New Teacher Feature: Zach Riopelle


Zachary Riopelle is one of Albert Lea High School’s new physical education teachers.

Zach Riopelle, better known as Mr. Rio, is a new Phy-Ed teacher joining the tiger family.

He was raised in Warren, MN and studied Physical Education and Health Education at North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead. He can be recognized in gym class as he teaches 8th grade physical education, 10th through 12th grade physical education, developmental adapted physical education and weight lifting. 

Riopelle can also be seen at the Hammer sports complex this year. He is reentering the high school football world as the offensive and defensive line coach for Albert Lea’s varsity football team.

In high school, Riopelle played football, basketball, track and baseball. After high school, he played a year of college football at NDSU. Riopelle came to Albert Lea to teach and coach. He wants to make an impact on the students he teaches and coaches. He believes the most valuable thing you can teach students is life lessons. 

“You would love for them [his student] to have a 4.0, but what’s more important to me is whether or not they are a better human after your time with them is done,” said Riopelle. 

Outside of school, Riopelle enjoys partaking in a wide variety of activities. From fishing and playing video games to cooking and restoring furniture, Riopelle enjoys it all. 

Although an athlete, Riopelle also exhibits a love for music. Despite the lack of ability to read sheet music, Riopelle took part in all of his school’s musicals. He was also in band, pep band, choir and pop choir. 

 “I have been playing the drums since I was in 5th grade,” Riopelle said. 

Riopelle wants to tell the students of ALHS to take advantage of high school opportunities because it only lasts so long, “enjoy the ride because there are things you are going to miss when it is done.”