TCA ALERTS! Have a wonderful summer: The first day of school is Tuesday, September 5, 2017. Summer Office Hours: 9:00-3:00 during July and 8:15-4:15 during August.
Our Teachers and Staff
We are fortunate to have excellent teachers and staff dedicated to the success of our students. All of the teachers at Twin Cities Academy are certified and licensed to teach by the State of Minnesota. We are pleased to introduce our teachers and staff.
Mallory Albright – Freshman Seminar Teacher and Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Mallory Albright and I am the Freshman Seminar teacher. I am originally from Chicago, IL and moved to Hudson, WI in 2016. I attended college at Millikin University in Decatur, IL where is received my B.A in Elementary Education. I recently got engaged in May of 2016 and enjoy planning our wedding in my free time. In the spring, I enjoy going to Chicago Cubs games and in the fall you will find me in Lincoln, Nebraska cheering on the Husker Football team – Go Big Red! Additionally, I also love spending time with our dog, Otis, traveling, shopping, and cooking.
Sarah Ancel – English teacher (email@example.com)
I have been at Twin Cities Academy for nine years now and I teach 7th grade English, Extensions and Literacy. I attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities for my Bachelor of Arts in English and Hamline University for my Master of Arts in Teaching degree. My husband Justin and I live in Brooklyn Park with our two fur babies, Charlie and Cooper. A few of my favorite things are: cleaning (vacuuming specifically–yes I know that’s weird), interior decorating, crafting, boxing, 90’s music, READING (currently mystery novels are my addiction), planning events/parties, traveling, trying new restaurants, and of course working with middle school students!
Sally Anderson – Speech-Language Pathologist (SallyA@lifetrack-mn.org)
I have a hard time writing about myself, so I asked some of my middle school students to help me. They would like me to share that I am from Michigan, I have a dog and a cat, and I love reading. One student suggested that I mention that I like jicama sticks and I always wear the same earrings. Another pointed out that I like pinball and I get off-topic easily. The last student said that I “get too excited about words”. I think this is a fair assessment.
Becky Arney – Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi! My name is Becky Arney and I am a special education paraprofessional at TCA. I am married and have two grown children, Kayla and Zach. When I’m not at TCA my favorite things to do are read, garden and travel. I have worked in education for many years as a special education teacher and am enjoying my new position at TCA!
Terri Ausen – Transportation Manager (email@example.com)
It is my greatest pleasure getting to know the wonderful students, families and staff at TCA. I have worked here doing numerous different jobs since 2009. This year I am focusing on food service, transportation and other miscellaneous tasks. Both of my kids attended the middle school and my son graduated from TCAHS. I no longer sit in the front office but will be very happy to have visitors in my new office. I have a degree from the University of Minnesota in Electrical Engineering.
Norka Avignon – Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Ms. Avignon, and I am excited to be enjoying my second year as a staff member at Twin Cities Academy. I actually attended TCA myself as a middle school student. Currently, I work with students in middle and high school classrooms. I am one of six daughters and because of this I am very passionate about empowering students — young women in particular. I believe in honesty, respect, hard work and serving others. I am currently a student myself pursuing a degree in organizational leadership with a minor in health. I enjoy music, dance, writing, spending time with my family and friends and a good book. I look forward to meeting you all.
Lou Bender – Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Lou Bender started her career as a music teacher with a Bachelor of Music from Wesleyan College, the first school chartered to grant degrees to women. She served for many years in non-profit and faith community settings, returning to public education in 2012. Ms. Bender currently works for TCA as a paraprofessional in the Special Services department, and is completing a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Walden University in Special Education.
Samantha Berg – Science Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Samantha Berg and I have been teaching 8th Grade Earth Science and middle school STEM for the last three years here at TCA. I attended the beautiful University of Minnesota Duluth for my undergrad and I am currently attending the University of Montana Bozeman for my master’s degree in science. I love to coach as much as I love to teach and here at TCA II coach varsity volleyball and softball. When I am not busy with school I enjoy biking, hiking, reading, board games, and spending times with friends and family.
