I'm a Bennie


BriAnne-HernWhen BriAnne Erpelding Hern was a high school senior in Little Falls, Minnesota, her visions of college centered on “big” and “far away.” But after touring Saint Ben’s, she “quickly saw the beauty in the St. Joseph community. I was appreciative of the kindness of the students and amazed by the academic offerings at Saint Ben’s. I think I was almost as shocked as my mother to admit that Saint Ben’s was a great fit for me.”

She studied elementary education and competed on the Blazer track and field team. After graduation, she went on to become a junior high math teacher for 12 years. She then spent four years as an assistant principal at Madison Elementary in St. Cloud before becoming the principal at Lincoln Elementary, also in St. Cloud. This is her second year in the position.

“I now see that my role as principal has allowed me to have a great impact on the community in which I work. My big-picture view gives me opportunities to understand barriers in the lives of my students and their families, and work diligently to impact systems changes that result in increased access and opportunity for all. As a former classroom teacher, I’m keenly aware of the huge responsibility involved in working with children, especially children who face many challenges in their lives. Because of this, I understand the importance of gratitude, humility and grace when supporting the work my amazing staff takes on with our students each day. I have dedicated my career thus far to removing systemic barriers to successful education of the whole child, in turn, creating a bridge between home and school for our families.”

Major at CSB

Elementary education, with a concentration in mathematics

First-year residence hall


Favorite course/professor

S. Lois Wedl was the perfect choice for Intro to Education. She was always so positive and encouraging!

Favorite Bennie memory

So many things! The quiet rides on the Link to 8 a.m. classes at SJU; the hours spent with my track and field teammates at practices and meets; late-night study sessions in the Regina basement; the food; walks on the trails to the chapel at SJU; art performances at the BAC….

As a former math teacher, do you think it’s important that more women explore STEM fields?

Quite honestly, I think it’s important for women to explore any field that interests them. I developed an interest in math and science as a young girl and was fortunate to have teachers and professors who encouraged that love. My hope for girls and young women is that they feel represented in their chosen careers, that their voices can be heard and that they are able to contribute without obstruction from barriers placed on them by society.

What advice would you give to aspiring teachers?

Always stay true to your “why.” Write it down and make sure that all of your work with children feeds your why. Personally, I became an educator to provide access and opportunities for all children to grow and learn. There will be many times in your career that your why will be challenged, exhaust you or even give you second thoughts. Whenever I am feeling this way, I come back to my why statement to center myself in the work. I can honestly say that when I stay true to this I experience a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing that my work matters to the lives of so many children and families