School Staff

Mr. Josh Baumann

School Administrator

Josh is the School Administrator for Zion Lutheran School. He grew up in Carver County and attended Mayer Lutheran High School. He received his bachelor's degree from Concordia University in River Forest, IL and his master's degree from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Josh previously served as a teacher and administrator at Lutheran North in St. Louis. Josh and his wife Katie live in Lester Prairie with their four children: Jack, Lucas, Reid, and Annalyse.


Mrs. Robin Carlson


Robin is the Preschool Teacher for Zion Lutheran School.  She grew up in Mayer and went to Zion Grade School and Mayer Lutheran High School.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Concordia University St. Paul Minnesota.  Robin previously taught Preschool, Grades 1-2, and Grades 3-4. Robin and her husband Bob live outside of Mayer. They enjoy spending time with their family, gardening, camping and watching sports.  Robin loves sharing Jesus with the Preschoolers and watching them grow.  She  feels truly blessed to be at Zion.



Mrs. Becky Aurich


Becky is in her 15 th year of teaching kindergarten at Zion. She was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and raised in Rogers, Arkansas. Becky received her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska. She majored in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Concentration and minored in music. Becky and her husband, Dean, live in the woods on a lake southwest of Waverly. Dean teaches industrial arts and is the head football coach at Mayer Lutheran High School. He also coaches the pole vault at Gustavus Adolphus College. Becky and Dean have five children (with five awesome spouses), ten grandsons and five granddaughters. Becky feels very blessed to be teaching these young children at Zion.


Mrs. Tracy Shipler

1st Grade 

Tracy has served at Zion for 24 years. She is our current 1st grade teacher. She graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a minor in music. She directs our K-4 choir and is a musician for Zion’s contemporary worship service. She is married to Kirk and they have been blessed with four children.



Mrs. Kristen Thun

Second Grade

Kristen teaches 2nd grade at Zion Lutheran. She grew up in New Germany and attended Zion. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN. Kristen taught for two years at a school on the North Shore of MN before she and her husband, Luke, moved back to New Germany. She is thrilled to be teaching at the same private school she attended as a youth, and enjoys being able to share God’s love with all of her students. Outside of teaching, Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, playing volleyball, and going on walks.



Mrs. Mary McManus

3rd Grade

Mary is the 3rd grade teacher at Zion.  She has taught at Zion since 2008 during which time she has taught many different subjects in different grades, served as the UL teacher, and worked with the library. She grew up in southern Minnesota near Fairmont.  She attended Bethany Lutheran College and Mankato State University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a Library Science minor. Before coming to Zion she taught at St. Mark Lutheran School in New Germany and taught release time religion at St. Peter in Lester Prairie.  She serves as the organist at St. Mark Lutheran Church where she is a member.  Mary lives on the family farm with her husband and has six grown children, three grown step-children, and nine grandchildren.


Mrs. Nancy Schwanke

4th Grade

Nancy is the 4th grade teacher and has been teaching at Zion for the last 27 years. She is also the Dean of Education. She got her BA degree in Elementary Education from Mankato State University and then did the colloquy program at Concordia Saint Paul to be a Lutheran teacher. She is originally from Morristown, Minnesota and she also taught there for three years. She has three children and two grandchildren and her husband is a pastor and mental health counselor.




Mrs. Barb Laabs

5th Grade

Barb is the 5th-grade homeroom teacher at Zion, and primarily teaches Reading, Literature, and ELA in the upper grades.  Barb grew up in Wayzata, MN and graduated from Concordia-St. Paul with a degree in Elementary Education.  She has taught grades 5 - 8 at several Lutheran schools in Carver County and the Twin Cities.  Barb is grateful for the opportunity to share her faith throughout the school day.  She also enjoys building relationships with her students and sharing her love of reading.  She and her husband live in Waconia and enjoy spending time with their three grown children and one granddaughter.



Mrs. Shannon Aurich

 6th Grade

Shannon teaches 6th grade at Zion. She began teaching at Zion in 2005. Shannon grew up in Excelsior, MN, and attended Mayer Lutheran High School. She graduated from Winona State University with an Associate’s Degree and Graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Aurich lives in Mayer with her husband and three of their four children.


Mrs. Katie Baumann

Katie is in her fourth year teaching at Zion.  She teaches writing to the 7th and 8th grade classes and serves as the school cook. Katie grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and earned her BA in secondary education with a minor in coaching from Concordia University, Chicago.  She began her teaching career in St. Louis teaching high school English and has held various other positions coaching, teaching and other school support in both St. Louis and Minnesota.  Katie lives in Lester Prairie with her husband and 4 children (Jack, Lucas, Reid, and Annalyse).



Mr. Paul Erdman

7th Grade



Mr. Kirk Shipler

8th Grade

Kirk Shipler is the 8th grade homeroom teacher and teaches Math, Science, Social Studies, and Music. Kirk is in his 20th year of teaching, all at Zion Mayer. He received his bachelor's degree from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. Kirk and his wife Tracy live in Lester Prairie with their children Katelyn, Caleb, Samuel, and Ellie.



Mrs. Carolyn Toenies

Teacher Aide

Carolyn is in her 6th year as a classroom aide.  She is the preschool aide and also works at Zion’s Extended Care.  Carolyn was born and raised in the Lester Prairie area. Her husband, Jim, works for Munson Lakes Nutrition in Howard Lake as a truck driver.  They have three children Kelli, Katie (husband Jeremy), and Jacob, three grandsons including identical twins, 1 granddaughter, and 1 cat. Carolyn and Jim have a home west of Lester Prairie on a couple of acres.  She enjoys reading, wood crafts, camping, and spending time with her grandchildren.  Carolyn finds it very gratifying to see preschoolers master new skills and grow physically, academically, and spiritually.


Mrs. Stacy Henning

Stacy is a classroom aide in the 3rd grade classroom and helps in the lunchroom.  This is Stacy’s 1st year at Zion.  Stacy lives in New Germany with her husband, and two kids.


Mrs. Jolene Jacobs


Rev. Adam Gless

Pastor Adam served Zion as Associate Pastor from 2007-2019. He was installed as Senior Pastor in June 2019. He was born in Flint, Michigan, but grew up primarily in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. He graduated from Concordia University-Chicago in 2003 as well as Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri in 2007. Between degrees, he married his lovely bride Emily. The two of them have four children, Christopher, William, Nora, and Lydia. His hobbies include spending time with family, playing basketball and running, grilling and cooking, and socializing while drinking coffee.