Rob Cech – Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Hi! I am the math interventionist at TCA this year, which means I have my own classes to help a select few students with math fluency. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2014 with a degree in child psychology, and I returned to school this fall to work on my math teaching degree/license. In my free time I love hiking, camping, reading, playing tennis, and skiing. In the summer, I get into the woods with my hammock as often as I can, and in the winter I usually go skiing in the mountains out West.
Melissa Choquette – Band/Music Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Greetings! My name is Melissa, and I am thrilled to have joined the TCA team this Fall! I moved to Minneapolis from Sioux City, Iowa, in 2010 to attend the U of M. Since then, I have enjoyed sampling all the local food, parks, and live music the Twin Cities have to offer. This is my second full year of teaching, and I am most excited to explore the unique musical tastes of the TCA student community. I look forward to meeting and working with you!
Chris Church – School Psychologist (email@example.com)
I am new to TCA this year and am really excited to be part of the TCA community! I have worked as a school psychologist for the last six years. Prior to that I worked as a therapist in private practice. I enjoy being outdoors, eating ice cream, and spending time with my friends and family.
Emily Cook – Behavioral Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I went to college at Winona State University. This is my second full year at TCA. I started as a Paraprofessional and am in a new role this year as a Behavioral Specialist. I am so excited to be in our new school!
Tom Corcoran – Science Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Tom Corcoran. I went to school in Rochester and the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. I like all sports but baseball most of all, traveling, dogs, physics, trivia questions from Scott Lindholm, games and spending time with my wife Heather, son Teddy and two golden retrievers Physics and Sushi. I coach cross country and baseball and have taught in Wisconsin, Maryland, Japan and Minnesota. My favorite color is orange.
Lynn Delesha – Media Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I love reading and traveling and books are passports to fantastic places! I’ve worked in many countries as an educator and visited so many more through reading. Check out a book from the library and go on a fantastic adventure.
Melissa Duhn – Algebra II & Pre-calculus (email@example.com)
Greetings TCA! My name is Ms. Melissa Duhn, and I teach Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus this year. I’m originally from the Alexandria, MN area, and I graduated from the U of M with a Bachelors of Civil Engineering. After graduating, I moved to Jacksonville, FL for a few years. It was there that I found my way into the classroom, teaching an SAT course, Remedial Algebra, and even a year of Psychology! I am thrilled to be back in the Twin Cities with my husband, Jesse and our cat, Chewy. When I’m not at school I love reading, playing video games, and doing yoga. I’m excited to make this school year great!
Nathan Eckstein – Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My Name is Nathan Eckstein and this is my first year as a general education paraprofessional at TCA. I graduated from TCA in 2010. I graduated in 2014 from Lawrence University with a BA in Theatre Arts. Since graduation I have focused on equity work and social justice theatre as well as PR and marketing. I am thrilled to be back at TCA working with such a diverse and energetic group of students. In my spare time I enjoy staying active, enjoy time with family and friends and going to see the performing arts.
Erin Enquist – 6th English (email@example.com)
This is my first year teaching at Twin Cities Academy and living in Minnesota. I earned bachelor’s degrees in Literary Studies and Communication Studies from Iowa State University and a Master’s degree from Simpson College. I have substitute taught for a couple of years and have enjoyed working with students of all ages and in different subjects. I am excited to get to create a community of learners.
Bre’Elle Erickson – Theater teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ms. Erickson went to Hamline University where she majored in Theatre Arts and earned her teaching license in K-12 Theatre/Dance. She is an avid bookworm, theatre artist, and an appreciator of films made in the 80’s and early 90’s. In addition to TCA, she also teaches theatre classes at the Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis. She likes coffee, Disney, and her pet bunny rabbit named Basil.
