Meet the NWES Staff
At Northern Waters, our goal is to inspire students to become lifelong learners.
Brittany Hager (Roberts), Director
Mrs. Hager earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Northland College. She holds a 777 certification for Regular Education (grades 1-8) and has a minor in Environmental Studies. Her experiences include working as a field intern for the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, teaching environmental education at Muraviovka Park for Sustainable Land Use in the Amur Region of Russia, and teaching outdoor education summer school courses in Portage. She began her formal teaching career at Northern Waters, serving as the middle school academic advisor for the past six years.
Mrs. Hager is excited to serve as the director of NWES and to foster teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. She believes that when students are engaged in projects that they are interested in, learning becomes more applicable and exciting. Through this process, Mrs. Hager strongly believes that students will be inspired to take ownership of their learning and become active members of the greater community.
Mrs. Hager lives in Solon Springs with her daughter Nora, husband Mark, and black lab Juan Carlos.
Kate Witkowski, Field Advisor & Advisor
Ms. Witkowski earned her Bachelor of Science Degree's 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.
Dani Balzer, High School Advisor
Ms. Balzer earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Biological Science. Her experiences include teaching Hunter Safety in Michigan, working as a Mammal Nursery intern at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, and working for a pharmaceutical company as a Laboratory Technician in Minnesota.
Ms. Balzer is very excited to bring new ideas to Northern Waters to help students gain the knowledge and skills for a successful future. She is a firm believer that students learn best through hands-on projects and learning from each other’s experiences and talents.
Beth Loder, Middle School Advisor
Mrs. Loder earned her Bachelor’s of Education Degree with a Science Minor from the University of Wisconsin- Superior. She has 8+ years teaching in the Hayward District. Her experiences include assisting with after school programs, leading a summer camp, volunteering with youth groups, and coaching basketball.
Mrs. Loder believes that students should be able to see themselves in their curriculum, through active, authentic and joyful activities that support critical thinking. She and her students strive to create a safe, nurturing, and engaging environment where all are encouraged to find their unique connections to the world around them.
Mrs. Loder lives in Hayward, WI, with her family of 10. When she’s not teaching (or doing laundry and dishes at home), you can find her floating down the Namekagon River, taking walks in town, watching Hayward Hockey, cooking, or reading in a hammock.