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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.

 

 

Kinyari Al-Ahad – Special Education Teacher (kalahad@twincitiesacademy.org)   Meet Mr. A!

Terri Ausen – Transportation and Food Service Manager (tausen@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Terri Ausen.  It is my greatest pleasure getting to know the wonderful students, families and staff at TCA.  I have worked here in various jobs since 2009. I am responsible for food service and transportation.  Both of my kids attended TCA Middle School and my son graduated from TCAHS. I have a degree from the University of Minnesota in Electrical Engineering.

Samantha Berg – Science Teacher (sberg@twincitiesacademy.org)   

My name is Samantha Berg and I have been teaching 8th Grade Earth Science and Middle School STEM for the last six years here at TCA. I attended the beautiful University of Minnesota Duluth for my undergrad and received my Master of Science degree from Montana State University Bozeman. I love to coach as much as I love to teach and here at TCA I coach varsity volleyball and softball.  When I am not busy with school, I enjoy biking, hiking, reading, board games, and spending time with friends and family. Meet Ms. Berg!

Melissa Choquette – Band/Music Teacher (mchoquette@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello there! My name is Melissa Choquette, and I am the music teacher at TCA. I am entering my fifth year at the school, and am excited to see our music program continue to grow! In my free time, I enjoy brewing a cozy cup of tea, playing outside, and pursuing a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Hamline University. I am looking forward to another great year of making music with this creative TCA community!  Meet Ms. Choquette!

Jared Chycota – Chemistry & 9th Grade Integrated Science Teacher (jchycota@twincitiesacademy.org

My name is Jared Chycota and it will be my first year teaching at TCA. I am very excited to be here and I will be teaching Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Integrated Science! I earned my degree in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota and followed that up by getting my teaching license from the same place. This year I am most looking forward to getting to know everyone and becoming a part of this community. Meet Mr. Chycota!

Emily Cook – Behavioral Specialist (ecook@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Emily Cook, and the 2021-2022 school year is my sixth full year at TCA.  I started as a paraprofessional and am now a Behavioral Specialist. I went to college at Winona State University.

Tom Corcoran – Science Teacher (tcorcoran@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Tom Corcoran.  I went to school in Rochester and at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. I have taught in Wisconsin, Maryland, Japan and Minnesota.  I like all sports (baseball most of all), traveling, dogs, physics, trivia questions, games and spending time with my wife, two kids and two golden retrievers.  I coach cross country and baseball. My favorite color is orange. Meet Mr. Corcoran!

John Dabla – Community Coach and Racial Justice Committee Advisor (jdabla@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is John Dabla (everyone calls me Mr. John), I’m one of the Community Coaches and Racial Justice Committee Advisors. The 2021-2022 school year will be my fourth year at TCA and my 12th year working with K-12 youth having held a variety of previous roles. I attended Mankato State University – Minnesota. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, listening to music and hanging out with family and friends.

Don Dainsberg – School Psychologist (ddainsberg@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello! My name is Don Dainsberg. This is my second year at Twin Cities Academy. I was a teacher for many years before I received my licensure as a school psychologist. I enjoy the outdoors, which includes distance running, golfing, photographing animals, and traveling. I have coached several sports over the years. I am most happy when spending time with family, friends, and students. Meet Mr. Dainsberg!

Lynn Delesha – Librarian (ldelesha@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Lynn Delesha and this is my sixth year as the Library/Media Specialist at TCA.   I love reading and traveling—books are passports to fantastic places! I received my MA in Education from the University of St. Thomas, my master’s degree in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey and my Library/Media degree from St. Cloud State University.  I have lived and worked as an educator in Nicaragua, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Egypt and the U.A.E. In my spare time I read, practice yoga and walk my little Chihuahua named Gigi.

