Our School Staff

Mr. Scott Johnson

School Principal
Mr. Johnson is excited to be the principal at Trinity Merrill! In this role, he supports a team of students, staff, and parents providing for all aspects of academic, faith, social/emotional, and physical growth. As a big believer in Lutheran schools, Mr. Johnson has been in ministry for over 28 years.
Mr. Johnson is a graduate of Concordia University - St. Paul and holds both a BA and MA in Education. On a personal level, Mr. Johnson is happily married to Lisa and together they have three children. Naomi is our adult daughter who lives in Minnesota and works at Mayo Hospital. Lukas is our son who was stillborn and is in Heaven. Jayden is our sophomore at MAPS who loves to play basketball. Lisa loves art and Mr. Johnson hopes to reacquaint himself with grouse hunting.

Mrs. Karli Severt

School Administrative Assistant
Mrs. Severt grew up in Merrill, Wisconsin, where she attended Trinity School and Merrill High School.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a degree in education, she spent five fun years teaching middle school English and Spanish.  At that time her parents, who already owned The Guy’s Shop in Merrill, purchased Thelma’s and offered her the chance to work in the family business.  She worked alongside her family for six years, then spent the next two years as a stay-at-home mom.  At that point, she began working as the Administrative Assistant at Trinity School.  She feels like she’s right at home at Trinity, and loves being part of the school where the love of Jesus is shared daily. It’s a special bonus for her to be able to work at the school where her three daughters attend(ed).  Mrs. Severt is married to Jess, who also grew up in Merrill.  In her spare time, she enjoys attending her daughters’ many activities, traveling, working in the yard and garden, and spending time with her family.

Reverend Scott Gustafson

Administrative Pastor
After growing up in Tampa, Florida, Pastor Gustafson (Pastor G) graduated from Concordia Chicago and went on to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Pastor G has served in Minnesota and Wisconsin and now is joyfully serving the Lord at Trinity Merrill and loves spreading the Gospel throughout the church and community. Pastor G met his wife, Georgia, in college and they have five children together - David, Caleb, Joshua, Sarah, and Rachel. When Pastor G isn't at church, you can find him spending time with his family and his dog (Royal), serving our country, and cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mr.  Devan Arntson

Director of Christian Education
Devan Arntson, born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, serves as our Director of Christian Education. He moved to Merrill in 2021 and has been actively involved in the lives of our youth since then. Devan runs the middle and high school Youth Groups, oversees Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and leads several adult Bible Studies. Devan also helps at Trinity School where he’s needed and coaches at the Merrill High School. Everything Devan does flows from the philosophy that he wants to be the guy he needed when he was a teen. 

Mrs. Stephanie Sir

3K Teacher
Mrs. Sir grew up just north of Green Bay in Pulaski, Wisconsin and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire to get her degree. She has lived in Merrill with her husband, daughter, and cat since 2011. Mrs. Sir loves Jesus and loves to find all the fun ways to teach Jesus to our littlest learners. Mrs. Sir loves to travel with her family and spend 100 days of fun each summer with her daughter. 

Miss Amanda Filter

4K & Kindergarten Teacher
Miss Filter grew up in the small town of Portland, Michigan as the daughter of a Pastor and a Special Education Teacher. Teaching has always been something Miss Filter has been passionate about ever since her fourth grade teacher told her she would make a good teacher for younger students. Miss Filter graduated from Concordia University Ann Arbor in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She was Called to Trinity Merrill that Fall and Merrill has remained her home ever since. Miss Filter likes to read, color and hang out with friends in her spare time. Miss Filter loves to sing and share Jesus’ love through music as part of the Praise Team and choir. 

Mrs. Rebekah Johnson

Kindergarten Teacher
Prior to teaching at Trinity, Mrs. Johnson graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin with her degree in Lutheran Early Childhood Education with a minor in Adaptive Education. She has been very blessed by Lutheran schools - she attended Redeemer Lutheran School and N.E.W. Lutheran High School in Green Bay, WI. She has enjoyed her years teaching at Trinity in 2nd Grade and in Kindergarten. Mrs. Johnson and her family live in Wausau and she enjoys spending time with her husband, Mr. Johnson, and her children, James and Eleanor. She also enjoys baking, cooking, and spending time with friends. 

Mrs. Laura Marnholtz

1st Grade Teacher
Mrs. Marnholtz grew up in Reedsburg, WI.  Since the second grade, she wanted to be a Lutheran teacher like her grandfather.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Concordia University Chicago and went on to earn her Masters of Education degree from the University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point.  She is married to Larry and they have one daughter, a son-in-law and one grandson.  She loves that she gets to share the love of Jesus as her Savior everyday with her students at Trinity!  Outside the classroom, she enjoys stamping, baking, reading, sewing, embroidery, taking care of Trinity’s Story Garden and decorating cakes for family and friends.

