Degrees and Certifications:
Mlle Eichten has been teaching at l'Etoile du Nord in a variety of capacities since 2009 (1st grade Teacher, student teaching in Kindergarten, Science Specialist K-1 & 6th grade, 2nd grade Teacher). This is her third year teaching 2nd grade at l'Etoile du Nord. Mlle Eichten began speaking French at age 7 as a 1st grader. While in elementary school Mlle Eichten attended the Concordia Language Villages at Lac du Bois multiple times. Mlle Eichten loved French so much that as a 16 year old she studied abroad in a suburb of Paris (Fontenay sous bois) and lived with a French host family for 10 months. Mlle Eichten's French was very good before she went to France but by attending Lycée Pablo Picasso from 1992-1993 and living with a host family it improved exponentially. Mlle Eichten got the the travel bug and lived abroad three more times!
Why percussion? What took her so long to become a teacher at l'Etoile du Nord?
Mlle Eichten began playing drums at age 9 in the Cadet Band with Mr. Hubbard. She was the only female drummer in any SPPS school band for many years and she counts Sheila E. as one of her role models. Mlle Eichten began teaching Afro-Caribbean percussion in 1994 as a T.A. to Chico Perez at the Minneapolis Drum & Dance Center as a part of her Senior Project for high school graduation at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. Mlle Eichten was one of the first Explainers at The Works Museum, an engineering and technology museum founded by Rebecca Schatz, when it was at the Bell Museum in 1995. Mlle Eichten was originally a Percussion Performance major and as an undergrad she put together an independent study project to study Afro-Cuban percussion in Havana, Cuba at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) from 1997-1998. Mlle Eichten won the IRSEP Scholarship in 1998-1999 to study Arabic and Italian in Tunisia, a Francophone country in North Africa. Mlle Eichten graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a double major B.A. in French & Italian in 2000. Her first job after graduation from the university was as a translator and medical interpreter.
In 2001 Mlle Eichten was a Volunteer Tutor for the Minnesota Literacy Council and taught English to immigrants and refugees at the Northside Learning Center. From 2001-2005 Mlle Eichten worked at a community bank trying to figure out how she could afford to become a licensed teacher. From 2003-2005 Mlle Eichten taught financial literacy at a local non-profit in the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis, becoming its Individual Development Account (IDA) program coordinator in 2006. By then Mlle Eichten was sure she wanted to be a full-time teacher but she wasn't sure how she would be able to find a job teaching in French in MN. Mlle Eichten figured she would have to move to a Francophone country, to work for the government, or to become a professor at a university to find a job using her French. So in 2007 Mlle Eichten completed her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification at Hamline University and applied for a teaching assistantship through the French Embassy. She was accepted and assigned as a T.A. between two middle schools: Collège la Fontaine and Collège Décartes, in a suburb of Paris (Antony.) She loved it, applied for another year, and was planning on moving once and for all to France! Mlle Eichten's mother was not so happy about this and hoped to find a way to keep her only daughter in Minnesota so she sent her an article about an alternative licensing program to teach in the SPPS. That's how Mlle Eichten found out about l'Etoile du Nord and while Mlle Eichten was waiting to find out if she would be accepted for a second year as a T.A. near Paris, she applied for the teaching program. Mlle Eichten was accepted for both but by the time she heard from the French Embassy she had already accepted the position with the teaching program for SPPS. While Mlle Eichten still misses her second home in Paris, she was glad for the opportunity to return to her native St. Paul and teach in French in the SPPS where she first learned French as a 1st grader at Webster Magnet School in Suzanne Pfund's French immersion class. Mlle Eichten obtained her K-6 Elementary Education License with the state of MN in June of 2012 and earned tenure in 2015. Mlle Eichten is one class away from completing her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) at Hamline University.