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.
Humera Akmal – Special Education Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kinyari Al-Ahad – Special Education Teacher (email@example.com) Meet Mr. A!
Branch Allen – Facilities Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chris Berry – Kitchen Staff
Bryan Bew – Middle School Social Studies Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Bryan Bew (formerly Elyea-Wheeler). This is my third 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. Bew!
Samantha Bew – Science Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kathleen Carmody (she/her) – Science Teacher (email@example.com)
Hello. My name is Kathleen Carmody. I am teaching Chemistry and 9th grade Integrated Science. This will be my first year teaching at TCA. But it will be my eighth year teaching. I recently moved back to Minnesota after 7 years in Florida, so I will probably complain about the weather when it gets cold. I like cooking (it’s related to chemistry) and reading, especially murder mysteries.
Melissa Choquette – Band/Music Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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!
Emily Cook – Behavioral Specialist (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.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!
Marquette Culpepper – Community Coach (email@example.com)
John Dabla – Community Coach and Racial Justice Committee Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is John Dabla, but I prefer Mr. John. I’m one of the Community Coaches and Racial Justice Committee Advisors. The 2022-2023 school year will be my fifth year at TCA and my 13th year working with K-12 youth having held a variety of previous roles. In my free time, I am a signed fashion/editorial model, I enjoy listening to music and hanging out with family and friends.
Don Dainsberg – School Psychologist (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Lynn Delesha and this is my seventh 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 (email@example.com)
My name is Lisa Dennis and the 2022-2023 school year is my fifth year at TCA! I grew up in Iowa but moved to Minnesota in 2013. 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 7 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. Travel is a big passion of mine but I also love spending quality time with family and friends!
Wende Diaz – Special Education Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Wende Diaz and I have been a teacher here at Twin Cities Academy for 5 years. I have taught Minnesota History, Global Studies, and I am currently teaching in a Special Education classroom. I have an undergraduate degree from St. Catherine’s University and a Master’s from Concordia. In my spare time I enjoy writing and listening to music, and in the summer I like to bike ride and river kayak. Go Tigers!
Alison Drummond (she/her) – History Teacher (email@example.com)
Hello! My name is Alison Drummond and I teach high school social studies at TCA. In the 2022-2023 school year, which is my seventh 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 Minneapolis with my husband and dog, Harper. Apart from teaching, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and being outside as much as possible.
Maura Eckert – Kitchen Staff
Monique English – Special Education Paraprofessional and Advisory Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Erin Enquist – English Teacher (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Bre’Elle Erickson and the 22-23 school year will be my eighth year at TCA! I have a degree in Theatre Arts and Education from Hamline University. When I am not teaching, you can usually find me reading. I also enjoy traveling, attending concerts, and going to Disney World. I live in Saint Paul with my fiancé and our two cats, Howl and Sophie.
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. Meet Mr. Wayne!
Brian Ford – Math Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vanessa Gomez – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Wendy Gorman – Spanish Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Andrew Gorrell – District Assessment Coordinator and Behavior Interventionist (email@example.com)
My name is Andrew Gorrell (Mr. G) and the 2022-2023 school year will be my fifth year at TCA! I coordinate all state-mandated assessments, I am a member of our behavior team working as a Community Coach and will work with juniors and seniors in regards to college readiness. I previously worked in a Hmong charter school for seven years in Brooklyn Park, MN doing similar roles. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Spanish from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2009 and completed a Master’s in Educational Leadership from St. Mary’s University in 2015. One of my greatest life experiences was teaching English in South Korea for one year. I have also traveled to 16 countries in Europe and Asia. In addition to traveling, I enjoy exploring the bike trails in St. Paul, driving my collector car to car shows in the summer, watching Jeopardy! (and any form of trivia), and spending time with friends and family
Julie Harvey – Special Education Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Amira Harvey – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Alexandra Howes (she/her) – English Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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 and Technology Coordinator (email@example.com)
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’ve taught for almost 15 years, teaching both middle school science and upper elementary grades. I enjoy getting outside, camping and binge watching shows on Discovery+. I am looking forward to a great year as the 6th grade science teacher at Twin Cities Academy.