Lisa Dennis (she/her) – Social Worker (ldennis@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Lisa Dennis and the 2021-2022 school year is my fourth year at TCA! I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Iowa State and my Masters in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. I have worked in the school setting for 6 years in various roles but school social work is my favorite! Prior to this, I worked as a school therapist in various districts throughout the Twin Cities. I enjoy traveling, trying new things, and spending time with friends and family. Meet Ms. Dennis (and Ms. McCall)!

Geraci LawSusanne Donahoe – Special Education Teacher (sdonahoe@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello EVERYONE!  My name is Susanne Donahoe and this 2021-2022 school year will be my first full year at Twin Cities Academy.  I anticipate AND look forward to a great year with both staff and students.  I have been teaching  for over 20 years and love seeing the growth of each student academically, socially and emotionally.  I am honored to be a part of their development. I was born in Augsburg, Germany and came to the US as a young child. I enjoy travelling, reading, refurbishing the old to the new and painting. Let me know if I can assist you in any way.

Alison Drummond (she/her) – History Teacher (adrummond@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello!  My name is Alison Drummond and I teach high school social studies at TCA. In the 2021-2022 school year, which is my sixth year at TCA, I will be guiding students in U.S. History, Human Geography, Sociology and History of the 1960s.  I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota, graduated from Richfield High School, and received my BS in Social Science/History Education from Winona State University. I currently live in St. Paul, and apart from teaching I enjoy practicing yoga, reading, cooking, and spending as much time outside as possible! Meet Ms. Drummond!

Ivy Elliott – Special Education Paraprofessional (ielliott@twincitiesacademy.org)

Bryan Elyea-Wheeler – Middle School Social Studies Teacher(belyeawheeler@twincitiesacademy.org

My name is Bryan Elyea-Wheeler, I go by Mr.E.W. This is my second year at TCA, I teach 6th Grade Minnesota History and 8th Grade Global Studies. I am also involved in the Middle School Student Council, and Head Coach of Varsity Girls Basketball and Track and Field.   I have taught two years in Colorado and two years in Northern Minnesota on the Iron Range. I completed my undergraduate at Concordia University St Paul where I was involved in student government and competed as a division two track and field athlete. I completed my masters from Western Governors University. In my free time I enjoy hiking, camping, and going on runs with my border collie named Keezey. Meet Mr. E.W.!

Erin Enquist – English Teacher (eenquist@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Erin Enquist, and 2021-2022 is my sixth 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 enjoy working with students of all ages and in different subjects. Meet Ms. Enquist!

Bre’Elle Erickson – Theater Teacher (berickson@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Bre’Elle Erickson and the 2021-2022 school year will be my seventh year at TCA! I attended Hamline University and graduated in 2013 with a degree in theatre and education. I am passionate about any sort of art! In my free time, I enjoy travel, books, attending concerts, and getting to Disney World as often as I can. Meet Ms. Erickson!

Wayne Flenniken – 7th & 9th Grade Science Teacher (wflenniken@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello! I’m Wayne Flenniken and this is my second year at TCA. Please call me Mr. Wayne. I will be teaching Life Science and Integrated Science. I’m from Delaware and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Guilford College. I worked as a chemist for six years in several industries such as medical research, polymer chemistry, drug development, and chemical terrorism prevention. I live near TCA with my wife and our two cats. My hobbies are video gaming (PC and PS4) cooking, reading, dungeons and dragons, and playing board games. I’m a licensed scuba diver and I grew up on a farm. Meet Mr. Wayne!

Geraci LawBrian Ford – Math Teacher (bford@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello! My name is Brian Ford and I will be teaching Algebra 8 and Honors Intermediate Algebra 7/8. 2021/22 will be my second year here at TCA. In my spare time, I enjoy soccer, basketball, disc golf, poker, reading, and watching movies. I got my undergraduate degree at Hamline, and then got my teaching license from the University of MN Twin Cities (and am also currently working on my masters there as well). I previously worked in the AVID program in the Robbinsdale School District. I am married and we live in Maplewood.

Meet Mr. Ford!

