Beetle Rank (click any name or photo to email a staff member)
4th - 8th Grade Art
Mrs. Rank teaches art in grades 4-8. Her flexible teaching style is perfect for fostering student creativity. She explains the goals of a project and gives loose guidelines, but let students experiment with how to get to the results they envision. She exposes students to a large range of media, including drawing and painting media, sculpture and pottery, and textiles and knitting.
One of the things that Mrs. Rank is particularly good at is fostering an appreciation for great art, through study of the European masters to very contemporary American artists. To tie the artists they’ve been studying back into their own work, all of Mrs. Rank’s middle school art students choose, develop and present their own quarterly art projects, based on one of the artists they have been studying. In 4th and 5th grade art, the focus is on art from a variety of cultures around the world.
Mrs. Rank has been teaching at First Immanuel since 1996. She lives in Cedarburg with her husband, Scott. Her oldest daughter is married, lives in Milwaukee and works in making, another daughter is an elementary teacher in Stoughton and a son who is in the Masters in Hospital Administration program at the University of Iowa. All three of her children are FILS graduates!
“God has created a magnificent world and I enjoy sharing my insight into God’s beautiful creations with young artists. All students need to appreciate the aesthetic gifts and talents with which we have all been blessed.”
Kindergarten - 8th Grade Music
Mrs. Grabenhofer has taught for 20 years. Although she has always loved music, she began her career as a fifth grade teacher before getting her Master’s in Music Education in 2004. One of the things she really enjoys about teaching music is that she gets classroom time with every student in the school, and gets to see how each child develops musically, academically, spiritually and socially as they go from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Mrs. Grabenhofer utilizes the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education. This method helps children discover and appreciate music doing things children like to do: sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance, and keep a beat on anything near at hand. Orff Schulwerk uses both traditional and original poems, rhymes, games, songs, and dances as examples and basic materials. Older children begin learning the recorder and rhythm instruments, and explore world music, the Western European Masters, and American Jazz and Blues. Mrs. Grabenhofer’s music room is a non-competitive atmosphere where one of the rewards is the pleasure of making good music with others.
Mrs. Grabenhofer leads the choirs of First Immanuel, including the Jubilate Choir, Chapel Bells and the King’s Players (a recorder ensemble). When she’s not at FIL or spending time with her husband, Tim, she participates in two professional music ensembles: the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble and Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt (PTL), which is a German dance troupe based in Friestadt, WI.
"Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of languarge combine with the gift of song was given to man that that he should proclaim the Word of God through Music."
Algebra & Geometry
Mrs. Meyer is very skilled at differentiated learning--she challenges students at their level, whether the student needs extra help or is very advanced. When she teaches the advanced math classes for 7th and 8th graders, she encourages students to challenge themselves, and think and problem-solve independently.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Meyer is involved in many extracurricular activities. She leads First Immanuel’s MATHCOUNTS team. MATHCOUNTS is a national enrichment, club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement. She is also involved with First Immanuel’s Piecemakers, a club that works together to create quilts for the Place of Refuge ministry. Mrs. Meyer is very mission-oriented, and often works with her students to create cards for those in the military or in area nursing homes.
Mrs. Meyer has a BA in Mathematics from Butler University and an MA in Math Education from Ball State University. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience, all of it in math and computers. She and her husband John live in Cedarburg. They have three grown children and 4 grandchildren.
“God created each of us uniquely. As a Christian educator, my challenge is to help each student find his gifts and talents, help each to see these blessings given him and the responsibility he has for using these talents to God’s glory.”
Director of The Learning Center (TLC)
Mrs. Pergande has one of the most unique roles at First Immanuel. As the director of The Learning Center, Mrs. Pergande works closely with teachers to see that children with unique needs for extra help, relief or enrichment have those needs met. She finds innovative learning solutions for children who need one-on-one or small group attention.
The Learning Center can be used to make up missed work and tests, for remedial assistance, or for behavioral challenges. With such a diverse set of goals for students, Mrs. Pergande has developed The Learning Center with several special areas: a quiet area for reading and study, a table area for taking tests and catching up on homework, a computer area for enrichment and individual learning, and a large motor area for therapy-type activities. Often skill groups are organized to help students practice so they can become more efficient.
Mrs. Pergande is a loving and energetic teacher, and she makes The Learning Center a supportive and welcoming place in which students want to spend time. She thinks outside of the box to provide new and different approaches and tools to help even struggling students succeed. Her goal is for individuals to leave the room feeling more confident than when they walked in.
Mrs. Pergande, graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in with a degree in early childhood education and special education. She has taught for more than 30 years in both Christian and public school settings, and joined the First Immanuel faculty in 1993. She lives in Cedarburg with her husband and son Evan. She also has a married son Adam, who lives in Madison. Evan, who Mrs. Pergande calls her “beautiful gift,” has special needs from a brain condition called Polymicrogyria, and working with Evan has given Mrs. Pergande special insight into how the brain works, as well as how to meet learning challenges.
“My desire to teach God’s children is my way of serving God and glorifying His name. I will continue to use His strength in my life to educate His children so that each of them can later share His good news. I will continue to challenge myself as well as others to achieve to their highest potential.”
Mentor - The Learning Center (TLC)
Anna Marie Sekas
Mrs. Sekas is the First Immanuel librarian. She strives to make the library very child-centered and fun, to get children excited about reading. Her theme in the library is B.E.A.R. = Be Excited About Reading! She uses her own extensive collection of teddy bears to make the theme come alive for younger children. Her combination of education and retail backgrounds are perfect to help her make the library an appealing and inviting environment in which all children feel welcome.
For younger children, the weekly library visit starts with story time in the cozy reading corner. There, Mrs. Sekas reads one or two stories especially chosen for the class, or the season. She uses props, voices and even replaces names in the book with names they know, to help make stories come alive. Older children come to the library for study hall and to check out books, and have two weeks to keep the longer books they read. Mrs. Sekas goes out of her way to really get to know all the students in the school. She pays attention to what students are reading, so she can recommend a type and level of book they will like the next time they come in.
Mrs. Sekas has graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2003, with a degree in elementary education. When she’s not in the library she enjoys spending time in the outdoors, gardening and crafts. She has one daughter, Colleen, who attends the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
“It’s so nice to be in a school with Christian values and small class sizes. There is so much you can do in a smaller class that you can’t do at public schools. It makes it easier to impart those strong values.”
Kindergarten - 5th Grade Technology
Mrs.Cassidy joined our teaching team after being a part of the FILS Family for almost 11 years when her family moved from California and her kids started school here. She has about 20 years of teaching experience, both full and part-time. Her experience ranges from teaching 1st grade, adult education, and teaching high school online. Paula grew up in Southern California and attended Point Poma University in San Diego. He husband, Shawn, is the Men's Basketball coach at Concordia University Wisconsin. Her son, Patrick, attends Living Work Lutheran High School, and her daughters, Evelyn and Avery, are students here at FILS. In her free time she enjoys doing home projects, cooking, reading, going to her kids' activities and, of course, learning about technology.