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.
Terra Alvarez – Math Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Terra Alvarez and this is my 6th year teaching math and my third year at TCA. I teach Geometry, Statistics, Math Extensions, 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. Things that bring me lots of joy include cooking, gardening, listening to music, streaming TV shows with my partner, puzzles and board games, and fitness classes like Zumba and yoga. I love learning and my favorite teaching quote is “The best teacher is also a student.”
Terri Ausen – Transportation and Food Service Manager (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Kinyari Al-Ahad – Special Education Teacher (email@example.com)
Jessie Bakeberg – Math Interventionist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Samantha Berg – Science Teacher (email@example.com)
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.
Melissa Choquette – Band/Music Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jared Chycota – Chemistry & 9th Grade Integrated Science Teacher (email@example.com)
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.
Emily Cook – Behavioral Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Emily Cook, and the 2020-2021 school year is my fifth 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 (email@example.com)
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.
John Dabla – Behavior Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is John Dabla (the kids call me Mr. John), Behavior Specialist and Racial Justice Club Advisor at TCA. The 2020-2021 school year will be my third year at TCA, and my 11th year working with K-12 youth. I attended Mankato State University-Minnesota while also being Vice President and Fundraising Coordinator of the institution’s Black Student Union. In my free time, I’m a freelance model, I enjoy listening to music, traveling, spending time with family and friends.
Don Dainsberg – School Psychologist (email@example.com)
Hello! My name is Don Dainsberg. This is my first 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.
Lynn Delesha – Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Lynn Delesha and the 2019-2020 school year is my fifth year as the Library/Media Specialist at TCA. 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. I also am a yoga teacher. I love reading and traveling—books are passports to fantastic places!
Lisa Dennis – Social Worker (email@example.com)
My name is Lisa Dennis and the 2020-2021 school year is my third 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 5 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.
Alison Drummond – History Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Alison Drummond and I teach high school social studies at TCA. In the 2020-2021 school year, which is my fifth 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!
Ivy Elliott – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Bryan Elyea-Wheeler – Middle School Social Studies Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Erin Enquist – English Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Erin Enquist, and 2019-2020 is my fourth 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.
Bre’Elle Erickson – Theater Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wayne Flenniken – 7th & 9th Grade Science Teacher (email@example.com)
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.
Brian Ford – Math Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Peter Giebink – HS English Teacher (email@example.com)
A teacher. An advertiser. A filmmaker. A musician. These are roles I’ve played throughout the years, and they all find their way into my classroom at some point or another. (Well, okay, I wear my teacher hat daily.). As I’ve found my way from Bogotá, Colombia—where I first started teaching, and from where my wife was raised—to El Colegio High School in Minneapolis to Twin Cities Academy, my path has made unexpected twists and turns. And that’s what makes life fun, right? Now, I find myself with two teenage boys at home, where Spanglish (Spanish mixed with English) is spoken, and there’s never a dull moment. The excitement continues as I begin my first year teaching English 9 and English 10 at TCA!
Wendy Gorman – Spanish Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Andrew Gorrell – District Assessment Coordinator and Behavior Interventionist (email@example.com)
Julie Harvey – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alexandra Howes – English Teacher (email@example.com)
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 10th 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.
Jonathan Hughes – Science Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Chris Jackson – Social Studies Teacher (email@example.com)
Hello! My name is Chris Jackson. I’m teaching social studies in the high school; the 2020-2021 school year is my fifth 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.
Anne Kealy – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi, my name is Anne Kealy, and the 2020-2021 school year will be my third year at TCA as a paraprofessional. 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 with my husband and one year old son.
Craig Koch – Social Studies Teacher (email@example.com)
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. Besides teaching, some of my favorite things include parenting, listening to music, collecting vinyl records, going to shows, exercise, reading, Halloween, and Colorado.
Marilu LaVoie – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Marilu LaVoie and the 2020-2021 school year is my fifth 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 – Physical Education (email@example.com)
My name is Scott Lindholm, and this is my 13th 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 middle school soccer, and 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 tacos. Go Twins!
Jessica Longtine – Physical Education (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! I am Jessica Longtine and I am excited to be your Health, PE and Wellness teacher. I have spent the last 20 years serving as an expert in the health and wellness industry. My focus has been providing health-based enrichment programming for children. My mission is to inspire the next generation to live healthier lives. I have a masters in Holistic Health from St. Catherine University and a bachelors in Health Education and Exercise Science from the University of MN-Duluth.
