Leah Kaeppe, Kindergarten


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Leah Kaeppe began her tenure at St. Ambrose in 2010. Before joining the staff here, Mrs. Kaeppe was a reading teacher in Wisconsin, where she worked with at-risk learners and advanced readers in kindergarten and first grade. She graduated with honors from Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

Mrs. Kaeppe realized in college that she wanted to focus on teaching after she signed up for a class called “Intro to Kindergarten”. She knew within the first week of class that she had not only found her future career – she had found her passion and her calling. She believes that all people are learners; in constant balance between teaching and learning within the classroom environment. Mrs. Kaeppe strives to create a fluid, responsive community within her classroom – one in which everyone is respectful to one another and grows together. Her favorite moment in teaching kindergarten is when each student realizes that he or she is reading.

She loves watching each child make the connection that they ARE a reader, whether it is picture reading or reading to themselves. Mrs. Kaeppe values being able to share her Catholic faith with her students and fellow staff members. She is an avid reader and enjoys gathering new information to share with her students – whether it’s a new type of spider or a new way to explore words.

“Kindergarten children teach me something new or remind me of something that I have forgotten along my life journey just about every day. This is their first experience in a traditional school setting, and they come to me with a blunt and honest innocence that adults have long since forgotten. I am blessed to be their teacher and their student for that year and in that moment.” – Leah Kaeppe

Caroline Kinne, Kindergarten


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Mrs. Kinne’s experience encompasses working as a preschool aide, pupil support assistant, private tutor, substitute teacher, remedial teacher, kindergarten teacher and first grade teacher. She has been on the staff at St. Ambrose since 2006. Mrs. Kinne has a B.A. in Elementary Education and Specific Learning Disabilities from St. Mary’s University and a Kindergarten Certification from the College of St. Catherine.

When Mrs. Kinne entered college, she knew that she wanted to serve others and felt that going into education would allow her to use her creativity, organization and patience to serve others. She believes her role as an educator is to make her students feel safe, welcomed and valued. She strives to build a classroom community where children respect one another, treat one another fairly and do their best. Mrs. Kinne’s favorite lesson is “what is prayer?” – students learn that if they want God as a friend, prayer is the way to build that relationship. As the year progresses, students discover the power of prayer in their own lives and the lives of other people.

Mrs. Kinne enjoys being a part of the St. Ambrose community. She feels that teaching at a Catholic school provides children with a unique environment for living their faith, and the sense of community that comes from shared values enhances communications and goal setting among students, teachers, parents and administration. Mrs. Kinne has been married for 29 years and has three grown boys. She enjoys reading, collecting children’s literature and gardening. She also is active in her home parish and is currently serving as a Eucharistic Minister.

“Working with kindergarten students for the past 20 years, I have learned that five- and six-year-olds have many similarities, but all of my students are unique individuals. Their challenges become my challenges. All of the challenges I have encountered increase my knowledge and repertoire of teaching strategies. Each year, my students make great gains emotionally, academically and spiritually. In turn, I grow right along with them and am grateful for the journey.” – Caroline Kinne

Jordan Penning, Kindergarten


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Jordan Penning received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Psychology from Saint Thomas University. She taught 4th grade at Saint Ambrose and is in her 2nd year of teaching kindergarten. She is excited to be the newest member of the kindergarten team. She has also taught Sunday school and volunteered through the Tutor Mentor program while at Saint Thomas.

Mrs. Penning strives to create a classroom environment that is warm, safe, inviting and lots of fun. She wants to make sure each student feels like they belong and that they can freely share their ideas in class. She believes that every student is capable of learning when they are given the right tools and that her job is to know all of her students and how they can learn best. She feels each student brings something unique and special to the classroom.

Mrs. Penning really enjoys teaching reading. She loves books and thinks they are amazing tools in the classroom. One of her favorite things it to watch as a student gets hooked and falls in love with characters in their favorite books. Mrs. Penning enjoys incorporating her faith with teaching and is excited to be part of a Catholic school. She loves the collaboration between staff and parents and feels it’s great for parents to get involved with their child’s education.When she’s not at school, Mrs. Penning enjoys children’s literature and getting outside to enjoy Minnesota’s diverse seasons!

“What I have learned from working with students is that teaching is the most rewarding job you will ever do. Students will surprise you every day with their creativity and enthusiasm for learning. There is never a dull moment in the classroom!” - Jordan Penning