Academic Faculty

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Karen Albrecht joined SPCPA’s Special Education department in 2014. She earned her licensure in Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders at Augsburg College, where she is currently completing her Master’s degree. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in music education, has completed coursework for Autism Spectrum Disorders at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and is a highly qualified K – 12 teacher in English, Language, Literature and Composition. Ms. Albrecht taught K – 8 music in North Central Wisconsin then worked as a sourcing/business analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota before returning to school for her special education licensure.

Raymond Bailer began teaching Government and Economics at SPCPA in 2013. He received his B.A. in Broadfield Social Studies for Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and spent time at the University of Southern Cross in Lismore, Australia. Mr. Bailer taught U.S. History and a course called Modern Problems focusing on Economics, Sociology and Public Policy at Wayzata High School before joining SPCPA’s Social Studies department.

Jessica Cosgrove joined the math department at SPCPA in 2013. She previously taught at high schools around the Twin Cities metro area including South Saint Paul, Farmington and Lakeville. Ms. Cosgrove received her B.A. in Mathematics Education with a minor in Chemistry Education from University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

Clare Dickey first began teaching in New York City as an AmeriCorps member. After one year teaching in P. S. 13 in Easy New York, Brooklyn, she returned home to Minnesota where she received her B. A. in Theatre and Education from Saint Olaf College. After completing a semester of student teaching with SPCPA in the fall of 2012, Ms. Dickey continued to work for SPCPA as a theatre director, mentor and educator. She joined the English department as a full-time academic teacher in 2014. Ms. Dickey continues to make theatre, working with organizations such as Young Artist’s Initiative, Awesome Children’s Theatre and the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company. She is passionate about global perspectives and the value of storytelling.

Jessica Dippel began teaching Math at SPCPA in 2014. She received her B. A. in Mathematics Education with a minor in Coaching from University of Wisconsin – River Falls. She is also currently working on her Master’s of Education in the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Ms. Dippel has previously worked at East Ridge High School and coached girls swimming at Woodbury High School.

Stephen Dymond earned his B. A. in Art History from the University of Minnesota, his M. A. in Science Education from Saint Vincent College and is certified in K-12 Environmental Education, as well as 9-12 Life Science. He began teaching in the science department at SPCPA in 2014. He received an award for excellence in science education from Saint Vincent College.

Donna Ferber joined the SPCPA Social Studies department in 2014. She earned her B. S. in Social Studies Education from Ohio University and her M. A. in History from Xavier University in Cincinnati. She has 26 years of experience in teaching Social Studies and English in Ohio, Kentucky and Minnesota. Ms. Ferber was also an AP US History test reader for eight years.

Zachary Flessert began teaching Biology and Physics at SPCPA in 2014. He earned his B. S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he is currently working toward his Masters of Education, as well. He spent two years researching the herpes simplex virus and has taught in Minneapolis, as well as Berkeley, CA.

Noemi Garcia joined SPCPA’s World Languages department in 2014. She holds her Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in classroom instruction and a Reading Endorsement from Concordia University in St. Paul. Ms. Garcia earned her pedagogy credits to obtain her teaching license from Bemidji State University. She has taught all levels of Spanish to a wide range of learners from beginners to advanced. Her educational philosophy lays on the belief that working together with parents, teachers, administrators and the community, we can all create the best educational environment for all learners to be academically successful.

Emily Johnson earned her B. A. in Secondary English Education from Augustana College in Illinois, then her M. A. in English from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She began teaching English at SPCPA in 2014. Prior to working at SPCPA, she spent six years in the English department in Sterling, IL, and was the Scholastic Bowl Varsity Coach for four years.

David Jovanovic began teaching at SPCPA in 2014. He studied Biology and Chemistry at Northern Michigan University and the University of Minnesota, and has done graduate work at Hamline University. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Jovanovic worked in the biotech and analytical science professions as a biologist and chemist for seven years.

Eric Lassila joined the SPCPA English department in 2014. He earned his B. A. in English from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and his M. S. in Education from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Mr. Lassila has worked in the education field for seven years in Illinois, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Matt Logan joined SPCPA in 2014 as a paraprofessional. He earned his B. A. in Spanish with a minor in Education and holds his Minnesota K-12 license in World Languages. He taught Spanish for two years at Highland Senior High School in St. Paul and spent one year in Spain teaching English.

Rachel Miller began teaching in the Science department in 2014. She earned her B. S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Before joining SPCPA, she taught Biology, Chemistry and Wildlife Ecology in Baraboo, WI.

