Sean Jones, Fourth Grade
Sean Jones first started teaching at Saint Ambrose in 2006, and is thrilled to be teaching fourth grade. Mr. Jones earned his Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts and Elementary Education from Hamline University, and has completed coursework toward his Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas.
Mr. Jones’ interest in teaching grew out of his experience working at the Minnesota Children's Museum for several years, as well as his experience teaching youth theatre classes for various organizations, including the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth, where he taught for 12 years. He loves incorporating his theatre experience into the classroom setting as a means for 'bringing the curriculum to life', as well as a tool for building a strong sense of community in the classroom where children feel safe to take risks and explore.
Mr. Jones loves teaching the middle grades because he believes it is a transitional point academically for students. He believes that fourth grade, especially, is such an amazing year because students truly begin applying the skills they've learned in the primary grades to dive deeply into content that explores the world around them. He loves the natural curiosity and brilliant questions that fourth graders always seem to have! Mr. Jones works hard to facilitate an environment where students can explore these questions and develop learning skills through differentiated instruction, individual and group work, and engaging, hands-on classroom activities.
Mr. Jones loves teaching at Saint Ambrose because of the strong collaboration of the entire Saint Ambrose community (church, parents and teachers) that plays a part in educating the students. He also believes that the Catholic Schools do a wonderful job of focusing on the whole child by working not only on academics, but also on faith, social and character development.
In his free time, Mr. Jones enjoys spending as much time as he can with his wife and three young boys. Reading, downhill skiing, fishing, and watching hockey are some of his favorite activities.
"I love teaching because every day is a chance to inspire children to learn something about the world or about themselves that they did not know before. In turn, the energy and never-ending curiosity of my students inspires me to do the same. It is a fun relationship that makes it fun to come to school each day!" – Sean Jones
Abigail Zinke, Fourth Grade
Abigail Zinke is a recent graduate of Saint Mary’s University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, as well as a 5th grade - 8th grade math and science endorsement. Before graduating, she worked as a tutor at Saint Mary’s literacy clinic. She also spent many hours in the classroom working with students, including spending time in a kindergarten classroom, teaching math in Saint Ambrose’s junior high and also teaching in a science classroom in Saint Charles. Ms. Zinke also has worked as a Faith Formation teacher at Saint Ambrose.
Ms. Zinke’s interest in teaching grew out of her own education, which started here at Saint Ambrose. She credits her teachers at Saint Ambrose, along with her high school teachers, for inspiring her to become a teacher herself. She wants her students to learn through active, hands-on, student-centered and authentic experiences, which she feels requires flexibility, creativity, and open mindedness. She thinks it’s essential to educate the whole child and this involves building relationships with her students. Her teaching philosophy respects the dignity of every student by caring for them and adapting to their learning needs. She works to differentiate her teaching so students will be able to reach their full potential. Ms. Zinke strives to create an environment where students are collaborating, learning and engaging with one another through hands on experiences. Most importantly, she wants to create a classroom environment where children are excited, eager, and on fire to learn.
Catholic education is important to Ms. Zinke. She enjoys teaching at a Catholic school because it allows her to teach her students about Christ, and help them grow in their faith. She also feels that the small class sizes found at a Catholic school allows teachers to build on-one relationships with students, helping to deepen their knowledge and teach them good morals. She firmly believes Catholic education helped her build good character, develop morals and influence the world in a Christian manner, which has led her closer to God.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Zinke loves to volunteer, and has spent time serving in soup kitchens, packing food through Feed My Starving Children and taking other volunteer opportunities that arise when she can. She also loves music and plays piano and guitar, and has also been a member of the Saint Ambrose choir since she was in second grade. She loves to incorporate music into learning.
“What I have learned from working with students is that every student has a hidden talent and brings something special to the classroom community. Not all students learn the same, and I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. Moreover, I have learned that no lesson is going to go perfectly as planned, and being flexible is part of the job. Furthermore, I have learned that building off of student’s knowledge, and interest really helps engage them and inspires them to want to learn more.” - Abigail Zinke
Anna Flynn, Fourth Grade
Anna Flynn teaches fourth grade and comes to Saint Ambrose after student teaching 4th grade in Saint Paul. Ms. Flynn attended Saint Catherine University where she received her degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in pre-primary and STEM.
Ms. Flynn has wanted to teach since she was a child. She credits the teachers she had during her school career with influencing her to be a teacher, so she could make a difference in other students’ lives the way her teachers impacted hers. As soon as she began her education courses at Saint Catherine’s and began doing her field work in the classroom, she knew she was in the right field.
She strives to create an inclusive environment in her classroom where there is a sense of community and where students are free to take risks and try new things. Her teaching philosophy would be students are lifelong learners and everyone learns in different ways. She loves to teach reading to her students and enjoys leading guided book groups. Ms. Flynn grew up attending Catholic school and teaching at Saint Ambrose feels like home to her. She loves that staff can focus on teaching the whole student in order to prepare them for life outside of the classroom.
When she’s not in the classroom, Ms. Flynn loves spending time with her family, friends and her dog, Sullivan, as well as traveling to new places, exploring the outdoors, baking and reading.
“What I have learned from working with students is to treat everyone as an individual. We all have our own learning styles, prior knowledge and background, and it’s most important to get to know each student to best meet their needs.” - Anna Flynn