rush creek destination imagination studentsWith the Destination Imagination (DI) regional tournaments in the books, several teams of elementary, middle and high school students from Osseo Area Schools punched their tickets to compete at the Minnesota State DI Tournament this April.

Teams competing at regional events worked since the beginning of November on their “central challenge solution.” These challenges are implemented by DI and encompass STEM, improvisation, performing arts and visual arts skills. Each challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Throughout the process, students also learn important skills like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage.

Teams moving on to the state tournament this weekend represent Rush Creek Elementary, Brooklyn Middle STEAM School, Maple Grove Middle School, Osseo Middle School, Maple Grove Senior High, and Osseo Senior High.

Rush Creek Elementary

All of Rush Creek’s DI teams will compete at the Minnesota State DI Tournament. Regional results include:

  • First place for Improvisation; team “The Six Smarties” (members: Isabel Bauerly, Emma Roach, Sydney Manning, Will Raymond, Makayla Elkins and Mady Nash)
  • Second place for Improvisation; team “DI Dragons” (Katherine Bearce, Wyatt Bjugstad, Kaitlyn Ganoe, Elsie Erickson, Mia Hellawell and Madelyn Good)
  • Third place for Scientific; team “Kool Kangaroos” (Livia Walseth, Leah Rimstad, Adrienne Pendergrass, Marissa Henning, Simone Roberts and Simona Roberts)

Additionally, team “D’Incredibles” did a service project in partnership with Lord of Life Lutheran Church where they produced and distributed 92 blessing bags for homeless individuals. Team members of “D’Incredibles” include Aarthi Loganathan, Addison Sorbel, Raegan Fritts, Mollie Finn and Isabella Stafford. All four Rush Creek teams are coached by Laura Thompson and Liz Botkin.

Brooklyn Middle STEAM School

Brooklyn Middle’s team—“4 - - Alpha”—competed at the Blaine DI Tournament on March 24. The team won first place in the Scientific Challenge category. Team members are Grace Seifert, Abby Battan, Anna Carstens and Katie Knox; they are coached by Ben Seifert and Nathan Battan.

Maple Grove Middle School

Regional results for Maple Grove Middle’s two DI teams include:

  • First place for Scientific; team “seluR atosenniM” (Eshwar Garlapati, Thomas Botkin, Brayden Kaiser, Cecilia De Oliveira, Kat Klopotek and Gautham Barani)
  • Third place for Improvisation; students Mark Stanley, Daniel McCleneghan, Samuel Whetstone, Seth Derusha, Ryan Ault, Isaiah Johnson-Arigu and Alex Campbell

Osseo Middle School

Three seventh-graders from Osseo Middle have advanced to state in the Fine Arts Challenge (Change of Tune). Students on this team (“They Didn’t Show Up”) are Mali Sargent, Emily Anose and Grace Marler; they are coached by Shannon Sinkel.

Maple Grove Senior High and Osseo Senior High

Placing first at regionals for Fine Arts, the “D’Ideas Keep on Comin’” team will make another appearance at the state tournament this year. Team members include James Pipkin, Jess Bray, Adamson Novak and Erin Besser; they are coached by Jody Kinneberg, Haley Travis-Eull, Lucas Pedersen, Julia Fromm and Liz Botkin. This team has served as a mentor to other Osseo teams and hosted an Instant Challenge workshop this winter to help younger DI students in the district work on their problem solving skills.

PHOTO: Four teams of students from Rush Creek Elementary have qualified for the Minnesota State Destination Imagination Tournament on April 14. View this Facebook album to see photos of all the Osseo DI teams moving on to state.

Osseo Area Schools welcomes new principals to serve at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, Woodland Elementary and Zanewood Community School beginning July 2018.

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Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts Principal Dr. Ronald Salazar

Dr. Ronald Salazar joins Osseo Area Schools from Minneapolis Public Schools where he is a fifth-year elementary school principal. His professional career includes 13 years of teaching life sciences in Costa Rica, Mankato and Mexico City and experience in administrative positions in Venezuela, Kazakhstan, and Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota. 

He completed most of his undergraduate work at the Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica and finished his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Dr. Salazar obtained his doctorate of education in school administration and policy development from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.



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Woodland Elementary Principal Robert Nelson

Mr. Robert Nelson is currently serving in his fifth year as the educational representative at Thinking Maps, Inc., where he collaborates with school leaders and district teachers throughout the Upper Midwest. Prior to that, Mr. Nelson was an elementary school principal for six years in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District. He also spent 14 years as a first-grade teacher, a fifth-grade teacher, a technology facilitator and a building professional learning communities facilitator.

Mr. Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Moorhead State University and an administrative license and master’s degree in education from Hamline University.




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Zanewood Community Principal Adrain Pendelton

Ms. Adrain Pendelton’s 22-year career has been spent in service to the students, families and communities of St. Paul Public Schools. She has served as an elementary school principal for 12 years in St. Paul. Prior to that, Ms. Pendelton spent 10 years as an early childhood teacher and parent educator. Her career in education began as a day care teacher, teaching assistant and administrative intern.

Ms. Pendelton earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Minnesota and her educational specialist degree from the University of St. Thomas.