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Inspire to the Top

Cambridge-Isanti High School Class of 2023

Cambridge-Isanti Schools is proud to recognize the top 10% of the Cambridge-Isanti High School’s Class of 2023. They’ve worked hard and done a great job in their studies—but they didn't do it alone. Along the way, teachers, coaches, staff and classmates have helped them…a lot!


Last week, the CIHS Academic Booster Club (ABC) hosted its annual Inspired to the Top event to recognize the student scholars and staff who inspired them. We are so appreciative of the active ABC group and community members who donated to support the event.

>> View The Slide Show To Meet Each Honoree <<

Join us in celebrating our students' success, thanking our community donors, and showing appreciation to their teachers who’ve inspired so many to the top!

Engaging Educators: Make Learning Enjoyable

Mr. Doom is a great teacher with a positive disposition who has made welding class very enjoyable. His creativity and knowledge helps his students to be the best welders they can be — Bart Merkouris

Some teachers stand out for their ability to make learning enjoyable and understandable. Mrs. Rafftery made math fun and easy to understand, which helped Lillian Atkins excel in the subject. Mr. Larson's math class taught Ava Lowman to enjoy math and be kind and welcoming to others. These teachers didn't just teach the subject, they made it engaging and fun, which helped students develop a love for learning and succeed in their studies.

Inspiring Instructors: Foster Belonging

Mr. Hanson was always there to listen and encourage me, whether it be reading my projects or offering words of wisdom. — Elijah Olson

Other teachers throughout Cambridge-Isanti Schools have had a profound impact on students by creating a welcoming and inspiring environment. Mrs. Miller, a Cambridge-Isanti High School art teacher, helped Leslie Bleess feel at home in the art rooms and sparked a passion for art. Mrs. Kennedy inspired a love for music and made band class a fun and enjoyable experience for Christian Davis. A third-grade teacher, Mrs. Lind shared her love for reading and inspired then 8-year-old Madysen Galiher to be the best she could be. Years later, that influence continues.  These teachers helped students feel a sense of belonging and encouraged them to pursue their passions.

Caring Coaches: Provide Support & Guidance

Mr. Sullivan makes me feel seen, known, and loved and that is his heart for all of his students.
— Emily Cox

Providing critical support and guidance to students, especially during difficult times, is a gift for many of our staff. Mrs. Lowman's positive attitude and support helped Kailey Scheid not only with writing papers but also through difficult times. Mr. Jensen has been a genuine and caring mentor to Lauren Schreder as she pursued her dreams. These teachers provided a safe and supportive environment that helped students navigate challenges and build resilience.


Congratulations to all of our Inspired to the Top Honorees

Lillian Atkins

Tara Rafftery, CIHS Math Teacher

Leslie Bleess

Jessica Miller, CIHS Art Teacher

Emily Cox

James Sullivan, CIHS Art Teacher

Christian Davis

Crystal Kennedy, IMS Band Teacher

Clayton Deitz

Sheryl Kammerer, CHIS Robotics Coach

Brooklyn Dickey

Joel Lund, CIHS Spanish Teacher

Allison Foss

Andrea Bleess, CMS Band Director

Madysen Galiher

Angie Lind, CIS 3rd Grade Teacher

Ava Lowman

Stephen Larson, CIHS Math Teacher

Mariah Martin

Tyler Hayft, CIHS Social Studies Teacher/ Girls Soccer Coach

Bart Merkouris

Greg Doom, CIHS Industrial Arts Teacher - Welding

Thomas Moran

Shane Weibel, CIHS Social Studies Teacher

Emily Nystrom

Sharon Grace, Isanti Intermediate

Elijah Olson

Dave Hanson, CIHS English Teacher

Kailey Scheid

Thea Lowman, CIHS English Teacher

Lauren Schreder

Jerry Jensen, CIHS FACS Teacher/ProServe Advisor

Emma Scott

Katie Soler, CIHS FCCLA Advisor

Tanner Sementek

Miranda Block, CMS Math Teacher

Krisdilynn Strohmayer-Knutson

Aaron Knudsvig, CHIS Choir Teacher and Theater Director

Gracelyn Szynal

Justin Kennedy, CIHS Band Director

Megan Traver

Chris Johnson, CIHS Science Teacher

Croix Vavra

Matt Braaten, CIHS Athletic Director

Logan Westman

Kyle Grabowska, CIHS Math Teacher

Evelyn Wiltrout

Jeff Kurowski, CIS Phys Ed Teacher/CIHS Asst Girls Basketball Coach

Maraya Wiltrout

Tricia Hennen, CHIS Science Teacher

Abigail Wimmer

Trina Dallmann, CIHS German Teacher


We would also like to also honor and celebrate these students who were unable to participate in the celebration, yet still achieved this honor.

  • Joshua Bauer

  • Lucienne Bina

  • Kevin Hurtado

  • Noelle Nelson

  • Kendall Tweeten

  • Lindsey Weidendorf

The Cambridge-Isanti community congratulates these seniors on their outstanding academic achievements and for making it into the top 10% of the Class of 2023. This incredible accomplishment reflects their hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Our community is proud of their success and wishes them all the best as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.

If you'd like to join or support the Academic Booster Club, please email Jennifer Ryberg at CIHS,

Jennifer Ryberg