School Staff Feature



It is no small task to make the nearly 600 kindergarten through eighth-grade children feel welcomed the moment they walk through the doors of St. Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School. But school secretary Janet Seidenkranz sees to it that they do.

“If our school were a home, not only is Janet the welcome at the door, [but she is also] the smell of something warm baking in the oven: warm, inviting, and you just can’t wait to have some,” said fifth-grade teacher Ellie Maresch.

Maresch says Seidenkranz expresses St. Ambrose’s mantra of “All are welcome here,” even through her cheery phone greeting.

“Most people have good days and a few bad days spattered in here or there,” Maresch said. “[But] Janet has good days and then even better days. Joy is what sets Janet apart.”

Principal Betsy Osterhaus-Hand agrees.

“She does not hesitate to take ownership of school and to actively live our mission daily,” Osterhaus-Hand said. “Her ability to manage numerous jobs, absorb issues and problems, and to look for ways to help and serve others without making it a big deal or needing praise always impresses me. She has a great commitment to the common good. Janet is the total package.”

A legal secretary in downtown Minneapolis for 15 years, and then a stay-at-home mom, Seidenkranz has given her professional and personal strengths to St. Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School since 2006.

Seidenkranz said the list of what makes her work rewarding is long, but that she feels blessed to be surrounded by an “incredible staff and amazing administrators who support the mission of St. Ambrose.”

“That mission is apparent when you walk down the halls or step into a classroom. Through their teaching, all are building character, developing morals and acting with kindness,” Seidenkranz said. “It is also rewarding being able to see children of all ages every day. But I especially enjoy the kindergartners, who are so wide-eyed and in awe.”

Her favorite memory at St. Ambrose is the day she turned 50.

“Yes, 50. The secret is out”, she said in jest. “Every class honored me with 50 things: 50 high-fives, 50 cans of Diet Coke and so on.”

One of the classes even paraded through the office to give her 50 hugs.

“I was truly touched,” Seidenkranz said.

Return to Full Listing

Catholic Schools Center of Excellence