Callie Jacobs, Superintendent (Director of School)
Dr. Callie Jacobs holds a B.S. in Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Minnesota and a M.A. in teaching and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. She is a licensed life science teacher, having taught Biology, Advanced Biology, Environmental Science, and Physical Science at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists for three years, Center for Training and Careers, and in the School District of Elcho, Wisconsin. She has been engaged in programs such as the Neuroscience Outreach Program and Brain Awareness Week, both established by the University of Minnesota to further engage teachers and students in opportunities that promote practical applications of science. She continues to seek research opportunities for the purpose of integrating her interests in science, education, and leadership. In doing so, Dr. Jacobs obtained licensure as a school administrator and received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of St. Thomas.
Brian Goranson, Principal
Brian Goranson received his Ed.S. from the University of St. Thomas in 2014 and an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of MN in 1994. Since then, he has appeared in over 50 productions on many local and national stages, including: The Guthrie Theater, Florida Stage, Illusion Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, The Great American History Theatre, and The Jungle Theatre. He directed productions at Actor’s Theatre of MN, Illusion Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, The Great American History Theatre, The Playwright’s Center, Starting Gate, and 50 Foot Penguin. Brian served as Artistic Director for Theatre L’Homme Dieu for its 2006 and 2007 seasons. He also spearheaded the 2001 Sally Award-winning arts education program, The Chicago Avenue Project, from 1996 through 2003. As a theater educator—in addition to numerous residencies in high schools and colleges all over the country—he taught for 7 years at the University of Minnesota. In 2004, Brian received the Lake Conference Achievement Award in Fine Arts, recognizing distinguished alumni. Previous to his role as Artistic Director (Principal) for SPCPA, he served as its Theatre Department Chair and has been with the school from its inception.
Monica Lonergan, Director of Special Education
Monica Lonergan holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in Social Work and Psychology. She obtained her M.S. in Special Education from Purdue University and her Administrative License from Hamline University. Previous to her role as a Director of Special Education, she taught special education students in Kindergarten through transition-age programs. She has provided training to teachers on topics ranging from due process compliance to writing effective IEPs. Monica has received a Certificate of Recognition from the state for her work as a member of the Specific Learning Disabilities trainers network.
Alissa Abelson, Dean of Students
Alissa Abelson recently completed a graduate certificate in Charter School Leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University. She has a K-8 teaching license with concentration in 5-8 Social Studies and has been in education since 2005. Alissa holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelors in Psychology from Marquette University. She comes to SPCPA after spending two and a half years as the Director of Student Support Services at Upper Mississippi Academy. Prior to that position, Alissa spent seven years teaching at the Friends School of Minnesota as both a first and second grade and a middle school humanities teacher. While at the Friends School, Alissa coordinated the conflict resolution program. As coordinator, Alissa presented locally and nationally about the unique program, and she provided training for a small independent school in Pasadena, CA. Alissa currently serves as the Board Chair for AmazeWorks, a Twin Cities non-profit dedicated to helping schools, communities and organizations create conditions of equity and belonging for all.
Emily Johnson, Student Achievement and Post-Secondary Advisor
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. Currently, Emily serves as an advisor for all grade levels, assisting students with class selection, transcript review, graduation progress, and college applications. She teaches the Independent Research & Design course to seniors, and she serves as the SPCPA Yearbook advisor.
Susan Reiling, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
Susan Reiling has been with SPCPA since 2005 and brings to the Conservatory 9 years of prior administrative experience in both for-profit and non-profit settings. She graduated from Minneapolis Business College in 1996 with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Office Administration. Prior to working at SPCPA, Susan was employed as an office coordinator with Family Support Network and administrative assistant in the corporate office of Midwest Auto Parts Distributors.