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Boreal Community Media

Meet your Oshki Ogimaag Community School staff: Tina Gatzke

May 12, 2024 06:41AM ● By Editor
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A Boreal Community Media exclusive - May 12, 2024

Come learn more about Tina Gatzke, one of the amazing staff members at Oshki Ogimaag Community School!

What is your role/title at Oshki Ogimaag Community School? 

My roles at Oshki Ogimaag Community School currently are Special Education Coordinator, Interventionist, and doing work on the Administrative side of things, I also serve as an Educator member on the OOCS Board. 

How long have you been working there? 

This is my second year at Oshki Ogimaag Community School. Prior to this, I was at Great Expectations for four years as a Special Education Teacher. I have been in the field of education for over 23 years serving in roles in the education sector ranging from teaching in early childhood, working with Kindergarten through 8th graders, to college, and as Executive Director. 

What do you look forward to the most when coming to work each day? 

The thing I look forward to most each day is connecting with students and families, and learning alongside them. I still have connections with families I worked with over 20 years ago, with college students I worked with over  a decade ago, the relationships built with students and families are the foundation for learning. Each student enters the building with a unique learning style, a unique background and each brain works differently. It is the role of the educator to meet each student where they are at, ensure they feel safe and secure  enough to take risks -because learning new things is a risky, vulnerable endeavor! I try to tap into the students’ unique interests and help them find the joy in learning. Each student I work with makes me a better teacher, because I learn new things from each of them that I can transfer to others, and quite frankly, each student has better prepared me for the journey of parenthood. 

Did you always know that you wanted to work in education? 

In Kindergarten, my teacher had us draw on t-shirts what we wanted to be when we grew up. My t-shirt said a Teacher or an Actress, so some part of me always knew what I wanted to be! I was the oldest in my family and loved caring for my younger siblings. My path to becoming a teacher was largely motivated by my own experiences in school and in observing one of my siblings’ educational experiences. One of my siblings, while having a high degree of intellectual aptitude, had disabilities that impacted his behavior. I had teachers who changed my life in a multitude of positive ways and I observed my sibling experience educators who could not meet his needs and sometimes lacked empathy and kindness.  I saw how the trajectory of our two paths was significantly impacted by the educators we had in our lives. Somewhere along  my journey, I dedicated myself to being the teacher he didn’t have, and to paying forward the positive impact my teachers had on my life from elementary school through graduate school. 

Anything about your family/special interests you would like to share? 

In our family, we have six children, three are adults and three are home with us, we have a Junior in high school at ISD 166 (Maggie), a 6th grader (Keaton) and a 4th grader at GES, (Oscar) and a feisty cat, named Minnie. Spending time in the woods or at the lake listening to waves and staring out to what feels like infinity, is grounding for me. I love to cook. I love to write and read (Mary Oliver poetry is my all-time favorite reading material). Movies are a special interest in our family, almost all of us are huge movie buffs. I love photography, especially taking whimsical pictures in nature! 

Where is your favorite place to go in Cook County for a day of fun and relaxation?

My favorite way to spend a day in Cook County would be getting up in the morning at dawn or heading out at dusk, (bonus if the weather is moody and foggy), grabbing a Harbor Fog from Java Moose, taking a ride up the Gunflint Trail (the most relaxing, tranquil place on earth for me), getting out a few times to venture into the woods or down a trail, for pictures, if we are lucky, spotting a moose along the way, and then stopping at the Trail Center for a delicious bite and the best malts in the world. Also, each season, it’s a family tradition, we take a hike up the High Falls at Grand Portage state park. It is such a beautiful hike and the falls are so breathtaking in different ways each season. 

Fun fact about you that many may not know about? 

Hmm…something others might not know about me. I love music, it’s been a tool for processing emotions and calming, for as far back as I can remember. My first concert was New Kids on the Block when I was 11. Some of my favorites  concerts have been Bob Dylan, The Smashing Pumpkins,  Hole, Soul Asylum, Counting Crows, R.E.M., Weezer, Violent Femmes and the Indigo Girls. I will forever regret missing Lilith Fair. 

To learn more about the wonderful things happening at Oshki Ogimaag Community School, follow this link to their school website!

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