Staff Biographies

At Northern Waters, our goal is to inspire students to become lifelong learners.

Katie Witkowski

High School Advisor


Kate Witkowski

Ms. Witkowski earned her Bachelor of Science Degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Biology from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. She holds a teaching license for Secondary Education (6-12) in Biology (1605) and Environmental Studies (1615). Her prior professional experiences include a variety of natural resources management and research projects including wildlife research and monitoring, habitat restoration, wildfire and prescription burning, and chronic wasting disease monitoring. Most recently, she was an Outdoor Skills instructor at Conserve School, a residential environmental high school, in Land O' Lakes, WI.

Ms. Witkowski is energized by sharing practical skills and experiences with students. She believes that when we take our classroom outdoors, it can bring a level of joy to learning that increases motivation and engagement, and when combined with relevant and challenging coursework, provides a fulfilling and comprehensive education. Ms. Witkowski hopes to encourage every student to develop positive connections with the people and world around them and stay motivated to take learning into their own hands throughout their life.

Christina Hill

Middle School Advisor


Christina Hill, Middle School Advisor

Mrs. Hill has always found her passion tied to the natural world. It led her to the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management and Biology with a minor in Environmental Education. She worked as a naturalist in the WI State Parks, and for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation in Missoula, Montana.

It was there in the mountainous west where she also began her journey in education at the University of Montana - Missoula. She is licensed to teach Secondary Education (6-12) in Broadfield Science (1602), Biology (1605), and Chemistry (1610).

Mrs. Hill deeply believes that all students excel when they find their own path and a meaning that drives their education further. Helping students find that path and their passion is key to their engagement and success in learning. Education is a lifelong process, and growing skills in problem solving and collaboration lead to young adults who feel confident advocating for themselves and their future!

Mrs. Hill loves traveling with her husband Jeremy, 3 children (Eli, Noah, Ivan) and dogs. Our adventures as a family have taken us to the Redwood forests, many National Parks, Banff, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Mike Lewandowski

SPED Advisor


Mike Lewandowski, SPED Advisor

Mr. Lewandowski has always had a passion for the outdoors. He earned a bachelor degree in Education from Indiana University and a science degree from Purdue University. 

Mr. Lew worked in the construction industry (building chalet style homes in the Hayward area) immediately after college. In 2006 he moved to Colorado for an opportunity to work in the White River National Forest near Aspen. He lived part time in Colorado and summers in Wisconsin for ~10 years. 

Mr. Lewandowski loves to go fishing, skiing and exploring nature. Mr. Lew likes to work with students on projects that further enhance their learning and interests.

Maddie Sibilsky

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator


Maddie Sibilsky, AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Miss Maddie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Sociology. She moved to Hayward, WI after graduation to begin her professional career as a social worker, where she specialized in helping parents gain resources and support to best care for their children.  

Her passion for serving families within the Hayward community led her to the Hayward School District. She is excited to serve families in a different way now, by building relationships with students through fun experiences that enhance nutrition education and overall life skills! 

In addition to her current role at the school and in the community, Miss Maddie loves spending time with family and friends at her family’s cabin in Mercer, WI—downhill skiing, waterskiing, hiking with her chocolate lab, Millie and simply enjoying the company of loved ones in a cozy cabin in the northwoods! 

Kelly Ryder



Kelly Ryder, NWES Principal 

Mrs. Ryder earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UW-Eau Claire in Broadfield Social Studies, Political Science, and History. She spent 15 years as a high school social studies teacher, alternative education teacher, and coach before transitioning into leadership roles. Mrs. Ryder earned her Master's Degree from UW-LaCrosse and her Principal and Director of Instruction licenses from Saint Mary's University. She is also finishing her Superintendents license this summer at UW-Superior. Mrs. Ryder serves the Hayward Community School District as the Director of Curriculum and Programs and part-time as the Principal for NWES. Besides classroom experience, Mrs. Ryder also has worked as an educational consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and CESAs 11 and 12. She has worked with over 40 districts all around the state to improve outcomes for students.

Mrs. Ryder is honored to serve as the Principal for NWES because she believes that every student is capable of changing the world in a positive way. Her love of environmental education and its potential to create 21st-century learners was a direct result of her own son attending an environmental, project-based charter school in grades 6-8. Mrs. Ryder believes that NWES provides Hayward area students the opportunity to learn and grow while serving their community in positive ways. She looks forward to working with students and families and staff to continue to grow NWES as a leader in environmental education.

Mrs. Ryder lives in Wascott with her son Joe, husband Matt, a dog, two cats and a bunch of fish.

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