Wendy Gorman – Spanish Teacher (wgorman@twincitiesacademy.org)

Meet Ms. Gorman!

Andrew Gorrell – District Assessment Coordinator and Behavior Interventionist (agorrell@twincitiesacademy.org)

 

Geraci LawKaryn Hall-Dayle (she/her) – Physical Education (khalldayle@twincitiesacademy.org)

I am really excited to become part of the TCA community. My wife and I are both teachers and we live in St. Paul with our cats, dogs and chickens. I am very interested in the “why” we do what we do. I honor the truth we all come with and will work together to create uniqueness in the TCA community. 

Julie Harvey – Special Education Paraprofessional (jharvey@twincitiesacademy.org)

Alexandra Howes (she/her) – English Teacher (ahowes@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Alexandra Howes, and I am a Minneapolis native. I received my BA in English/Creative Writing and Theatre at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.  After graduation, I worked in professional theatre before joining the JET Programme and teaching English for two years in Fukuoka, Japan. When I returned to the United States, I acquired my MA in Education from what is now St. Catherine University. This will be my 12th year as a high school teacher at TCA. I teach American Literature, AP Language and Composition, and the University of Minnesota’s WRIT 1201 as part of College in the Schools. I am also the high school theatre director. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy reading, writing, and climbing mountains. Meet Ms. Howes!

Jonathan Hughes – Science Teacher (jhughes@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Jonathan Hughes.  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 five years and upper elementary grades for three years before moving to beautiful and historic Hudson, Wisconsin. 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. Meet Mr. Hughes!

Chris Jackson – Social Studies Teacher (cjackson@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello!  My name is Chris Jackson.  I’m teaching social studies in the high school; the 2021-2022 school year is my sixth year at TCA. I graduated from Bethel University with a BA in History and Social Studies Education. I enjoy learning about new things, playing basketball, staying active, and relaxing with friends and family. Meet Mr. Jackson!

Anne Kealy (she/her) – Special Education Paraprofessional (akealy@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Anne Kealy (she/her pronouns), and the 2021-2022 school year will be my fourth year at TCA.  My previous years were spent as a paraprofessional, but this year I am moving into the Due Process and Scheduling Assistant role within the Special Education department, for which I am very excited.  I graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a degree in English Literature and Classical Studies.  In my spare time, I enjoy going to the cabin, watching British reality shows on Netflix, and hanging out at home with my husband and son.

Craig Koch (he/him) – Social Studies and AVID 10 Teacher (ckoch@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Craig Koch, and I have taught social studies at Twin Cities Academy for 20 years.  I currently teach 9th grade World History and AVID 10. Besides teaching, some of my favorite things include parenting, listening to music, collecting vinyl records, going to shows, exercise, reading, Halloween, and Colorado. Meet Mr. Koch!

Marilu LaVoie – Special Education Paraprofessional (mlavoie@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Marilu LaVoie and the 2021-2022 school year is my sixth year at TCA!  I enjoy my position as a paraprofessional in Special Ed working with students and watching the students learn and grow year to year as I learn and grow alongside them.  I have two adult children and six grandchildren. I enjoy being outdoors, reading, walking and spending time with my family and friends.

Scott Lindholm (he/him) – Physical Education (slindholm@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Scott Lindholm, and this is my 14th year at TCA!  I love baseball, and I work for the Twins when I am not teaching Health/Phy Ed.  I also enjoy coaching high school baseball and hanging out with my wife, two step-daughters and dachshund, June.  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 fully enjoy all things summer, beaches and eating (devouring) green olives and tacos. Go Padres! Meet Mr. Lindholm!

Geraci LawAshley Martinson – English Teacher (amartinson@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hi! My name is Ashley Martinson and this is my 8th year in education. I am teaching AP Language and 9/10 ELA.  I live in St. Croix Falls, Wi with my husband and our two cats, and I am a self-proclaimed lover of all things ‘nerd.’  My favorite book series (currently) is The Dresden Files. I’m currently getting my MFA at Hamline University and in my free time I she like to bike, hike, cross country ski, play video games, listen to audiobooks/podcasts and write.

