Academic Faculty

Karen Albrecht, Learner Strategies Teacher
Ms. Albrecht earned her M.A. and licensure in Specific Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders at Augsburg University. She also earned a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin—River Falls and has completed coursework in Autism Spectrum Disorders at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She enjoys teaching elementary students in Apple Valley during the summer and playing the flute. She joined SPCPA’s Special Education department in 2014.

Halat Basheer, Math Teacher
Halat has three years of experience teaching high school math and Computer Science. Halat loves biking, golfing and hiking with her family, and she also loves to cook and craft. She created and programmed a birdwatcher, retro video games, a remote selfie robot car and a magic mirror that greets her in the morning and displays the time, weather, calendar, news, and social media updates. Halat has a Master of Science in Urban Education for Mathematics from Metropolitan State University. As well as a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and Associate of Applied Science in Software Technologies. She has an InterTech Express J Unit, InterTech Complete Java Certification and Minnesota Professional Licensing and Standards Board Tier.

Daniel Cassell, Math Teacher
Daniel has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Psychology from NKU. He also has a Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati with STEM concentration.

Morgan Day, English Teacher
Ms. Day earned her teaching licensure as well as a BA in Communication Arts & Literacy Education and English Literature & Writing from Bethel University in Saint Paul. Prior to SPCPA, she worked in publishing as an editor at Beaver’s Pond Press and as a copywriter for Catalyst, an online social justice journalism platform.

Laura Franke, English Language Teacher
Laura earned her M.A. in Teaching at Hamline University. She holds a B.A. from the University of Madison WI. Her studies in learning French and studying abroad led her to learning about teaching language. She has taught EL for ten years from ages kindergarten to adult education. Laura was also an EL coordinator for two years. She is looking forward to working at SPCPA!

Dustin Haug, Science Teacher and Academic Programs Coordinator
Dustin Haug has been a staff member since fall of 2008. He has taught SPCPA students in modern dance, improvisation, partnering, chemistry, physics, and physical science. In 2012, he created the J-Term piece Everything, All at Once for the Evening of Dance showcase. Before SPCPA, Dustin lived in Seattle, WA, where he taught high school science, horticulture, and visual art in addition to touring and performing with KT Niehoff’s lingo dancetheater. He also tutors students in ACT/SAT prep, teaches dance outside of SPCPA at Zenon Dance School, and performs with Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA Dances. He loves his job and is super inspired by his students every day.

Maxwell Healey, Special Education Paraprofessional
Maxwell graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2021 with a degree in Comic Arts. Maxwell has taught for the History Theatre, East Side Arts Council, and the MIA as a teaching artist, including worked with the Minneapolis Independence Community College.

Adam Levy, Social Studies Teacher/Songwriting & Ensemble Teacher
Adam produced and released a number of records, music placed in film & TV, toured internationally, is a band leader singer/songwriter/guitarist in multiple musical projects, and is the spokesperson for mental health issues. Adam has a BA in Cultural Anthropology and American Studies from the University of MN.

James Lewis, Science Teacher
James has a BA from Luther College in Biology and minored in Chemistry and Cultured Studies. He has an MS from Washington State University in Crop Science and an MEd in Secondary Science Education from the University of MN.

Taylor Lohman, Social Studies and English Teacher
Ms. Lohman received her Social Studies Teaching major from Winona State University, and completed her double major in history and theology at Concordia University in St. Paul. She earned her Masters in English from the Oxford Brookes University in England, writing about the prevalence of the Frankenstein mythos in modern science fiction.

Elizabeth Echavarría Nelson, Spanish and American Sign Language Teacher
Ms. Nelson is a Texan native from humble beginnings now living in Minnesota with her seven children. She has received a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Human Resource Development as a Ray G. Price Fellow and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chicano Studies. Her professional accomplishments include National Association of Profession Women 2013/14 Woman of the Year Award, University of Minnesota Women of Color Tapestry Award 2012, a certified Meyers Briggs Type Indicator I&II practitioner, and Ms. Nelson serves on the Minnesota Judicial roster of interpreters.

Natalie Reinhart, Social Studies Teacher
Ms. Reinhart earned her Social Studies licensure and B.A. in American Studies from Carleton College. Ms. Reinhart formerly worked in AVID classrooms as a tutor and co-teacher, and she spent the 2016 school year in Minneapolis Public Schools as a student teacher and reserve teacher.

Mindy Richmond, Math Teacher
Mindy Richmond joined the SPCPA mathematics department in 2019. She has earned her B.A. in Secondary Mathematics Education, and her M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction. Richmond has a wide variety of teaching experience from small rural schools in Kansas to large urban schools in Illinois. She loves to teach, garden, run, read, and coach 4-H teams in Rube Goldberg competitions.

Alec Rutten, Math Teacher
Alec is entering his fifth year of teaching. He has previously taught at an international high school and then a STEM middle school. Alec has a B.S. in math from the U of M and MEd in Math Education from the U of M.

Gina Sekelsky, English Teacher
Ms. Sekelsky holds a B.A. in Education from St. Mary’s University. After teaching elementary school in St. Louis Park, MN, she owned a graphic art studio for over twenty years before returning to education. Ms. Sekelsky joined the SPCPA community first as a parent; she began teaching in the English department in 2016.

Maria Serrano-Kyle, Spanish Teacher
Ms. Serrano-Kyle received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Education from Saint Cloud State University in 2008. She is originally form Spain and loves sharing her culture and knowledge of the Spanish language with all of her students. Ms. Serrano-Kyle’s primary goal is to help students build a solid foundation of the Spanish language by helping students develop critical thinking skills, as well as being engaged in the language as much as possible.

Ziz Immelman, Paraprofessional
Ziz graduated from Augsburg University with a major in creative writing as well as minors in Spanish, graphic design, studio arts, and gender studies. Ziz was the editor of the A&C section of the school paper and the President of KAUG Radio. Additionally, Ziz was a 2020 Peace Scholar. Ziz has publications in three journals, is a local muralist, has multiple national and state dance titles and has the Audience Choice award at Augsburg Jurored Art Show in 2019.

Mx. Kyra Zimmerman, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology
Kyra received a BS from the U of MN and is completing a graduate degree in Chemistry and Teaching at Hamline University. Kyra is a published scientist in the Symbiosis Research Journal for rhizobia research completed with Dr. Will Ratcliff and Dr. R. Ford Denison. Kyra is also an aerial artist who performed pre-Covid at the Minnsky Theater and the Convergence convention. They currently perform on the Lyra (aerial hoop) at the Twin Cities Trapeze Center.