Chris Jackson – Social Studies Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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!
Arch Jones – Art Teacher (email@example.com)
Hi! My name is Arch Jones, but I prefer Mr. Arch. This is my first year of teaching Middle and High School Art at TCA, and I absolutely love it. I graduated from SCSU in 2018 with a B.A. in Art, and my favorite mediums are drawing, painting, and printmaking. In addition, I love sports and exercise; I played DIII Rugby at SCSU and earned my personal training certification after graduating. Currently, I live in Uptown Minneapolis with my wife, who is attending Grad School at UNW St. Paul.
Anne Kealy (she/her) – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Anne Kealy, and this will be my 5th year at TCA. I am the Due Process and Scheduling Assistant in the Special Education department and am currently working towards earning my Master’s in teaching. I graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a degree in English Literature and Classical Studies. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and spending time with my family.
Craig Koch (he/him) – Social Studies and AVID 10 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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Meriah Leach – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Joyce Lee – English Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scott Lindholm (he/him) – Health & Physical Education, Nutrition, and Sports Psychology (slindholm@twincitiesacademy.
My name is Scott Lindholm, and this is my 15th year at TCA! I love baseball, being active, listening to music, and cooking. I also enjoy coaching our high school baseball program and hanging out with my 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 tacos. Go Padres!
Ashley Martinson – English Teacher (email@example.com)
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 like to bike, hike, cross country ski, play video games, listen to audiobooks/podcasts and write.
Maureen McCall – Social Worker (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Ellie McCarty – Social Worker (email@example.com)
My name is Ellie McCarty and this is my 1st year as a social worker at TCA. I received my undergrad degree in Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Chemical Dependency at SCSU and my Masters in Social Work at Augsburg University, Minneapolis MN. I have worked in a school setting for 16 years in various roles providing social emotional support and resources for young people and families to navigate life’s opportunities and challenges. I enjoy spending time with family and friends in nature, around animals, exploring, and traveling.
Terese McCauley (she/her) – Operations Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I used to go here, now I work here!
Dave Mitsch (he/him/his) – Due Process and Assessment Specialist (email@example.com)
Darrell Moffitt – Physical Education (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sean Morgan – Teaching Assistant (email@example.com)
My name is Sean Morgan and I am in my first year as a Special Education teaching assistant at Twin Cities Academy. I have spent the past 15 years as a paraprofessional and licensed Special Education
teacher. I attended Earlham College where I majored in Music and minored in Peace and Global Studies. While an undergrad, I spent 3 months studying and performing in Vienna, Austria. I attended
the University of St. Thomas for grad school as a member of the Collaborative Urban Educators’ cohort and have my license in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
I am originally from Chicago and have been a proud Eastsider for the last 13 years. Three cats allow my spouse, our son, and me to live with them. In my free time I like to spend time with my family,
cook, participate in community social justice actions, listen to and play music, and generally do whatever the cats want.
Isabel Motivans – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nik Nelson (he/him) – Math Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Nik Nelson (he/him), and the 2022-2023 school year will be my first year at TCA. I have been teaching mathematics to grades 6-12 for the past 16 years, 5 years at Pines School and the past 10 years at St. Paul City School. I grew up and currently live in Minneapolis and graduated from MNSU Mankato. In my spare time, I enjoy music, spending time with friends, traveling and being outside.
Andrew Ng – Math Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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. I teach Algebra Two and Pre-Calculus, as well as Personal Finance and ACT Prep. In my free time, I like to play all sorts of games as well as build and customize computers.
Shawn Osterhus – Social Studies Teacher (email@example.com)
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!