Maureen McCall – Social Worker (mmccall@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello, my name is Maureen McCall.  As a school social worker, my goal is to ask the right questions.  This will be my 12th year at TCA, and my 48th (!) working with young people.  They continue to impress me with their answers and their viewpoints.  My duties include meeting one-on-one with students, facilitating groups and connecting students and their families with community resources.  My husband and I have two grown sons: Brian, who is a Marine Corp vet and works for the US Postal Service, and Tim, who lives in LA and travels the world filming professional skateboarders.  My hobbies include traveling, gardening and sewing.  I’ve loved TCA since the moment I walked in the door. Meet Ms. McCall (and Ms. Dennis)!

Ali Michael – Front Desk (amichael@twincitiesacademy.org)

Stephan Michaud – French Teacher (smichaud@twincitiesacademy.org)

Bonjour! I am starting my third year at TCA as a French teacher. Originally from Quebec City, Canada, I have a degree in Teaching French and Educational Leadership. I have been in the education field for over 25 years and taught in various international schools within the USA, Canada, Germany, and Egypt. Living in Minneapolis for almost nine years, I appreciate and enjoy everything Minnesota has to offer. My hobbies include biking, running, snowboarding, camping, cooking and gardening. I am looking forward again this year to share my cultural experiences and empower our students in becoming better world citizens. Meet Mr. Michaud!

Dave Mitsch (he/him) – Due Process and Assessment Specialist (dmitsch@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hi! My name is Dave Mitsch. This is my ninth year at TCA. I have been a special education and social studies teacher.  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. This year, I am excited to start a new position as the Due Process and Assessment Specialist. In my free time, I work at Target Field for Twins games. I also enjoy going to concerts, playing the guitar and walking my dog. Meet Mr. Mitsch!

Darrell Moffitt – Behavior Specialist (dmoffitt@twincitiesacademy.org)

 

Geraci LawKatie Morris – Special Education Paraprofessional (kmorris@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Katie Morris, and I am a special education paraprofessional in my second year here at TCA. I grew up in North Carolina, studied psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, and most recently moved from Nashville, Tennessee after finishing graduate school at Vanderbilt University. I am excited to continue getting to know and exploring the Twin Cities! I love singing, baking, and all things Harry Potter.

 

Elizabeth Neilson – English Teacher (eneilson@twincitiesacademy.org)

The 2021-2022 school year marks my tenth year as an educator and my sixth at TCA. I teach English Honors 9, English Honors 10, and AVID 11; I also serve as the yearbook adviser and the teacher of the yearbook class. I have been a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year twice, and recently sat on the Minnesota ELA Standards Revision Committee, where I helped to write our state’s English/Language Arts standards for the next ten years. 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. In my personal life, I am an avid world traveler, reader, and hockey fan (go St. Cloud State and NY Rangers!) My husband and I live in downtown Minneapolis with our two cats, Venom and Ivy. Meet Ms. Neilson!

Andrew Ng – Math Teacher (ang@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Andrew Ng. I graduated from Winona State in 2010, studying Mathematics and Secondary Mathematics Education, and I have enjoyed every moment of teaching ever since. I have a passion for learning and helping others see and understand math in ways that otherwise go unnoticed. This year, I am excited to take what I have learned and the skills I have developed from distance learning and bring those skills into my classroom. In my free time, I like to play all sorts of games as well as build and customize computers. Meet Mr. Ng!

Alexa Oberembt (she/her) – Math Teacher (aoberembt@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Alexa Oberembt and the 2021-2022 school year will be my fourth year teaching at Twin Cities Academy. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with double degrees in Mathematics and French, and from Bellarmine University with a Master’s degree in teacher leadership and trauma informed practices. I am originally from the Twin Cities, and I enjoy hiking around the area, as well as, camping, playing both soccer and golf, and reading in my spare time. I also love to travel and learn about other cultures. I currently have been to 18 different countries and Morocco and France were two of my favorites. Meet Ms. O!