Mrs.  Bridget Thompson

2nd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Thompson grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She studied Early Childhood Education and Special Education at Elmhurst College, where she earned her Bachelor's degree. Mrs. Thompson began her teaching career in Illinois and moved to Merrill in 2022. She is especially grateful to teach at Trinity Merrill, where she can help students learn about Christ and grow in faith. Mrs. Thompson and her husband, Seth, have a two-year-old daughter, Eden, a newborn son, Joshua, and seven goat kids on their farm. She loves spending time with her family and friends outdoors. Mrs. Thompson has been a distance runner since high school and hopes to get back to mid-distance races when her children are a little older. 

Miss Sallie Kamps

3rd Grade Teacher
Miss Kamps grew up in a small town in eastern Wisconsin. She attended St. Peter Lutheran Church and School where she decided that what she wanted to do was to teach children of Jesus’ and His love. She attended Hilbert High School and then went on to Concordia College, River Forest, IL (now known as Concordia University, Chicago). Her first Call was to teach grades 1 – 4 in Nokomis, IL and after seven years of teaching there she wanted to get closer to home. That’s when Trinity Called her here to teach third grade for the past 36 years. When she’s not working on something for school and her classroom, she enjoys reading, embroidering, or sewing and spending time with her family and friends.

Mrs. Cinder Handlin

4th Grade Teacher
Mrs. Handlin grew up in Merrill and has been a lifetime member of Trinity. You can normally see her sitting with family at 8:00am on Sundays. Mrs. Handlin graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. God has always been at the center of Mrs. Handlin's life and she loves being able to share God's love with each of her students. Mrs. Handlin is married to Ryan, has a daughter (Emma) and a baby on the way. She has one dog and two cats. In her spare time you can find her running after her toddler, enjoying time with family, or reading a good book.   

Mrs. Georgia Gustafson

5th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Prior to graduating from Concordia University River Forest (CUC) with a bachelor's degree in secondary education, Mrs. Gustafson (Mrs. G) grew up in Milwaukee, WI where she participated in many sports within her community.  She was inspired by her high school coaches to become a teacher.   (Mrs. G's Dad grew up in Merrill until he joined the Army after high school.)  Pastor and Mrs. G met at college and are ecstatic about sharing Christ with whomever they encounter.  Mrs. G shares the love of God with her students at Trinity every day.  Pastor G and Mrs. G have five children and a dog named Royal.  Our eldest son, David, resides in Fargo, ND.  Caleb is currently attending St. Louis Seminary and is eager to share his love for the Lord now and as a pastor.  Joshua is attending Concordia University Chicago as a sophomore with intentions to also become a pastor.  Sarah is a junior at Northland Lutheran High School.  Rachel is an eighth grader at Trinity.  In her spare time, you can find Mrs. Gustafson involved with officiating volleyball and softball, kayaking,  walking, biking, and relaxing with friends and family. 

Mr. Matthew Chapa

Mr. David Heckmann

Mrs. Britnee Hartwig

6th Grade Homeroom Teacher
8th Grade Homeroom Teacher
6th-8th Grade ELA Teacher
Before teaching 5th–8th grade at Trinity, Mr. Chapa grew up in the great Vikings territory of Buffalo, Minnesota. Mr. Chapa’s primary goal was and is still focused around helping guide and nurture the next generation in their spiritual faith and character - providing as many positive opportunities for students as possible to learn and grow. Mr. Chapa is happily married to Cassandra Chapa and has two dogs. In his spare time, you can find him working out at the gym, at a game shop, or at a coffee shop with friends. 
Mr. Heckmann graduated from Merrill High School in 1986.  Growing up in Merrill, he was fortunate to have a supportive family, solid network of friends, and a community that prioritized education and quality schools.  Accepting the opportunity to teach and coach at Trinity Lutheran School gives Mr. Heckmann a chance to bring in new programs and give back to the community that provided him with the foundation to have a successful career in education. During Mr. Heckmann's teaching career, he has had the opportunity to teach and coach in various socio-economic communities, including the urban and suburban settings of Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago.  Mr. Heckmann earned his undergraduate degree in education from Mankato State University and his post-graduate degree in educational administration from Concordia University Chicago-River Forest. Mr. Heckmann is a Packer, Brewer, Bucks, and Badger fan and his hobbies include traveling, golfing, fishing, snowmobiling, and volunteering in the community.
Prior to graduating from Concordia University Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in middle level education, Mrs. Hartwig grew up in the small town of Hershey, Nebraska where she always dreamed of becoming the teacher she is today. Faith remains Mrs. Hartwig's sole focus in her life and she loves that she is able to proclaim the Gospel to her students at Trinity everyday. Mrs. Hartwig is married to Joshua and has two dogs (Jinger and Niko), one cat (Millie), and a baby on the way. In her spare time, you can find her reading romantic comedy, sci-fi, and dystopian novels and spending time with her friends, family, and pets.

