About Me

Rykken Old LutheranGreetings from Black River Falls, an old river town that traces its roots to 1838 and the arrival of lumbermen from Massachusetts and New York.  Those first settlers encountered the Ho-chunk people who traced their origins to the Green Bay region.  We live with the legacy of that early history today.

After 41 years of teaching high school history and politics, 30 in the BRF School District, I am pivoting to the world of virtual teaching starting in the fall of 2020 through UW-Green Bay’s Dual Enrollment Access Academy.  This is a continuation of work I have been doing for the past 7 years as an adjunct instructor with UW-GB’s First Nations Studies Department.  For the next year, I will continue to coordinate the Falls History Project and coach distance runners.  In addition, I will continue as an active contributor to Wisconsin First Nations, a web-site devoted to advancing the cause of First Nations studies in our state.

I graduated from West Fargo High School in North Dakota in 1975 and earned a B.A. in History and Coaching Minor from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1979.  I also earned a Master’s Degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1985 with an emphasis on American History.  I taught in Appleton High School in Minnesota and West Fargo High School in North Dakota prior to coming to Wisconsin in the fall of 1990.

This page reflects my areas of interest related to history and teaching.  Thanks for the visit and please contact me if you have questions.

Contact InformationMission Rock Cord

E-Mail:  pstrykken@gmail.com


1 thought on “About Me

  1. Lucas Stacy

    Dear Mr. Rykken,

    Firstly, I hope this message finds you and your family in good health and as good of spirits as can be in times like these. Now, the idea of this message crossed my mind when I first heard the news and it would’ve been best had I sent it that day but nevertheless here we are.
    I would like to wish you congratulations on your retirement, and on such an incredible career. I don’t what the odds of such an extremely gifted and honorable teacher and coach ending up in my small town of Black River Falls, WI was but I truly thank the stars that you did.
    I’ve told everyone that more than anyone else, Mr. Rykken ignited in me such a drive and passion for history and being civically-engaged (a highly underrated aspect of US life, almost no one I’ve encountered takes real interest, oftentimes it’s actually “cool” not to care). Not only that, you were an exceptional leader with impeccable consistency, patience and understanding, respect, breadth of knowledge, wisdom, communication, and you could put that all together into a syllabus and you could teach kids day in and day out for weeks on end; simply amazing, and your work has only ever gotten more worthy of appreciation as I’ve gotten older. As I’ve thought about the questions of how best to address the various issues plaguing American society today, I realized that your decision to use your immemnse talents to teach was even more commendable.
    In a society lacking in critical thinking, mired in media manipulation, locked into tribal conflict, on top of everything else what better way to change the future for the better than by setting up our youth with the understanding and ability to navigate it? I’m assuming your thought process there, that’s how i see it anyway, but in any case the value of your work cannot be understated. From the fundamental of driving kids to be thoughtful citizens, to developing, coordinating and curating an introductory high school course (dual-credit no less) about First Nations’ history, your undeniably positive influence on the world will be expansive and longlasting.

    Lucas Stacy



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