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Huskies Coaches – Get to Know ’em

Each month the athletics department will highlight one of its coaches in a ‘Get to Know ‘em’ feature.

Basketball and Volleyball Coach – Jenny Patrek

Jenny Patrek pictured with her husband, Nolan Patrek and their two sons Phillip and Jack.
December’s Get to Know ’em Jenny Patrek is pictured with her husband, Nolan Patrek and their two sons Phillip and Jack.

“Be thankful for what you have and those you have supporting you.”

Jenny Patrek, a 12-year coach of the St. Anthony Village High School (SAVHS) basketball and volleyball teams, grew up in St. Anthony Village where she attended Wilshire Park, SAMS, and SAVHS. Throughout high school, Patrek participated in basketball, volleyball, and softball.  In recognition of her great athletic accomplishments, Patrek was selected as the 2000 Athena Award winner for SAVHS.  The Athena Award is an annual recognition given to the top female athlete at each metro-area school. After high school, Patrek continued playing basketball at Hamline University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004.

While Patrek was growing up in St. Anthony Village with her older brother and older sister there were many competitions that took place in their athletic household.  Places that no longer exist in the community were some Patrek’s favorite stomping grounds, such as the Apache movie theater and Pizza Hut.  When Patrek was attending high school the Perkins was always a favorite of hers and her friends to eat late at night.

The summer after she graduated high school, Patrek worked for the City of St. Anthony Public Works Department. Now, Patrek teaches math and coaches at SAVHS. She coaches simply to “help young females become better athletes and better people while enjoying the game,” and she loves making connections with the players outside of the classroom.  She also sees many parallels between coaching and teaching with the biggest one being the need for a strong relationship with the player or student to get the most out of them.  She believes that if you care for your students and players and are trying to make them the best that they can be that they will in return give you all that they have.

Jenny’s husband, Nolan, is a St. Anthony Village High School graduate and Special Education teacher at St. Anthony.  Jenny and Nolan live in St. Anthony and are pictured above with their two sons, Phillip (4) and Jack (1.5). Some things people may not know about Patrek is that she has run two marathons and her favorite food is stroganoff.

Thank you to SAVHS Student, Jade Nelson, for writing this article.

Speech Coach – Laura Chandler

November’s Get to Know ’em features SAVHS Speech Coach, Laura Chandler.

St. Anthony Village High School (SAVHS) has begun its 2015-2016 speech season with a new head coach.  After several years in various roles helping the team, this year SAVHS alumna Laura Chandler has been promoted to the head coaching position.  Chandler finds working with students to be fulfilling and rewarding, so serving as the SAVHS speech team coach and a substitute teacher is a perfect fit for her.

Chandler grew up in New Brighton and graduated from SAVHS, before attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she received a degree in social studies with an emphasis in history.  After receiving her college degree, Chandler has worked in various classroom substitute positions.  Chandler isn’t an ordinary substitute teacher: she has a Degree of Honor distinction from the National Forensic League (the NFL – that’s right – she’s an NFL Coach) for coaching and has been involved with numerous  high school activities, including SADD, speech, tennis, and the Patriots marching band.  Chandler believes each of these experiences have been instrumental in her growth personally and professionally.

Chandler has been a SAVHS speech team advisor for the past four years, starting as a judge and then continuing as an assistant coach. Before that, she was an officer, choreographer advisor for the University of Wisconsin River Falls Dance Theater. Ms. Chandler’s greatest motivation coaching is to see the students’ potential and to help see them grow throughout the year. She encourages them to set goals and to push them to be the best speakers they can be, and believes that each of them can achieve anything they set their minds to.

One of Chandler’s favorite things about speech is that she gets to see students connect with their piece and become the characters. She also enjoys watching teams bond and create amazing works from what they have learned, and is fortunate that she is able to see them cheer each other on and congratulate each other after performances. Moreover, she loves speech because everyone has something they can master and enjoy. There is also the possibility to write one’s own story, which allows the students to express themselves in ways that otherwise would have been masked by the standard practice of reading and retelling existing stories. Ms. Chandler appreciates how students can use speech as a creative outlet for themselves and as a way to build up their public speaking skills, something they can carry with them throughout their entire life.