Mrs. Heather Burtman

Mrs. Jennifer Heisinger

Mrs. Erin McKeen

K-8th Grade Physical Education Teacher
4th-8th Grade Band Teacher
School Care Director & Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Heather Burtman is our Kindergarten-8th grade PE teacher here at Trinity.
Music has always played an important role in Mrs. Heisinger’s life.  Growing up in Cottage Grove, WI, Mrs. Heisinger began to play the violin in 4th grade, and she added the bassoon to her repertoire in 6th grade.  While in high school, Mrs. Heisinger continued to play in both Orchestra and Band; in addition, she learned a few more instruments including the viola, the alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bari saxophone, and some auxiliary percussion instruments.  All four years of her high school career, Mrs. Heisinger played her bassoon in the Madison-based group - Wisconsin Youth Syphony Orchetstras (WYSO).  Her music-filled life inspired her to study music at Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY) where she earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education.  Teaching music  has been a very rewarding career for Mrs. Heisinger, and sharing her faith with her students only makes teaching that more special. Outside of teaching, Mrs. Heisinger continues to perform regularly in community groups such as the Wausau Symphonic Band and Orchestra and Wausau Community Theater Pit Orchestra.  She also directs the adult choir at her church and enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her family and their pets.
Mrs. McKeen grew up in Chilton, WI as the daughter of a father who loved the Lord with all his heart and made his Gospel mission to share the Lord with youth - a legacy which she is happily carrying on. She married her middle school sweetheart and together they have 3 children and 2 cats. The McKeens are transplants to the area resulting from Mr. McKeen's Active Duty Army career, but she believes that the Lord has placed them in Merrill to serve Him. Mrs. McKeen says her favorite book of the Bible is Jeremiah because no matter what she's going through, she can always find strength in those verses. Mrs. McKeen is a Teaching Assistant at school, and also works as the School Care Director. She is the assistant soccer coach beside Head Coach Tony Roche. Her hobbies include reading in her hammock, going to movies with her husband, and taking her kids to extracurricular activities including swim, soccer and karate. 

Mr. Carl Howard

Mrs. Laura Bahlow

Mr. Keith Harmon

Head Cook
Assistant Cook
Mr. Carl Howard works diligently every day to ensure the safety and functionality of our school.
Mrs. Bahlow grew up in a small northern Wisconsin town. She moved to Merrill in 2009 and attended North-Central Technical College where she became a Registered Dental Hygienist. Her favorite color is pink and her favorite dinosaur is the Dilophosaurus. She felt the Lord's call in 2021 to serve as the Head Cook at Trinity Lutheran School and enjoys connecting with the students over food. She is one of the school's volleyball coaches and loves seeing her players grow in spirit and skill. Mrs. Bahlow spends her summer days by the water either fishing, swimming or reading, and watching her 3 kids grow up right before her eyes. She loves LEGO, singing in the car, and spontaneous adventures. 
Mr. Keith Harmon works along side Mrs. Bahlow to prepare healthy, delicious lunches for our students every day.

Mrs. Crystal Duwe

Mrs. Megan Webb

Mrs. Carrie Hintz

Teaching Assistant
Teaching Assistant
Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Duwe grew up on the block of Trinity Church and School and has lived there her whole life. Four generations of Mrs. Duwe's family have attended and graduated from Trinity Lutheran School. Trinity is like one big family, and she feels truly blessed to be a part of that. Mrs. Duwe is married to Brent Duwe. They love gardening, traveling and discovering Wisconsin, and most of all following the three grandchildren and their activities. 
Mrs. Webb grew up in Lake Mills, WI. She earned her associates degree at UW-Whitewater. Her husband's military service allowed them to live in several places around the country. Following Mr. Webb's Military retirement, they were blessed to find a home near Gleason, WI. Mrs. Webb has four children: Morgan, Merlin, Magnus, and Minerva. Mrs. Webb has three outside cats and 30 chickens. In Mrs. Webb's spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, baking, canning, and splitting firewood. Mrs. Webb loves watching kids grow and learn about Jesus!
Mrs. Hintz has lived in Merrill all her life.  She  married my husband, Brian, 23 years ago and they have four children - Kolby,  Emily, Anna, and Claire. Mrs. Hintz started working at Trinity school in 2014 and she really enjoys working with the students. Her and her family has a small hobby farm with beef cattle and sheep.  They love camping, four-wheeling, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.  Mrs. Hintz enjoys reading and helping the children in K-4th grade.  She  has also taught 2nd grade CCD classes at St. Francis for 13 years.  Mrs. Hintz is looking forward to another great school year! 

Mrs. Adonnica Laabs

Mrs. Jenny Lemmer

Teaching Assistant
Teaching Assistant
No stranger to the community, Mrs. Laabs has lived in Merrill her entire life. Prior to joining the staff at Trinity, she was a certified child care provider at her own family child care center.  Mrs. Laabs is also a life-long member of Trinity. In her spare time, Mrs. Laabs enjoys gardening, reading, baking, and spending time with her 5 children and many pets. 
Mrs. Lemmer grew up in Wausau, WI on a dairy farm with two brothers and a twin sister. She moved to Merrill in April of 2000 when she married her husband, Jason. Together they have three children - Cody, Mariah, and Caden - and the two oldest attended Trinity. Mrs. Lemmer has been working at Trinity for 13 years. She enjoys her time working there and being able to tell children about Jesus every day. In her free time, you can find Mrs. Lemmer reading, working in her garden, and working on their farm raising beef and dairy cows.