Nicole Quercia – Special Education Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eunice Rivera – Front Desk/Attendance (email@example.com)
David Sanchez- Spanish Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Hola, I am David Sánchez de León Gómez-Porro and I have been teaching Spanish at Twin Cities Academy since January 2020. Born and raised in rural Europe, I attended the University of Salamanca in Spain graduating with a BA in Philosophy, a MA in Education and another MA in Sociology. I have taught in Spain, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and now the US, where I lived since 2019. In my spare time I enjoy books, science fiction movies, video games, biking, taking care of my garden, playing with my two kids and going on dates with my wife.”
Madison Sauer (she/her) – School Counselor (email@example.com)
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, ride my motorcycle and go to concerts!
Arlene Seashore (she/her) – 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 have an Associates 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.
Sam Seegers – Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Ben Sellin – Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Salma Siddiqui – Special Education Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Salma Siddiqui and I am very excited to be part of the TCA family. This will be my second year and I am super excited to be back again. I completed my Masters in ABS 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Bob Skfweres, the students call me Mr. Bob! I have been working at TCA since 2015, and been a case manager since 2016. 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.
Megan Skweres – Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Hello, my name is Megan Skweres and the kids call me Mrs. Bob (married to Mr. Bob). I am a paraprofessional and love working with children. I have two kids and love all things sports.
Emily Stripe – Spanish Teacher and 504 Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Emily Stripe and I’m excited to be in my 11th 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 am also currently working on my masters there! 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 kids Gavin and Eliza and our hounds Artemis and Apollo. In my spare time, you’ll find me spending time with my family, gardening, and doing dance fitness at local gyms.
Julie Trebtoske-El Eid – Special Education Substitute Teacher (email@example.com)
Yolanda Valle – Special Education Paraprofessional (firstname.lastname@example.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 (email@example.com)
Victor Vondracek– Athletic Director (firstname.lastname@example.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 the President 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.
Jami Watson-Jiang – French Teacher (email@example.com)
Bonjour! My name is Jami Watson-Jiang and I have taught French Language and Culture since January 2021 at TCA. I graduated from Central Michigan University with my Bachelor’s degree in French Language. More recently, I graduated from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with my Master’s degree in French Studies. I’m very happy to be back at TCA this year teaching the French I-IV sequence. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, spending time with my husband and dog, and knitting sweaters.
Seth Wester – ELL Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alexa Wevers (she/her) – Math Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Alexa Wevers and the 2022-2023 school year will be my fifth year teaching at Twin Cities Academy. (I am formerly Miss. O, as I just got married to my husband this past summer!) 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 have currently been to 18 different countries and Morocco and France were two of my favorites.
Sarah Whisler – Middle School Math (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hello! My name is Sarah Whisler and this will be my fourth year teaching at Twin Cities Academy. I’ve been teaching math for the past 5 and a half years and have been in education for 8 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 dog, Addy.
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!
Donyai Whitner- Special Education Paraprofessional (email@example.com)
Wendy Wilcox-Garrity (she/her) – French teacher (firstname.lastname@example.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.
Brittany Williams – Biology Teacher (email@example.com)
My name is Brittany Williams and I will be teaching Biology and AP Biology this year. In my 4 years of teaching, I have taught middle level math, Intro to Earth and Space Science, Intro to Biology, and Intro to Physical Science. I am very excited to get to know everyone at TCA. I am originally from Missouri, where I studied at Missouri State University. My husband and I moved to Minnesota in May of 2019 and we have loved every second of it! We have three fur-children, a tuxedo cat named Mitch, a Cardigan corgi named Tesla, and Pembroke corgi named Edison. In my spare time I like to play survival games (PC), play with my dogs, and sip coffee on my back deck.
Olivia Wulf – English Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My name is Olivia Wulf, and I am very excited to start at Twin Cities Academy this fall! I graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor’s degree in English, and from Metropolitan State University with a master’s degree in education. I live in St. Paul, and this will be my fourth year teaching. In my free time, I enjoy theater, books, and travel.
Joann Zakrzewski – Kitchen Staff