Maureen McCall – Social Worker (email@example.com)
Hello, my name is Maureen McCall. As a school social worker, my goal is to ask the right questions. This will be my 11th year at TCA, and my 47th (!) 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.
Ali Michael – Front Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stephan Michaud – French Teacher (email@example.com)
Bonjour! I am starting my second 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 eight 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.
David Mitsch – Special Education Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi! My name is Dave Mitsch and I’m one of the middle school Special Education teachers at Twin Cities Academy. This is my eighth year at TCA. 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’ve coached baseball at TCA for the past few years and coached 6th grade basketball last year. In my free time, I work at Target Field for Twins games. I also enjoy going to concerts and playing the guitar.
Darrell Moffitt – Behavior Specialist (email@example.com)
Katie Morris – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.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 (email@example.com)
The 2020-21 school year marks my ninth year as an educator and my fifth 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.
Andrew Ng – Math Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Andrew Ng. I graduated from Winona State in 2010, studying Mathematics and Secondary Mathematics Education. I have a passion for learning and helping others see and understand math in ways that otherwise go unnoticed. In my free time, I like to play games, build computers, and work on my cars.
Alexa Oberembt – Math Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Alexa Oberembt and the 2020-2021 school year will be my third year teaching at Twin Cities Academy. I am excited to teach math and to get to know everyone at TCA. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse with a double degree in Math and French education in 2017. 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.
Shawn Osterhus – Social Studies Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gina Pedriana-Basche- Art Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Gina Pedriana-Basche and 2020-2021 is my fourth year teaching art at TCA. For 15 years, I taught at River Falls High School where I taught classes in AP-Art History, Sculpture, Ceramics, Painting, and Drawing. I received my BA degree from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in Fine Arts Education from University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Originally from Milwaukee, I now call Hudson, Wisconsin my home, where I reside with my husband Scott, daughter Sophia (adopted from Russia) and two dogs, Stella and Henry. I am passionate about teaching, art, skiing, running, yoga, and traveling the world!
Sarah Plattes – Math Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Sarah Plattes. This will be my sixth year teaching math at TCA, and my tenth 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 three (soon to be four in October!) children. I also enjoy spending time outdoors—one of my favorite places to go is the Boundary Waters. I have been going on trips there since I was three years old and am excited to soon bring my children there!
Brenda Reedy – Business Coordinator (email@example.com)
Hi, my name is Brenda Reedy. 2020-2021 is my fourth year as the Business Coordinator at Twin Cities Academy. I attended the University of South Dakota, graduating with a BS degree in Education and keep my teaching license current in the state of Minnesota. 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 Sub, and in the Hopkins School District for 18 years as a Special Education Paraprofessional. I enjoy 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 18-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter. We round out our family with a menagerie of our dogs, Thurston and Brutus, and cats, Elsa and Polly.
David Sanchez- Spanish Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Megan Schlossmacher – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
My name is Megan Schlossmacher (the kids call me Ms. Megan) and this is my 2nd year teaching Special Ed classes and an advisory class. I started at TCA as a paraprofessional. After earning my Bachelor’s degree in Public Health, Bioethics, and History of Medicine, I spent several years in clinical research as a regulatory specialist for clinical trials with a focus on cancer. I left clinical research and decided to focus on my photography business while nannying and during that time I realized my true passion is working and helping kids. In my free time, I love traveling, hanging out with my dog, going to concerts, and photography.
Arlene Seashore – Health Aide (firstname.lastname@example.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 (email@example.com)
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.
Bob Skweres – Special Education Teacher and Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Erin Spector – Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator (email@example.com)
Hello! My name is Erin Spector and the 2020-2021 school year is my fifth year at TCA. I handle student enrollment, state reporting, parent communications, 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.
Emily Stripe – Spanish Teacher and 504 Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Emily Stripe and I’m excited to be in my ninth 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.
Mo Taylor – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Jessica Thompson Drummond (Ms. Thompson) – Biology, AP Biology, Environmental Science Teacher – (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yolanda Valle – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Liz Vandergon. This is my second 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!
Victor Vondracek– Athletic Director (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Seth Wester – ELL Teacher (email@example.com)
Sarah Whisler – Middle School Math (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Sarah Whisler and this will be my second year teaching at Twin Cities Academy. I’ve been teaching math for the past 3 and a half years and have been in education for 6 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 (email@example.com)
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 White – Reading Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wendy Wilcox-Garrity – French teacher (email@example.com)
Bonjour! The 2020-2021 school year is my third here at TCA where I will be teaching MS French Immersion continuation (levels I and III) as well as HS French (level 2 and CIS). 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 – (firstname.lastname@example.org)