William Miller joined the SPCPA English department in 2014. He completed his B. A. in English, as well as some post baccalaureate education, at Hamline University. He received his Master’s from St. Mary’s. Prior to teaching at SPCPA, Mr. Miller was the director of drama at Highland Park Junior High, Mayo Senior High and Hmong College Prep Academy. He loves Shakespeare, mysteries and teaching writing.

Aaron Nickel joined SPCPA in 2014 as a Math teachers. He earned his B. A. in Mathematics from Gustavus Adolphus College and went through the Graduate Teacher Licensure Program at Minnesota State University – Mankato. Mr. Nickel spent five years in a variety of long-term substitute teaching positions at schools including Farmington High School, Robbinsdale Armstrong and Cooper High Schools, Stillwater High School and the St. Croix Valley ALC.

Joshua Rains earned his B. A. in English Literature from James Madison University in Virginia. Before joining SPCPA in 2014 as an English teacher, he taught for five years, including internationally in Indonesia, Kuwait and the Northern Marianas Islands. Mr. Rains is currently enrolled in the Teacher Ready program from the University of West Florida, received categories 1, 2, and 3 I. B. PYP training, and attended the 2012 I. B. regional conference in Madrid, Spain. He also presented a workshop at P. E. A. K. (Professional Educators Association of Kuwait) in 2012.

Jean Scheaffer joined the SPCPA Social Studies department in 2014. She has taught a myriad of English and Social Studies classes in Alaska, California and Minnesota. She has a B. S. in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from the University of Oregon and enjoys teaching, traveling, music and nature.

Tara Schifsky worked in the radio sales and advertising industry before joining SPCPA’s Social Studies department in 2014. She earned her B. A. in Journalism/Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Sociology from St. Thomas University. She later went back to school and earned her teaching license and a Master’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education, with a concentration in Sociology, from St. Catherine University. Ms. Schifsky previously worked at Tartan High School teaching history, sociology and psychology.

Roger Seeling began working at SPCPA as a Special Education teacher in 2014. He earned a B. A. in Elementary Education at the University of Minnesota and completed a Master’s program in instructional design and educational technology. In the first part of his career as an educator, Roger designed educational software and provided teachers with instruction about educational uses of computers in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, around the United States and at three overseas US military bases. In 1999, Roger chose to work in public schools and earned certificates in Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. He’s enjoyed working with high school students and young adults who are open-minded and a little bit “alt”. He loves spending time at his cabin and in his canoe in Northeastern Minnesota.

Morgan Steele holds a B. A. from Cornell College in French and Secondary Education. She also holds an M. A. in Teaching with an emphasis on Teacher Leadership from Grand Canyon University. After graduating from Cornell in 2007, she began her career teaching French in Houston, TX, where she taught 5th and 6th grades at an International Baccalaureate School for two years before teaching high school French for five years, teaching French I through AP French Language and Culture. Mrs. Steele has served as foreign language department chair and has presented at many Texas Foreign Language Association conferences on her own and with colleagues. She is passionate about language acquisition at all levels and continues to research best practices in her free time.

Andy Thorson joined the SPCPA Math department in 2014. He earned his B. A. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 2009 and is currently working on his Masters of Mathematics Education. He holds a Minnesota teaching license in 5 – 12 Mathematics Teaching. Prior to working at SPCPA, he worked as a tutor at the McNamara Academic Center at the University of Minnesota, as well as two years as a tutor at Mathnasium in Plymouth.

Kjersti Vevle has been working as a part of the SPCPA staff since 2005 as a Social Studies instructor.  Ms. Vevle graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in History and Dance and a M.A.T. in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas.  In addition to being an AVID trained teacher, Ms. Vevle is a member of Phi Alpha Theta.

Kristin Westby began teaching in the Modern Languages department at SPCPA as a Spanish instructor in 2013. She received her B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Education and an endorsement in English Language Learning (ELL) from Luther College. Her Minnesota teaching license is valid for both K-12 Spanish and ELL. She spent a semester in college at La Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. Before joining the SPCPA faculty she worked with Putney Student Travel and National Geographic Student Expeditions as the director of Peru programming. Ms. Westby has teaching experience in Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Nevada, and has led community service trips to Peru and Costa Rica.

Kelly Wilke joined the SPCPA science department as a Chemistry teacher in 2014. She received her B. A. in Chemistry from Lafayette College with a minor in Anthropology and Sociology, and her D. V. M. from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, along with her M. S. in clinical research. Ms. Wilke practiced applied physics, chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology as a clinical professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Her role included training veterinarians, treating dog and cat patients in the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Units, and doing clinical research to advance veterinary medicine. An opportunity to fill in as a long-term substitute high school chemistry and physics teacher inspired her to continue working with high school students. Ms. Wilke is thrilled to share some of her experiences, as well as love of problem solving and critical thinking, with SPCPA students.