Geraci LawShawn Osterhus – Social Studies Teacher (sosterhus@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Shawn Osterhus. I am beginning my 2nd year at Twin Cities Academy. I teach 7th Grade US History and co-teach 8th Grade Global Studies. I graduated from the University of Northwestern – St. Paul with a degree in Social Studies Education. In my free time I love making music, singing, politics, reading books and articles, and disc golf. I enjoy building relationships with students and want them to feel welcome in my classes. Meet Mr. Osterhus!

Sarah Plattes – Math Teacher (splattes@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello!  My name is Sarah Plattes. This will be my seventh year teaching math at TCA, and my eleventh year teaching overall. I received my bachelor’s degree from University of Northwestern – St. Paul and my master’s degree from Peru State University.  I enjoy spending time with my husband and our four kids, playing games, and going to the boundary waters.

Brenda Reedy (she/her) – Business Coordinator (breedy@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hi, my name is Brenda Reedy.  2021-22 is my sixth year as the Business Coordinator at Twin Cities Academy. I attended the University of South Dakota, graduating with a BS degree in Education.  I started at TCA in March 2016 as a Lead Paraprofessional. Prior to that, I worked at Paideia Academy for one-and-a-half years as an Instructional Assistant/Long Term Special Education Teacher Sub, and in the Hopkins School District for 18 years as a Special Education Paraprofessional.  I enjoy working with the awesome students and the great staff at TCA. When I’m not at work, I enjoy traveling, baking, reading, crafting, scrapbooking and spending time with my family and attending many sporting events in the area and hanging out at our new little cabin we purchased as a summer getaway. I am married to my husband, Robert and have two kids, a 20-year-old son, Jose, and 24-year-old daughter, Asiah.  We round out our family with our dogs, Moxxi and Nahlah, and cat, Elsa.

Erin Reusing (she/her) – Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator (ereusing@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello! My name is Erin Reusing and the 2021-2022 school year is my sixth year at TCA. I handle student enrollment, state reporting, and social media updates. My spare time involves my two awesome teenagers, two energetic rescue dogs, toiling away in my garden, and capturing life through my photography.

 

Geraci LawDavid Sanchez- Spanish Teacher (dsanchez@twincitiesacademy.org)

Meet Mr. Sanchez!

Madison Sauer (she/her) – School Counselor (msauer@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hi! My name is Ms. Sauer and I am the school counselor at TCA. I received my B.S. in Psychology from Iowa State University and my M.A. in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I am the person to come to about social and emotional concerns, college and career planning, or general academic advising. Outside of work I love to spend time with friends and family, be outside, travel, and go to concerts!

Arlene Seashore (she/her) – Health Aide (aseashore@twincitiesacademy.org

Hello all! I am Arlene Seashore. I have had two children pass through the doors of Twin Cities Academy, and have found the staff so agreeable that I came to work at TCA as the Health Aide. I thoroughly enjoy my work with the students because no day is ever the same with teenagers around!  I have a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work, and am currently licensed and working part time as a Physical Therapy Assistant. In the summer I enjoy part time employment at the fairgrounds. My free time is spent enjoying my family, walking my dog, planning summer adventures, gardening and reading.

Torrean Shaw – Special Education Paraprofessional (tshaw@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hi, Torrean Shaw. I’m a Para-Teacher here at TCA. I enjoy basketball, video games, funny movies, horror movies, and I’m a car fanatic. I enjoy working with children, because I like to be able to bridge the gap of young adults and our staff. 

Salma Siddiqui – Special Education Teacher (ssiddiqui@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Salma Siddiqui and I am very excited to be part of the TCA family. This will be my first year and I can’t wait to meet my new students and get to know them. I am pursuing my Masters in ABS and will earn my degree next year from University of St Thomas. I have been living in Woodbury since 2008 with my husband and we have three wonderful children with whom I love enjoying outdoor activities. I have fun traveling and hanging out with family and friends.