Emily Farlow – Spanish teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Emily Farlow and this is my fifth year at TCA, seventh year teaching overall. I received my B.A. in Spanish Studies in 2008 from the U of M and my teaching license two years later from Bethel University. I enjoy working with our students and am equally passionate about their academic growth and character development. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé Evan and son Gavin and doing dance fitness, which I recently became certified to instruct. Here’s to a great year!
Stephanie Forster – Special Education teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi, my name is Stephanie Forster. I am a Special Education Teacher at TCA. I received my Bachelors Degree from Minnesota State University in Interior Design and Business. After volunteering in my children’s classrooms, I decided to change careers. I went back to school to get my teaching license in Special Education – Learning Disabilities. I am currently working toward my Masters. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my fiance, our three kids and our black lab Spotsy. My kids are Aidan age 8, Emily age 10 and Cam age 11. We are very involved with our children’s sports and activities. In the summer we enjoy going up north to our cabin and spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy cooking and reading.
Karissa Gibson – Behavioral Specialist (email@example.com)
Hello everyone! I am Karissa M. Gibson, Behavioral Specialist here at TCA by way of the University of MN-Twin Cities, Fed 4 setting school in Saint Paul, and other various avenues around the cities. I am a mother of a beautiful, intelligent, and energetic young lady who gives me so much life and energy. Some of my passions are enriching youth to better themselves, dancing in various genres (for therapy, performing, teaching, etc), and staying positive with a smile.
Alison Graversen – High School History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is my first year teaching at TCA and my 8th year as an educator. Previously, I taught social studies at Quest Academy and Minnesota International Middle School. This year I am teaching 10th grade U.S. History and 12th grade Geography. Outside of school, I am a yoga instructor and outdoor enthusiast. I love exploring the city trails as well as outstate Minnesota with my dog Harper.
Emily (Janssen) Gustafson – MS Math (email@example.com)
Hi! My name is Emily Gustafson. This is my fourth year of teaching middle school math. I graduated from Iowa State University in 2013 and am currently pursuing my Master’s degree from Peru State College in Curriculum and Instruction. I was married this past July! Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, traveling and crafting.
Alexandra Howes is a Minneapolis native. She received her B.A. in English/Creative Writing and Theatre at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. After graduation she worked in professional theatre before she joined the JET Programme and taught English for two years in Fukuoka, Japan. When she returned to the United States, she acquired her M.A. in Education from what is now St. Catherine University. At Twin Cities Academy she teaches high school English and also oversees the high school theatre program. When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys reading, writing, and climbing mountains.
Jonathan Hughes – 6th Grade Science (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Born and raised in Reno, Nevada nestled against the Sierra Nevada mountains, I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nevada, Reno and my Master’s Degree in Education from Graceland University. I taught middle school science for 5 years and upper elementary grades for 3 years before moving up to beautiful and historic Hudson, WI last summer. I enjoy getting outside, backpacking and learning Hebrew. I am looking forward to a great year as the 6th grade science teacher at Twin Cities Academy.
Chris Jackson – AmeriCorps Promise Fellow (email@example.com)
My name is Chris Jackson. I am working as a Promise Fellow through AmeriCorps providing students with any support they need and delivering a variety of activities to keep students at T.C.A. actively engaged. I graduated from Bethel University with a B.A. in History and Social Studies Education. I enjoy learning about new things, staying active, and relaxing with friends and family.
Ian Klein – Physical Education (Middle Sschool) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I grew up on Long Island, New York (about 15 minutes from Manhattan). I received a bachelor’s degree in business at a small division III College in New Jersey where I also played baseball. Shortly after graduating I moved to Colorado where I worked at an outdoor camping gear manufacturer, managing their international marketing and sales division. After 5 years and meeting my wife (also from NY), we moved to Minneapolis for her new job. At that point I decided to reevaluate career and consider a new path, one that has always lurked in the back of my mind, becoming a physical education teacher. I recently graduated from Concordia University St. Paul with a Health (5-12) and Physical Education (K-12) degree and license, and could not be more excited to be a part of Twin Cities Academy.
