Early Childhood (Preschool)

Preschool is a time of discovery; children discover themselves, the people around them, and their world. They learn to get along with other children, with parents, with preschool teachers, and in new situations. Preschoolers’ constant questions and activities stem from their intense desire to learn more about the world around them. Preschool is a time to capture their extraordinary imagination and their sincere desire to learn.

Our mission is to strengthen and build upon existing services and resources to meet the wellness, education, and social-emotional needs of participating children to enhance their learning, development, and future success in school. We reach children by offering a wide variety of tools and materials for learning through hands-on experiences.

1. Provide a caring, open classroom for children to learn and play in. We want to encourage a love for learning.
2. Encourage creativity by providing a variety of materials. We have books, music, games, art materials, building toys, science manipulatives, and more.
3. Provide opportunities for children to develop and practice listening skills.
4. Provide a clean, safe environment

Mark Stier

ECFE Coordinator

Phone: 320.244.4719

        My name is Mark Stier and I'm excited to be back at the elementary and to be working again with such a great group of educators. I will be your ECFE coordinator as well as a SEL (Social/Emotional Learning) educator for pre-k classrooms. You will either see me, or hear from me,  periodically throughout the year.  Make sure to find me and introduce yourself if you are in the building.  I love to connect with people. As for your kids, make sure to ask them if they have met Mr. Mark.

         I have taught in different capacities over my 30+ years in education.  After getting degrees in Elementary Education and English from the University of MN-Morris, I continued on to get a Master's degree in education from the University of  Minnesota.  I was  classroom teacher for 25 years. After working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield on different classroom ideals, (Active Classrooms & Mindfulness) I ventured in a new direction.  During the past 5 years, I have concentrated on Social Emotional Learning in the elementary grades and have a certification in Mindfulness.  Working with students to help manage their lives is where my heart lies.

        My wife Lynn and I live in Willmar with our dog Griz.  We are parents to 3 children who have moved on into the world, but still grace us with their presence...when they need babysitters, dog sitters, money, meat from the freezer, advice, etc.   Lynn and I love to camp, hike, explore, fish, etc.   I love to hunt, get lost in the woods, and find a good spot to watch the sunrises and sunsets that nature provides.  

Here is wishing all of you a very successful and relaxing school experience this year.   Let me know where I can help!  


ECFE Coordinator

Phone: 320.244.4710

Hello from Mrs. Lissa!

I am an Atwater Grove City Graduate and am excited to be working in my home district! After graduation, I attended St. Cloud State University and studied Early Childhood Education and Social Work.

I have been teaching preschool at ACGC for 22 years. I absolutely love getting your child ready for Kindergarten. Children learn and grow so much from the ages of 4 to 5. They learn through play and I enjoy making learning fun for them.

I live North of Grove City with my husband Mark and our youngest son, Carson, who is a Junior at ACGC. Our 2 older girls Miranda and Erica graduated from ACGC and from college. They both live and work in the cities.

In our free time we enjoy cheering on the ACGC Falcons and spending time with our family and friends. We have a pet dog and 3 cats.

Thank you for sharing your children with us at ACGC Preschool. It is truly an honor!

Tori Bagley


Phone: 320.244.4723

Hello from Ms. Tori!

I am so excited to be a part of the acgc school district! This will be my first year as a teacher. I graduated highschool from acgc and I am so glad to be back! 

I went to SCSU for elementary education. I student taught at Eden Valley Watkins in first grade. 

I spend my free time with friends and family. I have two dogs (Archie and Watson) and one cat (Scooter). 

In the summers, I spend my time outdoors, mostly in the water. In the winter time, I spend most of my time indoors, wrapped in a snuggly blanket with a good movie. 

I can’t wait to start my first school year at ACGC!

-Ms. Bagley

KIRSTEN JOHNSON Preschool Teacher


Phone: 320.244.4640

Hi, my name is Kirsten Johnson and I teach PreK4 at ACGC. I attended Willmar Senior High and went to St. Cloud State and Southwest Minnesota State. I live in Hawick with my husband, Chris. We have a guinea pig and chocolate lab dog named Oliver. When I’m not teaching you can find me decorating cakes at the New London bakery. I also enjoy camping, kayaking, being outdoors, and spending time with my family. Please reach out with any questions you may have!



Phone: 320.244.4709

I have been teaching for ACGC Schools since December 1997.  I have taught mixed aged level preschool, ECFE, School Readiness 4’s and 3’s.  I graduated from Mankato State and received my Kindergarten endorsement and birth to school age licensure from Crown College.  Both my boys have attended ACGC schools  and have graduated or will by the end of this school year.  I have enjoyed working with these young children to begin their building blocks of their school foundation.  Play is an essential part of getting them the hands on learning experience to make them successful in all they do.


Early Childhood Special Ed

Phone: 320.244.4640

My name is Heather Gaarder and I am ACGC's Early Childhood Special Education Teacher! I provide special education services to our preschool age students.

I have been teaching special education since 2013 and have been at ACGC since 2019. I have a Master's Degree in Special Education and am licensed in the areas of Early Childhood Special Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Developmental Cognitive Disabilities, and Physical Impairments. 

I love working in early intervention and collaborating with families to help their children learn and grow!  

Late Start/Early Out Information

Emergency School Closings

If ACGC Schools are two hours late, PRESCHOOL WILL BEGIN 2 hours late AND END AT the regular time. The missed time will not be made up.

If ACGC Schools are canceled for the day, we will make-up the day according to the PK-12 ACGC calendar.

If school is called off in the middle of the day please come and pick up your child as soon as possible. (If your child rides the bus home he/she will be bussed home along with other ACGC students.) Parents must listen to local radio stations, look on the school website for school closings. In all cases staff will be on hand until every child is picked up

Parent Aware

Parent Aware helps families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed in school and life. Parent Aware is a search partner that works side-by-side with families, offering free tools and resources to help them make informed choices about high-quality care and education opportunities.


A referral through Help Me Grow as soon as developmental concerns are identified ensures the best outcomes possible.

If you feel that your little one is developing in ways that are concerning, such as difficulty walking by 18 months; no babbling, pointing or other gestures by 12 months (1 year); no single words by 16 months; no two-word phrases by 24 months (2 years) or ANY loss of skills at any age, visit this website to request a free developmental screening or evaluation for Minnesota’s no-cost infant and toddler intervention services. HelpMeGrow - Get Help