Bob Skweres (he/him) – Special Education Teacher and Paraprofessional (bskweres@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Bob Skweres, the students call me Mr. Bob! This will be my 6th year at TCA and 4th as a Special Education Case Manager. I’m married with two children, one teenager, one adult and live in St. Paul. I enjoy coaching all sports (Go Gophers!), golfing, hunting, and listening to all kinds of music. Meet Mr. Bob (and Ms. Brown)!

Emily Stripe – Spanish Teacher and 504 Coordinator (estripe@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Emily Stripe and I’m excited to be in my tenth year at TCA. I received my BA in Spanish Studies in 2008 from the University of Minnesota 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. My husband and I live in Falcon Heights with our son Gavin and our dogs Phyzor and Artemis. In my spare time, you’ll find me spending time with my family, trying my hand at gardening, and doing dance fitness at the local YMCA. Meet Ms. Stripe!

Mo’Asante Taylor (they/them) – Special Education Paraprofessional (mtaylor@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hey y’all, My name is Mo’Asante Taylor. My students call me Taylor (they/them pronouns). This will be my third year at TCA as a special education paraprofessional. In the last few years I have moved back to St. Paul from sunny ol’ California. Previously I’ve worked at nonprofits with foster and homeless youth as a mentor. I’m currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in psychology, because I have a passion for helping others understand their thinking patterns and experiences and help them make sense of both. Something cool about me is that I am an artist and I love to create music. I also enjoy entertaining my friends and cooking for them (specialties include Jamaican, Indian, Mexican, Mediterranean, and Soul Food). I love being a part of the TCA community and look forward to what every school year has in store for us.  

Geraci LawJessica Thompson Drummond (Ms. Thompson) (she/her) – Biology, AP Biology, Environmental Science Teacher – (jthompson@twincitiesacademy.org)

Ms. Thompson loves science and nature and has worked all over the country as a researcher, naturalist and teacher. She now lives in Minneapolis with her two children, husband and dog. In her spare time she loves to exercise, specifically weightlifting and explore the outdoors. Meet Ms. Thompson!

Yolanda Valle – Special Education Paraprofessional (yvalle@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello, my name is Yolanda Valle.  I’m a Paraprofessional working with middle and high school students at TCA. I’m a wife and a loving mother of four; we live in St Paul. In my spare time I love to watch my children play their sports. We are all BIG Minnesota sports fans!  Go Vikings, Timberwolves, Twins, Wild and Lynx!

Liz Vandergon – Middle School English Teacher (evandergon@twincitiesacademy.org

My name is Liz Vandergon. This is my third year at TCA and I will be teaching 7th grade English. I completed my undergraduate at the University of Minnesota and earned my teaching license through Hamline University. I grew up in Minnesota and just made the move to Northeast Minneapolis where you can always find me enjoying all of the food, music, and culture that the city has to offer. I am so excited to be joining the TCA team and looking forward to a great school year! Meet Ms. Vandergon!

Terra van der Lugt – Math Teacher (tvanderlugt@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Terra van der Lugt (previously Alvarez, I got married this summer!) and this is my 7th year teaching math and my 4th year at TCA. I teach Geometry and Statistics and am a proud partner of the AVID program. I studied Mathematics, Spanish, and Computer Science at St. Norbert College, and I also earned my Masters degree in Math Education from the College of St. Scholastica. I love to spend time relaxing with my husband and our dog Ollie.  Things that bring me lots of joy include cooking, gardening, reading, listening to music, puzzles and board games, and fitness classes like Zumba and yoga. This summer I had lots of fun participating in water aerobics at the community pool! I love learning and my favorite teaching quote is “The best teacher is also a student.”

