons. She is agile in determining ways to make her lessons impactful, and is innovative in introducing classroom incentives that reward good behavior. In addition to in-classroom instruction, Mrs. Mendez is also active with leading Lego Club and helping out in Wrap-Around Care.
Mrs. Taggatz is a graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin and has taught at various levels with the majority of her classroom experience being at the 1st/2nd grade level. She joined the faculty at Grace for the 2020-21 school year when her family relocated to the area after her husband, Reverend John Taggatz, took a Call to serve at Grace as Pastor. Mrs. Taggatz enjoys helping her students develop and grow both academically and spiritually.
Mr. Hengst (Mr. H.) is a graduate from Concordia University Wisconsin and is returning to his roots as he also attended Grace Lutheran from 4k to 8th grade. He is very excited to join the faculty at Grace and will bring a lot of energy to the classroom. Many of the students have had the opportunity to meet Mr. Hengst through our Summer Camp or Wrap-Around Care programs at Grace. The Love of Jesus and education is evident in his interactions with the students that he works with on a daily basis.
Mrs. DeVries recently joined the faculty at Grace to become the 3rd Grade teacher. She brings many years of teaching experience to the classroom with the bulk of her time being spent at this level. We are very excited to have her as part of the team at Grace.
4th Grade, Middle School Art, Physical Education, Athletic Director
Mrs. Heinen intertwines structure and respect for all with a fun and active classroom environment. Her students know that they can succeed through hard work, as well as learn from their mistakes. The fourth graders at Grace particularly enjoy her culture unit for reading, which includes cooking and learning words in other languages. In the middle school art program, students learn about positive and negative space, shading, and dimension, as well as working with multiple types of media. At the end of each year, all of our young artists showcase their work in our annual Art Gallery Night. Additionally, Mrs. Heinen leads fun summer programs at Grace, which continue to rise in popularity.
7th-8th Grade, 3rd-8th Grade Science, 4K-8th Grade Computers
Mrs. Hagar is a proponent of hands-on, active learning, particularly with her science classes. Some of the students’ favorite lessons include using ice cream sundaes to show how the different layers of earth come together or putting paint on speakers so that the students can not only hear sound but see it move. The computer lab continues to thrive under Mrs. Hagar, who incorporates many different programs into the curriculum, including interactive games designed to improve math, science and English skills, introductory coding programs, blogging, and more. Mrs. Hagar holds an Elementary Education degree from Concordia University–Wisconsin with an emphasis on environmental science. She helps with our middle school youth group and student council and is an assistant coach for volleyball and track & field.
5th-6th Grade, Middle School Language Arts, Middle School Social Studies, 4K-8th Grade Music
As the fifth- and sixth-grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Hengst applies the Bible to today and makes it relevant for the world our children live in. She does the same with social studies by having the students learn history through fun projects and interactive activities, and in English, they work on core grammar skills, novel studies, and creative writing. As our all school music teacher, Mrs. Hengst introduces our students to simple instruments like the triangle, maracas, and hand bells. The students often sing as part of Sunday morning worship services, participate in our yearly Christmas program, and perform at the yearly Spring Concert. Aside from her in-school activities, Mrs. Hengst also provides private piano lessons after school and is our church organist/pianist. She has a degree in Elementary Education from Concordia University–Wisconsin and is certified through the state of Wisconsin in K-12 music education and 1-8 elementary education. She is also a graduate of Grace Lutheran School.
4K Teacher’s Aide
Mrs. Kuffel serves as our 4K teacher’s aide. She is in the classroom five days per week supporting our 4K students. She brings many years of experience to the classroom as she helps our 4K students learn and grow during their initial school experience.
5K Teacher’s Aide
Mrs. Tindall serves as our 5K teacher’s aide. She is in the classroom five days a week with our 5K students. Her knowledge in the classroom provides a very strong support resource for our young of students. Not only is Mrs. Tindall on the staff at Grace, but she is also a parent of children within the school and a member of our PTLS and recruitment committee.
1st/2nd Teacher’s Aide
Ms. Payne serves as our 1st/2nd teacher’s aide. She is in the classroom five days a week supporting the students as they learn and explore new things. She is a graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin and has been supporting classroom teachers for over a decade in various capacities.
Ms. Dena, as the students know her, joined the staff at Grace in January 2017. Prior to coming to Grace she served as a teacher’s aide in a neighboring Lutheran school. Ms. She and her husband have three children who all attend Lutheran schools. Her children are very involved in athletics, which keeps the whole family moving on the weekends. When she is not busy with family and church, you can often find her behind the lens of her camera, scrapbooking, card making, or doing other crafts.