Craig Koch – Social Studies Teacher (email@example.com)
Craig Koch has taught social studies at Twin Cities Academy for 16 years. He currently instructs 9th grade World History and 11th grade Civics and Economics. Besides teaching, some of Mr. Koch’s favorite things include: parenting, listening to music, collecting vinyl records, going to shows, exercise, reading, Halloween, and Colorado.
Cassandra LaFleur – French Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bonjour et Bienvenue,
My name is Cassandra Avignon Lafleur. I was born in Haiti but have lived in the states most of my life. I now live in St. Paul with my husband. I graduated from Bethel University with my bachelor’s degree k-12 French Education and Concordia University with my Master of Education in Differentiated Instruction. This is my fourth year teaching French at Twin Cities Academy. I love teaching and sharing my knowledge of the French language with my Students. During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and have a great love for travel, music and dance.
Ilse Larsen – Athletic Director (email@example.com)
Ilse Larsen is Twin City Academy’s high school Athletic Director. She attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where she majored in French and Education and played tennis for the school team, specializing in doubles. She has lived in St. Paul for over 30 years with her husband, her 15 year old daughter, and her 12 year old son (oh, and their 6 year old dog Coco). In her down time Ilse enjoys working out, playing tennis, watching sports, reading, cooking, and knitting (not in any particular order). Look for her at our home sports games while you cheer on our Stars!
Scott Lindholm – Physical Education (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is my 9th year at TCA and I am beyond excited to be in our new building! I love baseball and work for the Twins when I am not teaching Health/Phy Ed; coaching high school baseball or middle school soccer; or hanging out with my wife and two step-daughters. I graduated from Winona State University and grew up an hour north of St. Paul in the beautiful river town of St. Croix Falls. I also really enjoy all things summer and eating (devouring) green olives and cheese curds. Go Twins!
Casey Magnuson – English Teacher (email@example.com)
Hello! My name is Casey Magnuson and I teach 8th grade English. I earned a degree in English from Hamline University in St. Paul and have a teaching license from the University of Minnesota, where I am also working on my Master’s degree. I have taught before at a school in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I used to live, and while New Orleans is amazing, there’s no place like home. This is my second year at TCA. I love to bike around the cities, read crime novels and watch football (Geaux Saints!) and soccer (Hala Madrid!). See you soon!
Maureen McCall – Social Worker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As a school social worker, my goal is to ask the right questions. This is my 6th year at TCA, and my 42nd (!) working with young people. I find that they continue to impress me with their answers and their viewpoints. My duties include meeting one-on-one with students, and facilitating groups, and connecting students and their families with needed resources. I have loved TCA since the moment I walked in the door.
Lisa McCarthy – HS Spanish (email@example.com)
My name is Lisa McCarthy and I teach high school Spanish. I live here on the east side with my partner Kelsey and my cat Macchiato (Maki) (as seen in the picture behaving like an angel). I am exited to be working and living in the same community after commuting to Maple Grove for 2 years while working at Beacon Academy Charter School. I went to school at Northern Michigan University and enjoyed exploring the outdoors in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I love theater, running, and photography and am excited to meet all of you!
Carmen Metty – Special Education Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am a SLD teacher for grades 9-12. I have 9 years of experience in this position and this is my first year at Twin Cities Academy. I love being a teacher and helping nurturing the minds of young adults. I attended UW Stout and received my BS in Art Education, then I went on to teach at the University of Minnesota in Painting where I earned my Master’s in Fine Arts in Painting. After I became a mother I went back to pursue teaching special education. I received my credentials at UW Stevens Point in Cross Categorical Special Education finishing with a Master’s in Education-General. I have 2 beautiful twin girls who are in their last year of High School. I was born and raised in Stillwater Minnesota. I enjoy making art, cooking and reading.
