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Nov. 30: Beloved RCW teacher dies, school community is shocked

Editor's Note: This story was published Nov. 30, 2016. LITCHFIELD -- Megan Licklider Twernbold, a fifth grade teacher at Renville County West school in Renville, died at the age of 36 on Saturday, sending shock waves through the small school dist...

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Megan Licklider Twernbold

E ditor's Note: This story was published Nov. 30, 2016.

LITCHFIELD - Megan Licklider Twernbold, a fifth grade teacher at Renville County West school in Renville, died at the age of 36 on Saturday, sending shock waves through the small school district.

Twernbold’s sister, Mandy Licklider Bond, said in a Facebook post that Twernbold had been battling depression for a long time and took her own life.

Twernbold, 36, died Saturday at her home in Litchfield.

According to a Facebook post by Twernbold's sister, Mandy Licklider Bond, Twernbold had been battling depression for some time and took her own life.

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"This is the death of an employee, friend, colleague and a wonderful teacher," RCW Superintendent Michelle Mortensen said Tuesday.

Twernbold grew up in Renville, graduating from Belview-Danube-Renville-Sacred Heart High School in 1998, according to her obituary. She had been a long-term substitute teacher at RCW before she began teaching there full-time in 2008.

While counselors are available in Twernbold's class for her students, Mortensen said the school is making sure all students and staff are getting the help they need during this difficult time.

"We're a very close-knit bunch of people here. Everyone is taking a role. The healing of our staff and students is very important to us," Mortensen said, adding the thoughts and prayers of everyone at RCW are with Twernbold's family.

Mortensen said the School Crisis Response Team from the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, along with social workers and counselors, are on hand at the school in Renville. She said staff and students are utilizing the services, which could be available for the rest of the week, depending on need.

Parents were made aware of the death and information was sent home.

Twernbold leaves behind her husband, John Twernbold, a band teacher at Litchfield Public Schools, and her son, Jack Sand. She is also survived by her parents, Dan and Sandra Licklider, sister Mandy (and Aaron) Bond and niece Adina, along with grandmother Gladys Lillegaard and other family.

According to the obituary from Dirks-Blem Funeral Services, Twernbold was born May 17, 1980, in Willmar and grew up in Renville. She graduated from Belview-Danube-Renville-Sacred Heart High School in 1998, where she was involved in volleyball, choir and band.

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A graduate of the University of Minnesota in Duluth, Twernbold earned a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in Spanish. She worked for Woodland Centers initially, while she also served as a long-term substitute teacher at Renville County West.

In 2008 Twernbold began working as a elementary Spanish teacher at RCW, while earning her teaching certificate from the College of Saint Catherine. Once she earned her bachelor's in elementary education, Twernbold began teaching fourth grade and later the fifth grade.

Twernbold married John Twernbold in July.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Lutheran Church in Renville, with visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and one hour prior to the service on Saturday, at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Jack Sand Educational Fund that will be established for Twernbold's son.

Related Topics: LITCHFIELD
Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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