Our Staff
Our Center currently has 11 full time and 2 part time staff members.  All of our lead teachers have a four year degree in education with a Minnesota State license in Early Childhood Education.  Our support staff have college credits in Early Childhood and numerous hours of experience working with children.   Our employees are also members of the Wisconsin Evengelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).
Elizabeth Klugherz - Director.  Elizabeth graduated from Bemidji State University with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in music.  She has also completed her Early Childhood Degree and synod certification from Martin Luther College.  Elizabeth has been working with children all her life in many aspects of their growth and development.  She has taught in grades 1st through 6th and in some high school music classes. Her biggest love came when she was caring for her own children in a home licensed environment. She then completed courses from Minnesota West Worthington Campus in a child development program recognized by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning.  She was asked to become a mentor in Nicollet County by the CCRR, now known as Families First Child Care Aware.  As her children grew up, she taught at Trinity Lutheran School in Nicollet where she was the lead teacher and director of the preschool program and also full time Kindergarten teacher for more than 12 years.  She was the Lead Teacher in the Toddler room of our center for three years before becoming our full time director.  Working towards her masters in Family Education through the University of Minnesota, Elizabeth is grateful and feels extremely blessed for the many opportunities she has had to encourage the young minds of children and work with their families over the years.  She is married with 4 older children and lives in the Nicollet area with her husband Tim.
 
Michelle Grubbs  -- Administrative Assistant (am). Michelle graduated from MLC in 2001 with a double major in both primary and secondary education but found her real love in Early Childhood when working with infants at a YMCA in Appleton, WI.   Michelle has been working with children for the past 17 years either in a child care setting or as a stay at home mom of 3.  She enjoys the many facets of her job that make each day a little different. 
Natalie Borgwardt--Lead Teacher, Pre-Primary Classroom 1.   Natalie graduated from DMLC with a degree in elementary education.  Her teaching experiences have included teaching 9th grade English for three years in Michigan, a teacher's assistant in college level English courses for two years, four years as lead teacher at a preschool in Holmen, WI, and eight years spent as a teacher's aide and bus driver in New Ulm, at Head Start preschool. Natalie and her husband Daniel have three sons.
Catherine St. John grew up in Farmington, MI – a suburb of Detroit. She graduated from Martin Luther College in 2013, with a double major in early childhood and elementary education. Upon graduating, Catherine was assigned to St. John’s, Mukwonago WI. For the past 5 years, Catherine served at St. John’s as the preschool teacher and director and helped oversee the early childhood program expansion there. In the summer of 2018, Catherine moved to New Ulm and began working at MLC’s ECLC. She is excited to get to know the children and families at the ECLC. 
Heather Kressin -- Infant Room,  Lead Teacher.  Heather, a recent graduate of Martin Luther College, is excited to be joining our staff.  She student taught at our Early Childhood Learning Center and especially enjoyed her time in the Infant Room.  As Lead Teacher she has the challenge of guiding the staff to best assist parents in caring for their child.  She is also responsible for working with our student teachers as they train to become early childhood educators.  She feels very blessed by this opportunity and looks forward to creating relationships with the parents and their children.  Heather has lived in New Ulm all her life and was recently married.
Laurie Enstad -- Pre-Primary,Teacher.  Laurie has a B.S. degree in Elementary Education.  She has worked with children ages 3-13 as a teacher, substitute teacher, classroom aide, and Sunday School teacher.  In recent years she has worked primarily with 3-5 year olds as an assistant teacher.  Laurie says she is often amazed at what these young children are capable of learning.  She enjoys being a part of helping the children discover and learn new  skills and concepts.  
 Laurie enjoys spending time with her family of six children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.  Gardening and exploring nature are favorite hobbies.
Hannah Dinse -- Infant Room,Teacher.  Hannah has over 8 years of experience in the Child Care industry.  She moved to New Ulm from the Twin Cities where she attended both Hennepin Technical College for Childhood Development and St. Cloud Technical College for Child and Adult Care.  She has worked in all age groups from infant to Pre-School.  Hannah enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs and one cat. 
Melissa Nehls  -- Toddler Room Teacher.  Melissa graduated from Martin Luther College in 2010 with a BS in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education.  She moved back to New Ulm after living in California for five years.  While there she spent three years as a lead toddler teacher at BHC Child Development Center, in Burbank.  For two years she taught four-year-old Kindergarten at St. Paul's First Lutheran School.  She has taught in five different states and looks forward to getting to know your family and serving at the ECLC. 

Martin Luther College Student Teachers

Martin Luther College Students come to the ECLC to student teach as part of their final practicum experience prior to graduation with their bachelor's degrees and Early Childhood License.  They lesson plan and teach under the supervision of lead teachers and college supervisors.