Brenda Rasmussen is a new first-grade teacher at Reede Gray Elementary School in Redwood Falls, but she is not new to teaching first grade.

Rasmussen, who is originally from Olivia, has spent the past 35 years teaching students, mostly at that grade level, in the Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart district.

After graduating from high school, Rasmussen attended the Stout campus of the University of Wisconsin where she studied early childhood education. Then she earned her elementary education certification at the Eau Claire campus.

For Rasmussen positive experiences early in life convinced her to get involved in education. 

Whether it was working with younger students in school or babysitting, Rasmussen said those opportunities to work with children led to her decision to get involved in education.

“I like little kids,” said Rasmussen, adding she loves learning, which is what has kept her involved in education for more than three-and-a-half decades.

As an educator, Rasmussen said her primary work has been done in first grade, but she has also taught at the Kindergarten level, and she also taught fifth-grade math. Rasmussen’s experience as a teacher expanded to include Title programming, too.

For Rasmussen being a teacher means being able to establish relationships with the students, as well as her colleagues and parents.

Having made a move in her life that now includes spending more of her time in Redwood Falls, Rasmussen thought this was a great opportunity for her to make a change in her life. That led her to Reede Gray.

Having lived in Willmar for much of her career, Rasmussen said she commuted every day to work, and living and working in the same community is something new for her.

First graders, said Rasmussen, are learning to improve their reading skills, and this year she is teaching a new math and handwriting curriculum.

Despite having years of experience, Rasmussen said she is still learning, adding she really appreciates the mentoring program offered in the Redwood Area School District and she likes being part of a teaching team that allows her to share her experiences and to learn from others who are also teaching first grade.

Rasmussen has two grown sons who live in Willmar and work at the family nursery.

When she is not in school, she enjoys shopping and being with people.