Victor Vondracek– Athletic Director (vvondracek@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Victor Vondracek. I was born in southwest Minnesota and grew up in Walnut Grove. I graduated with a B.S. in Sports Management and a Minor in Business Administration from Southwest Minnesota State University where I played Division II rugby for the Mustangs. Upon graduation, I moved to Memphis, TN to work for an AAU basketball program called M33M (a.k.a. Hoop City Basketball Club), working with more than 300 kids and parents in the program and coaching athletes from the age of ten and under, all the way to Division I and NBA players.  Currently, I serve as an executive board member for TCA’s respective athletic conference (Eastern Minnesota Athletic Conference) consisting of ten (10) schools. I donate my time to charitable foundations such as the Youth Athletic Foundation, Mike Miller Foundation, and D1Minnesota, helping organize events and tournaments that raise money to help give our youth opportunities through basketball and athletics. Aside from Athletic Director responsibilities, I currently coach AAU basketball with the organization D1MN.

Steve Weeks-Johnson – Middle School English Teacher (sweeksjohnson@twincitiesacademy.org)

My name is Steve Weeks-Johnson.  I’m a Minneapolis native and started my teaching career in Arizona where I taught English for three years before the draw of international teaching lured me to Poland.  There I spent 12 years as an administrator, teacher, rugby player, and musician in the capital city of Warsaw. During that time I attempted to learn the language, traveled Europe, and started a family.  I recently returned with my wife and two little girls to start a new chapter in Minnesota. I enjoy teaching 8th grade English at Twin Cities Academy. Meet Mr. Johnson!

Seth Wester – ELL Teacher (swester@twincitiesacademy.org)

Meet Mr. Wester!

Sarah Whisler – Middle School Math (swhisler@twincitiesacademy.org

Hello! My name is Sarah Whisler and this will be my third year teaching at Twin Cities Academy.  I’ve been teaching math for the past 4 and a half years and have been in education for 7 years now.  What drew me to teaching was being able to help students find success in math and help build a student’s confidence in their own abilities.   A little on me: I grew up in Iowa, where I met and married my husband and we decided in 2013 to move north to the Twin Cities. In my free time, you’ll find me either baking, working out, traveling, spending time with friends, seeing family, going to the theater or orchestra, supporting our home pro-teams, or enjoying one of the many great cultural events in our cities.  There’s so much to do here and I love it! I currently live in Saint Paul with my husband, Robbie, and our two dogs, Junior and Addy.

Courtney Whitcraft – Behavioral Specialist (cwhitcraft@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hello! I am Courtney Whitcraft and this is my second year at Twin Cities Academy as a behavior specialist. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls with a degree in communicative disorders, and later went back to school for my behavior analysis certification.  I’ve been working with families, students, and teachers for over 15 years here in Minnesota. I enjoy adventures that include travel, road trips, waterfalls, hiking, hammocking, camping, and live music. I have a sweet cat, Lucy, who likes to meditate with me.

Janet L. White – Reading Specialist (jwhite@twincitiesacademy.org)

Hi, my name is Janet L White. This will be my 4th year as the Reading Specialist at TCA. I enjoy reading, of course, crocheting, fishing and scrabble or any other board game.  I am looking forward to a successful school year working with a wonderful staff and students. Meet Ms. White!

Wendy Wilcox-Garrity (she/her) – French teacher (wgarrity@twincitiesacademy.org)

Bonjour!  The 2021-2022 school year will be my fourth year at TCA teaching Middle and High School French classes. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University in French Language and Literature and my Minnesota teaching license through Bethel University’s graduate school of education. I strive to make my language classes welcoming, fun, and engaging for all learners. I live in Woodbury with my husband, our two teen-aged daughters, our two dogs and two cats.  I love the diversity of cultures, languages and foods in the Twin Cities and enjoy going to theatre productions, concerts and sporting events with my family.

Aishia Williams – Special Education Paraprofessional – (awilliams@twincitiesacademy.org)