Minnesota Reading Corps & Minnesota Math Corps Blog

Jens Jensen

Jens Jensen

PreK Tutor – Delano

I wake up every morning looking forward to the day, knowing that I’ll be contributing. I am preparing the children for Kindergarten and for their years in school after that. I love what I am doing.

Jens Jensen, PreK Tutor

Jens Jensen, PreK Reading Corps tutor, Wee Tiger Preschool – Delano

After more than 20 years as a band director for grades 5-12, Jens found himself working in a big box store until his daughter, a previous tutor, encouraged him to apply for Reading Corps. Now, he spends his days helping preschoolers get ready for Kindergarten. Using the Reading Corps interventions has made a marked difference, he said. One student began with no knowledge of letter names; with plenty of practice, she’s now meeting the spring target in letter naming. An added bonus of serving in a preschool classroom is that Jens can share his love of music. “I introduced music with the literacy skills,” he said, “having students singing transition songs as I accompany them on the guitar.” Jens has also introduced the students to the trumpet, trombone, and baritone, and helped direct the school music program.

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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Tram Bui

Tram Bui

Preschool Scholar Coach – Nellie Stone Johnson

I want to do my part to help our students gain confidence through literacy and travel on a college-bound course.

Tram Bui, Preschool Scholar Coach

Tram Bui knows literacy is a fundamental factor in pursuing education and is determined to help students to be prepared for college. Her parents immigrated to America when in their early twenties. While neither are college educated, they have always encouraged their daughter in her education and ambitions.

After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, Tram decided to serve a year with Reading Corps while finding her career path. As a Scholar Coach, Tram inspired ambition, encouraged perseverance, and fostered curiosity in her students. Serving solidified her desire to make a difference in education. Her hope is to create an organization for young girls and women of immigrant families to pursue educational opportunities. Tram is taking the next step toward this dream and is starting law school this year.

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson

K-3 Tutor – Becker Primary School

You can make a huge difference in these kids’ lives. Serving in Reading Corps was a nice bridge … and transition into my next step.

Katie Johnson, K-3 tutor

Serving with Reading Corps while working toward her special education teaching license gave Katie a head start in applying for jobs in elementary education. She says service helped her develop her communication skills with both teachers and students, improve time and behavior management, and gain a better understanding of reading instruction and data collection. Katie said, “I have a passion for encouraging young minds and supporting their ability to reach their full potential, whatever it takes.” Reading Corps gave her the opportunity to do just that.

After her service, she’s planning to pursue a teaching position in special education and will also be competing as a state contestant for the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. 

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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Rachelle Anderson

Rachelle Anderson

PreK Tutor – Barnes Early Childhood Center

I have seen the results – emotionally, intellectually, and socially – as children grow throughout the year and it’s just amazing. I feel very lucky to be part of an organization that is really working to do good things for kids.

Rachelle Anderson, PreK tutor

After 16 years of teaching, Rachelle knows how critical reading is to school success and developing a love of learning. She was shocked to learn just how many Minnesota preschoolers aren’t ready to learn in kindergarten and decided to do something about it.

Every day as a PreK Reading Corps tutor, Rachelle helps the children in her Head Start classroom to build a foundation for their future learning with songs, writing practice, read-alouds, and constructive play. She says that as she’s building trusting relationships with the students and watching them grow, she’s also strengthening and diversifying her own skills as an educator.

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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LaRae Carlisle

LaRae Carlisle

I was surprised by the skills the children need – and can learn! – for Kindergarten.

LaRae Carlisle, Reading Corps Tutor

LaRae Carlisle was finishing a degree in health care when the principal of her children’s school asked if she’d consider service with Reading Corps. LaRae often volunteered there and with new student loans, the education award was especially appealing.

LaRae ended up serving four years as a Reading Corps tutor – three as a PreK literacy tutor and one as a Community Corps Lead. During her second year, her son was a part of her class. Then, when her son was in Kindergarten, LaRae said hearing him read a book aloud made her realize the impact of her work. That intensified her commitment to early childhood education.

She moved across the metro and was thrilled to find a Reading Corps position within Head Start. She had loved the program’s focus on the littlest learners when her older kids were involved and was eager to be a part of it. She’s now continuing to work with Anoka County Community Action Program (ACCAP) where she served.

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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Jeannette Ledesma

Jeannette Ledesma

Kindergarten-focus Tutor – Four Seasons A+ Elementary

I get a sense of immense pride when the students make gains in the right direction and start to feel confident in the other aspects of their life and schooling.

Jeannette Ledesma, K-3 Literacy Tutor

While volunteering at Four Seasons A+ Elementary, Jeannette was offered the opportunity to serve as a Reading Corps tutor and she jumped in right away. Her service at the school was a true family affair: her mother works there as a Spanish teaching assistant; she served alongside her brother; and she has nieces and a nephew who attend the school. After four years as a Kindergarten-focus tutor, Jeannette has been hired by the school as a teaching assistant and is the Reading Corps Internal Coach.

Jeannette says she loves being able to pass on her own love of reading to so many students over the years. At Four Seasons, she works with many “New to Country” students. Jeannette enjoyed helping them further their education and get to know their new home. She said, “The one-on-one time that we spend with the students helps give them a sense of belonging and importance. They know they are heard and understood.”

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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Keven Tell

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

Kevin Tell, Reading Corps and Math Corps Tutor

I majored in chemistry at Carleton, and found a job in the corporate world and just didn’t like it. A friend of mine was serving with Reading Corps and told me to give it a try. I served a year and then wanted to try Math Corps, because I’m more of a science guy.

It was great to be in a school and see how it works. Wanting to be a teacher was always lurking under the surface for me, and being part of the school community tipped me over the edge. Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps is a really great introduction to what it’s like to work with kids all day, every day. Plus, it’s a cool opportunity to see what schools are like now – they’ve evolved a lot even since I’ve been there, which isn’t all that long ago. I got to see a lot of different teachers teaching, and it helped form what I would want to do as a teacher. I also learned that I really like working with middle schoolers – their own personalities are coming through and they still have a lot of excitement for school.

My AmeriCorps education award helped me get my teaching license, as well as pay back my student loans. Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

NewsKeven Tell
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Guy Havelka

Guy Havelka

K-3 Literacy Tutor – Princeton Primary

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Guy Havelka, K-3 Literacy Tutor

Guy retired at age 54 from a 27-year career as an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration. For the first few years, he enjoyed his well-deserved break, but soon bored of his cribbage routine. Now, he’s happier taking a more active route, choosing instead to serve as Minnesota Reading Corps tutor at the elementary school just a few blocks from his home in Princeton.

When Guy walks down the hallway, all the kids know him regardless if they have worked with him or not. He knows all their names and takes time to acknowledge each and every one of them. He always has a smile and a story. One day, he challenged a whole class to a reading goal and rewarded them with homemade pickles when they met the goal.

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Guy Havelka

I serve to make a difference in the lives of my students and the community in which they live. The one-on-one tutoring gives me a chance to help these kids become confident and fluent readers. That confidence bleeds over to other areas in school and outside of school. Confidence breeds success!

Keven Tell

Serving with Reading Corps and Math Corps helped move me to the next level. Today, I’m a sixth grade science teacher at Stanford Middle School in the Minneapolis Public Schools District!

NewsGuy Havelka
read more