One trait Chandler still carries with her that was instilled during high school is the importance of punctuality.  Don’t ever expect Chandler to be late – she still operates on Patriots marching band time and you can count on her to always be on time.  Outside of teaching and coaching, Ms.Chandler is an avid hockey and college basketball fan.

Thank you to SAVHS students Derek Heinis (12), James Kerber (12), and Anthony Morrell (12) for writing this article.

Patriots Director – Andy Erickson

October's Get to Know em' features SAVHS Patriots Director Andy Erickson.
October’s Get to Know ’em features SAVHS Patriots Director Andy Erickson.

When asked to write a six word memoir, this was Erickson’s response, perfectly embodying the spirit of a band director. “Band Band Band Band Band Band.” This inspirational man is the idol of several aspiring young band members.

Erickson was raised in Missoula, Montana; however, after going to college at St. Olaf, he decided to reside in Minnesota. Erickson was able to travel several places to play during his college career including Europe. His astounding performances with both saxophone and bassoon truly set him apart. He is widely considered one of the greatest band directors in the history of St. Anthony Village High School. In addition, Erickson takes part in the Minnesota Symphonic Winds Concert Band, playing bassoon.

Erickson’s love for his students and passion for teaching is evident through his advisory of the Patriot’s Marching Band. He loves, as he puts it, “watching 120+ kids work together to entertain and inspire an audience.” Erickson states that the students’ enjoyment energizes him.

Although the students at St. Anthony Village High School find Andy Erickson interesting, he claims that he is kind of boring. Erickson’s fall time hobbies include fantasy football; he is a sports fan, interested in basically any Minnesota sport, but especially the Vikings and the Gophers. On the side, he also dabbles in the art of nose whistling, a skill everybody should be able to appreciate!  When he is not at school, you can catch Mr. Erickson with his wife, Cari and daughter, Cora, pictured above.
Written by SAVHS Students Jade Nelson (12), Tsaudik Potek (12), and Elena Forsline (12).

Football Coach – Jeff Peterson

September features Huskies Coach is Jeff Peterson.
Each month the athletics department will highlight one of its coaches in a Get to know ‘em feature. September’s featured Huskies Coach is Jeff Peterson.

Many St. Anthony families and sports fans are familiar with Jeff Peterson as a teacher and coach. Peterson is a fourth-grade teacher at Wilshire Park Elementary and also serves on the Huskies football coaching staff. Athletics have been an important part of Peterson’s life, going back to his days playing football, basketball, and baseball in Becker, Minn. After a successful high school career where he earned all-conference honors in all three sports, Peterson attended St. John’s University where he played football for hall of fame coach John Gagliardi. Between his playing days and now as he enters his 15th season coaching for the Huskies, Peterson has led a very active and eventful life.

Not many people can say they have run around the world. Peterson has done exactly that, in mileage, logging over 25,000 miles since college. The curiosity of Peterson’s travels extends beyond his running. In 2004 Peterson was named the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail. Coach Peterson not only traveled the entire sled dog route, but also experienced a 190-degree steamroom (as a sauna-trained Finn and can definitively say, that is very hot) with naked Eskimo men on the Iditarod Trail in Unalakleet, Alaska.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, hard work is a tenet of Peterson’s coaching mantra. In addition to being named a TIES Teacher of the Year, Peterson, with his father, operated a Christmas tree farm for 20 years. His first job was when he was nine years old when he worked as a corn detassler. Iif you have never had the chance to detassle corn in a hot, humid, bug-ridden, itchy, puddle-filed corn field, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Through it all, Peterson says he has learned not to sweat the small stuff. As a coach, he advocates a “next play” mentality.

Part of what fuels Peterson’s passion for coaching is the opportunity to work with former students in a different setting. Peterson explained coaching football provides “a great opportunity to teach important lessons of character, sportsmanship, and life, through a game that I enjoy.” Elaborating further, Peterson noted part of what he enjoys the most about coaching is being able to help athletes “deal with success and failure in a positive manner” – a poignant lesson Peterson has learned from the events of his own life.

Peterson and his wife, Sara, live in Columbia Heights along with their two children Ellie (12) and Jack (10). They also have an overweight dog named Palmer.