Chelsea Strand
Coleen Guhl
Dave Haugen

Coleen Guhl, Dave Haugen, Chelsea Strand  

Three veteran teachers will conclude their careers after the current school year. 

Retirement letters were read at the March 15 Pelican Rapids School Board meeting, from Coleen Guhl, Dave Haugen, and Chelsea Strand. 

This follows a trend over the past couple years as, a number of longtime teachers have retired. 

An elementary teacher and Title I instructor since 1990. Strand submitted her letter, which was read at the board meeting. 

“I am retiring from this position that I have loved for over 31 years,” wrote Strand. “Thank you to all the staff and students who have made the years so rewarding. Our family has been blessed to be a part of this great Viking community in Pelican Rapids.”

“Mama Guhl” to retire from home science position

Education was a second career for Coleen Guhl, who has taught Family and Consumer Sciences in Pelican since 2006. She also served as Honor Society Advisor. 

“I would like to say that I am proud of what this school district has accomplished in the 15 years that I have been employed,” wrote Guhl in her letter to administration and the board. “I feel privileged to say that I started my teaching career here when Mr. Moerke took a chance on this 50 some year old, non-traditional first year FCS teacher and I will end my teaching career at the same school.”

Guhl wrote that she was given many opportunities to learn and grow as a teacher. 

“I have made many lifetime friends here at school and in the community at large. I will always cherish the memories that were made at PRHS and how I became; ‘Mama Guhl’ to so many students, staff, and community members.”

Very same classroom—for 34 years for Dave Haugen

Dave Haugen’s pending retirement wasn’t exactly a secret, as the word circulated unofficially last fall. The longtime football coach had suggested that the 2020 games would likely be his final. 

The letter of resignation made it all official, and was read at the March 15 school board meeting.

“I don’t know what Mr. Moerke saw in me to give me the opportunity to work here as a kid right out of college in the spring of 1987, but I am so thankful that he took a chance on me. Despite my excitement of getting this job and moving to Pelican Rapids I really thought it would be a short-term job and that I would move on to a different school district after a few years,” wrote Haugen. “A couple years later I realized that I had everything I needed here, bought a house, and never found a good reason to work anywhere else.”

“This has been a great place to raise my family and I am thankful to have made Pelican Rapids my home,” added Haugen.

 As a trivia note, Haugen added that he has taught in the same classroom for all 34 years.

Interestingly, about half of the combined Pelican school board and administration had Haugen as a math teacher, as they went through the ranks in the Pelican school system. This prompted a humorous closing remark from Haugen. 

“P.S.-If you don’t accept my resignation, several board members and a superintendent will have their high school math grades changed,” which drew laughs from those in attendance at the March 19.