David Mitsch – English teacher (email@example.com)
Hi! My name is Dave Mitsch and I am one of the middle school Special Education teachers at Twin Cities Academy. This is my fourth year at TCA and I’m excited to be in the new building! I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a history degree, and I also received a social studies teaching license from the U. I received my special ed license from Augsburg College. I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for two years and I’m a big Red Sox fan. I enjoy reading, watching TV and movies and I play guitar, bass and drums.
Jackie Morrison – Special Education teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Jackie Morrison. I attended Minnesota State University, Mankato and have a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Secondary Education and a master’s degree in Special Education: Learning Disabilities. I have been teaching at TCA for three years and am currently a high school special education teacher and co-teach English and Math classes. I love to travel, read, play games, and spend time with my family.
Elizabeth Neilson – HS English (email@example.com)
I am excited to have joined TCA this year to kick off my fifth year as an educator! I am a passionate advocate for both educational travel and the arts/humanities, and continue to work hard to create opportunities for students to enrich their lives both in and out of school. Last year, I was honored to be selected as one of the semifinalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year, and plan to work even harder this year to live up to that honor. In my personal life, I am an avid world traveler, hockey fan (go St. Cloud State!) and reader. My husband and I have two cats, Venom and Ivy, and we have just recently moved to the Lowertown area of St. Paul from our hometown of St. Cloud. I am happy to be a part of such a wonderful city and neighborhood, and the TCA community!
Chad O’Leary – HS Biology (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Before joining Twin Cities Academy, I worked at Paideia Academy, a charter school in Apple Valley, Minnesota. I attended White Bear Lake Public Schools and graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with an undergraduate focus in biology. I later obtained my master’s degree from Saint Mary’s University and am currently finishing a second master’s degree in education from the College of St. Scholastica. I worked for several years on global amphibian declines at Vanderbilt University, where my work was published in scientific journals. Before teaching, I spent 10 years working with middle and high school youth in non-profit settings. I live on the east side of St. Paul with my husband Troy, and enjoy all things outdoors, I have five cats (Snurp, Hattie, Hobbes, Eleanor & Sophie), travel, and hunting for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion. I am also an award-winning baker at the Minnesota State Fair and have been to all 50 states.
Sarah Plattes – Math Teacher (email@example.com)
Hello! My name is Sarah Plattes and I teach middle school math at TCA. I graduated from the University of Northwestern, Saint Paul in 2011. I enjoy going to the Boundary Waters, puppies, eating ice cream, and spending time with my husband and son. I love Twin Cities Academy and I’m excited to be back for another year!
Bryce Rasmussen – Chemistry Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am Bryce Rasmussen and am teaching chemistry this school year. I taught chemistry and was an Avid Teacher at Coon Rapids High School for the past five years. I am an avid bike commuter and cyclist and love using technology in my classroom, and am happy to be working at TCA!
Brenda Reedy – Front Office Manager (email@example.com)
Hi my name is Brenda and work at the front desk in the Office. A little about me, I attended the University of South Dakota graduating with a BS in Education and keep my teaching license current in the state of MN. I started at Twin cities Academy in March 2016 as a Lead Paraprofessional, prior to that I worked at Paideia Academy for 1 1/2 years as an Instructional Assistant/Long Term Sub and in the Hopkins School District for 18 years as a Special Education Paraprofessional. I enjoy the atmosphere of working with students and the great staff at TCA. When I’m not at work, I enjoy baking, reading, crafting, scrapbooking and spending time with my family and attending many sporting events in the area. I am married and have two kids, a 15 year old son and 18 year old daughter who’s off at college this year!! We round out our family with a menagerie with our dogs, a Jack Russell/Beagle mix and a Pug and two cats.
