Pastor: Pastor Roy Hefti
Pastor Hefti grew up on the North side of LaCrosse. He is a 1971 graduate of Luther High School. He then attended Northwestern College in Watertown, WI. After graduation, he went on to attend Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI. He graduated the Seminary in 1979 and accepted his first call to start a mission congregation in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. In May 1984, Pastor Hefti received and accepted the call to be the Pastor of St. Paul’s. Pastor, his wife Alice and 3 children moved to Bangor in July of 1984. The Lord blessed the Heftis with 3 more children while living in Bangor. Their 6 children are now grown and are living around the world. In addition to his pastoral duties, Pastor Hefti teaches 7th-8th grade confirmation classes and also teaches a rotating class of “A Touch of Latin” or “A Touch of German” to familiarize the children with a foreign language. Each morning, Pastor conducts a Bible study with the faculty and he also conducts a weekly mission devotion with the whole school.
Pre-K: Mrs. Beth Schmeling
Mrs. Schmeling has only lived in the LaCrosse area since fall of 2012, coming from the Twin Cities metro. She was married to Pastor Paul Schmeling for 33 years. They were blessed with four children who are now all married. Three of their children and spouses blessed them with seven grandsons spanning the ages of 4-8. During this time she began Children of Faith Preschool at Faith Lutheran Church in River Falls, WI and served as director and lead teacher. Previous to that, she taught kindergarten at Salem Lutheran School in Stillwater, MN. Paul died accidentally in 2009 and for two years she remained the preschool teacher at Faith. She found that she needed to be near her family, which brought her to the LaCrosse area. The Lord has kept her busy as a substitute teacher in a number of LaCrosse area Lutheran elementary schools and Luther High School. She was happy to receive a divine call to teach preschool and enjoys serving the families of preschool children at St. Paul’s!
Kindergarten/1st Grade: Mrs. Gwen Manke
Hi! I am Mrs. Manke. I was born and raised in Cudahy, WI. I am the fifth of eight children. I attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Cudahy, WI and then went to Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Wauwatosa, WI. I attended Dr. Martin Luther College and was called to St. Paul’s Lutheran School here in Bangor to teach 1st and 2nd grades. I met and married Todd Manke of Bangor. We were blessed with 3 sons and 1 daughter. In 1993, I decided to stay home and raise my family. In 2000, I was called to teach at Christ-St. John’s Lutheran School in West Salem, WI for preschool. A while after my twins were born, I was called to teach Kindergarten here at St. Paul’s, and since then started teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten and now Kindergarten and 1st grade. In addition to teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade, Mrs. Manke also teaches 4th-8th grade music and co-directs the Adoration Choir.
2nd/3rd Grade: Mrs. Lorene Jandt
4th/5th/6th Grade: Miss Karen Bauer
Karen Kay Bauer was born in Eureka, SD. She grew up on a farm west of Zeeland, ND. Miss Bauer was the 2nd daughter in a family of 5 girls – Sherry, Karen, Brenda, Julie, and Kristie. She attended the public schools of Zeeland from the 1st – 10th grades. But then, at the encouragement of her family and her pastor (Pastor Robert Weimer), she continued her education at Northwestern Lutheran Academy at Mobridge, SD for grades 11 & 12. Encouraged again by her professors and teachers, Miss Bauer continued on to Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN, graduating in 1981. Miss Bauer’s first call was to Immanuel, Medford, WI where she labored diligently for the Lord for 13 years (1981-1994). For the past 19 years (1994-present), Miss Bauer has faithfully served her Savior and His lambs here at St. Paul’s. In addition to teaching grades 4-5-6, Miss Bauer also teaches 4th-8th grade science, PreK-8 phy-ed, she directs the “Ring out the Joy” chime choir, and coaches volleyball.
Principal & 7th/8th Grade: Mr. Richard Bakken
Mr. Bakken was born in La Crosse to Richard & Donna Bakken. He was raised on the family farm near Stoddard where he and his brother, James, attended grade school in the De Soto Area School District. Mr. Bakken is a graduate of Luther High School, and attended Northwestern College in Watertown for a short time, as well as UW La Crosse for two semesters before transferring to Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. He and his wife, Irene, graduated in 1976 and were married the same year before both began serving congregations in the Milwaukee area.
Mr. Bakken’s first Call was to serve in an early staff ministry position at Zebaoth Lutheran Church where he was in charge of music and education at the Church. He also taught grade 5 at Siloah Lutheran Church.
Mr. Bakken’s second Call was to St. John’s Lutheran School in Mishicot, WI where he served as principal and upper grade teacher.
In 1986 Mr. Bakken and his family moved to Crete, IL where he served as principal and 9th grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School. It was while serving there that the two congregations in Crete joined to form Illinois Lutheran High School. Mr. Bakken served as the first principal and music instructor at the high school.
Since 1994 Mr. Bakken has been the principal and upper grade teacher at St. Paul in Tomah. During this time also, Mrs. Bakken taught Algebra classes and piano students at St. Paul’s. During the summer months she works at Wildcat Mountain State Park in Ontario, WI.
The Bakkens were blessed with 4 children. Richard is the Assistant Director of Technology at Princeton University in New Jersey. Aleah (Adam) Friemark teaches grade 5 in the New London Public School District. They have 3 children: Jack, Laura & Tommy. Jonathan (Joy) Bakken is employed by the USDA as a wetlands specialist in Thief River Falls, MN. The family looks forward to the blessing of an additional grandchild in September. Benjamin (Brooke) is the Chief of Police in La Farge, WI. They have 1 son: Silas.
Mr. Bakken looks forward to meeting and getting to know the families of our school and the entire family of believers here at St. Paul’s. His prayer is that God may bless all the work we do together to share the message of the Lord Jesus with our children. May all of us continue to grow in His love and grace.