Special Education

Special education is specially designed instruction based on the needs of an individual student. As required by law, School District 197 provides a free, appropriate public education to about 900 students with disabilities from birth through age 21 who attend both public and private schools. A team develops, implements and reviews each student’s individual program. Please see School District 197’s Special Education section for more information.

Emma Christopherson, Special Education Teacher 651-403-8011 | emma.christopherson@isd197.org

Deb Cleary
Autism / Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
651-403-8030 | debra.cleary@isd197.org

Hayley DeMers, Occupational Therapist
651-403-8000 | hayley.demers@isd197.org

Amy Ellingson, Speech Language Pathologist
651-403-8060 | amy.ellingson@isd197.org

Tebeth Emmons, Occupational Therapist
651-403-8000 | tebeth.emmons@isd197.org

Gabrielle Harteneck, Special Education Teacher
651-403-8000 | gabrielle.harteneck@isd197.org

Kelli Kiedrowski, Behavior Specialist
651-403-8038 | kelli.kiedrowski@isd197.org

Karn Scherfenberg, School Psychologist
651-403-8345 | karn.scherfenberg@isd197.org

Joanie TibbettsSpecific Learning Disability (SLD) / Emotional or Behavioral Disorder (EBD)
651-403-8043 | joanne.tibbetts@isd197.org 


Amy Ellingson
My name is Amy Ellingson, and I am the speech-language pathologist at Mendota Elementary. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in 2010, and a Master’s degree in CSD in 2012. I obtained my Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech-language pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) after finishing my clinical fellowship year in 2013. I started my career in the middle school setting, but my passion is working with elementary-aged students. I began working at Mendota Elementary in the fall of 2013, and I love to help students reach their speech and language goals. My husband and I have been married since August 2012, and we live in Apple Valley with our dog Penny. For fun, I enjoy reading, watching movies, traveling, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers!

Tebeth Emmons
Hello! My name is Tebeth Emmons and I am an occupational therapist at Mendota Elementary School.  I have been at Mendota since 2018.  I hold a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Florida and a Master of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Minnesota.  My family and I live in Eagan with our dog.  I enjoy hiking, reading, and spending time with my family and friends.

Schyler Novak
Welcome. My name is Schyler Novak. I am the Special Education Teacher for 4th grade at Somerset and Mendota Elementary Schools. I started my teaching career at Somerset in 2012. I really enjoyed my first year of teaching in District 197 and working with the 3rd and 4th grade students and families. I graduated from Augsburg College with a degree in Special Education in 2012. Before I began my teaching career, I spent a number of years in the business world. I worked in many different areas of the grocery industry. I am married and we have two young boys in our family. When our family has free time, we enjoy going Up North, spending time on the lake, and going to the farm to spend time with relatives. I look forward to this school year and getting to know the students and families. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Emma Christopherson
Hello, my name is Emma Christopherson! I am the special education teacher for grades 2-4 at Mendota Elementary. I began my teaching career at Mendota Elementary in 2017. I graduated from University Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education (Developmental Cognitive Disabilities / Learning Disabilities).  I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and am currently living in St. Paul, Minnesota. In my free time I love exploring the city, hiking, and painting.