Lindsey Rheingans – 7th & 8th History (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Lindsey Rheingans. I grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington and moved to St. Paul in 2007 to attend Bethel University. After college I served for two years with Americorps at a high school and middle school in the Saint Paul Public Schools. My role was to support students who were targeted as at risk of dropping out of high school and to coordinate academic, behavioral, and attendance interventions for them. This experience confirmed a life-long passion and commitment for educational equity. In 2014 I moved out to the Los Angeles area for my husband’s graduate program. While in California I completed my teaching credential in Social Studies and Master’s degree–graduating from both this past spring. My husband and I made the move back to Minnesota and now live in St. Paul. I am excited to get to know all of you this year and partnering with you to support TCA’s students.
Amanda Ruskin – Middle School French Teacher (email@example.com)
I recently completed a Master’s in French from Minnesota State University-Mankato. My thesis project examined linguistic interference in multilinguals (in other words, how multilinguals usually manage to speak the language they intended to, but sometimes another language sneaks in). This summer, I spent my 6th summer working at Lac du Bois (Concordia Language Villages), where we teach French in an immersive summer camp. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our dog, and knitting. In any language, I have a fine appreciation for puns and bad jokes. I am excited to be part of the TCA staff!
Nate Schultz – English teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Schultz teaches tenth and twelfth grade English, and he coaches the Twin Cities Academy Speech Team. He loves entering into conversations with young people about literature because he learns at least as much from students as they learn from him. His personal mission is to ensure that young people develop and express their thoughts in ways that others can best hear them. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Classics and holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Hamline University. Mr. Schultz is currently being raised by his three children–Callum, Lily, and Soren.
Bob Skweres – Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Mr. Bob here! I am currently attending Bethel earning my License in 5-12 Social Studies and Special Ed with a concentration on Autism. I’ve been a resident of St. Paul for over 46 years. I’m married with two teenagers. I have over 20 years of coaching experience in baseball, softball, football, soccer and hockey.
Camille Snyder – Art teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Camille Snyder and I am the Visual Arts Teacher at TCA for the 2016/2017 school year. I graduated with an arts education degree from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. When I am out of the classroom you can find me on a road trip, at a concert, snuggling my dog, or eating donuts and cupcakes. My favorite artistic medium is hand-building clay and charcoal drawings. I am enjoying firing up the new kilns this year!
Erin Spector – Executive Assistant (email@example.com)
Hello! I handle student enrollment, state reporting, parent communications, and social media updates here at TCA. After working as a paralegal in the corporate world, I am thrilled to be back in a school environment full of passionate and inspiring kids. My spare time involves my 2 awesome kids, 2 energetic rescue dogs, toiling away in my garden, and capturing life through my photography.
Jon Vik – Special Ed Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have a background filled with joyous memories of teaching elementary school for the past 15 years but came to TCA 2 years ago as a special education teacher in the middle school. This year I added time as a reading intervention teacher and also enjoyed coaching TCA’s first 6th grade soccer team this fall. Go Tigers!
Liz Wiggen – Community Outreach Specialist (email@example.com)
Hello everyone! I am excited to be at TCA this year in a new position, as our Community Outreach Coordinator. Previously, I have taught health elective courses at TCA. A little about me, I am a Minnesota native who loves to be active outdoors hiking, biking, camping, and swimming. I graduated from Augsburg College with a BS in health education and I earned my master’s degree in sustainable communities from Northern Arizona University. I have a deep passion for social justice, environmental sustainability, and love working with our incredible youth! It is my hope to create bridges between students, families, and our community, and create meaningful experiences that address important issues in our community.
Stephanie Zeitz – Crushshon – Science Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Ms. Z and I am the 7th grade science teacher this year. I attended Moorhead State University and then graduated from Augsburg college with a degree in Education and Science. Currently I am attending Augsburg for my Masters in Education. I love to sew and make things and play sports in my free time. I also enjoy gardening and hope to share that with my science classes this year.