Fox River Academy
Jefferson Elementary - Gr. 1-6
1000 S Mason St.
Appleton, WI  54914
(920) 832-4848

Wilson Middle - Gr. 7-8
225 N Badger Ave.
(920) 832-4848

About FRA
Prospective Students
Meet our Staff
Governance Board
FRA In the Media
How To Help
Community Resources

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Meet Our Staff

Dolly Fritz (grades 1-2)

Mrs. Fritz received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Elementary Education and Special Education. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to acquire certifications to teach students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities and English as a Second Language as well as a Master’s Degree in Leadership. Dolly has taught students with Cognitive Disabilities, Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Dolly enjoys the excitement and love of learning that first and second graders bring to the classroom. She believes in engaging her students through experiential learning and builds on the interests and needs of students to help them develop a love of learning.

Reading, gardening, and camping are hobbies Dolly enjoys in her spare time. She lives in Appleton with her husband, Peter. Four children, two dogs, and a cat complete the family.

Daniel Max Christiansen (grades 1-2)

Max Christiansen holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Colorado College and a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin, Max spent much of his twenties studying and working abroad in Central and South America, and he comes to the Fox River Academy after teaching 4th and 8th grade science at an international school in northern Mexico. Impassioned by the ideals of social and environmental justice, Max strives to evoke ecological consciousness in his students while teaching them the life skills necessary for global citizenship.

In addition to his pursuits in education, Max has worked as an EMT, alpine and river guide, wildlife biologist, and environmental land steward. When not working he enjoys walking creek-side with a fly rod through Wisconsin’s driftless area and ascending the vertical granite walls of California’s Yosemite National Park almost as much as he loves exploring the world with his wife and best friend Kristina. They live on the river in Appleton.

Emily Thomas (grades 3-4)

Emily Thomas received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from St. Norbert College with minors in Language Arts and English as a Second Language. She believes creativity, a positive attitude, and a passion for life-long learning are contagious, and she is eager to pass these qualities on to each of the students in her classroom! She is dedicated to integrating literacy and environmental stewardship across the curriculum. Emily currently serves on the executive board of the Mid-East Reading Council.

In her free time, Emily enjoys anything active, including hiking, biking, running, and diving into a good book. She also loves to travel and is involved in the Good News Project, which delivers humanitarian aid to the underprivileged of the West Indies. She lives in Appleton with her husband, Ross.

For a peek at the adventures of the Fox River Academy third and fourth graders, visit

Joann Kasper (grades 4-5)

Joann came to the Fox River Academy after working at the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton for the past twelve years and spending the last six as their environmental educator.  Joann also works part-time during the summer at Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca.  She believes in a hands-on approach to education, whether it is in or out of the classroom. 

Joann enjoys hiking, biking, camping, bird watching, geocaching and reading.  She lives in Waupaca with her son Brandon and their cat, Hershey.

Sandra Benton, Co-founder  (grades 6-7-8)

Ms. Benton has 24 years teaching experience with children in the Appleton Area School District. She is passionate about teaching and learning. Her experiences and research indicate that student understanding of concepts is enhanced by the integration of subjects into thematic units and the use of hands-on, real world experiences.

She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master's Degree in Reading Education. She is a licensed reading specialist and serves as Past President of the Wisconsin State Reading Association.

Reading, biking, walking, gardening, and travel are interests that Sandy pursues in her free time. She lives near Medina on a farmette with her three daughters.

Awards and Honors: Recipient President's Innovation Award for Environmental Education 2012, Mielke Elementary Educator of the Year 2007-2008, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification 2003; Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship Award 2002; WSRA Pat Bricker Research Award 2004, 2001.

Lori Leschisin - Principal

Lori Leschisin comes to us after serving as one of the associate principals at Appleton East High School for the past six years. Lori was a PE/APE/Health teacher in the Appleton Area School District since 1994.  Previous to that she taught in Minnesota and Florida. Her administration degree comes from Marion University in Fond du Lac.  Lori and her husband Mike have three children, twin girls who are studying at the University of WI- LaCrosse and a son who is at the University of WI-Milwaukee.  Lori enjoys running, biking, swimming and organic gardening and cooking.

Honors and awards: Appleton Area School District Elementary Teacher of the Year 2002, Finisher of the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon 2010

Karen Wendt - Spanish Teacher

Peggy Lynch - Paraprofessional 

Leanna Miller - Technology Educator


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