An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Alumni/ae Spotlight Series

The Alumni/ae Spotlight Series is an opportunity to connect and check-in with alumni/ae since they have graduated from St. Paul Academy and Summit School and highlight the work they are doing in their respective fields and careers. Below you will find some of our recent interviews. If you would like to be considered or would like to suggest another alumnus/a to be featured, please complete this short form.

Maddie Flom-Staab '15

Maddie Flom-Staab '15 has the unique experience of teaching not only at the school that she attended, but alongside her mom, Middle School French teacher Kris Flom '80. Serving as the Middle School German teacher since 2023, Maddie has the opportunity to experience SPA from a new perspective and interact with past teachers now as colleagues and fellow educators. 

As a student at SPA, Maddie has fond memories of doing the “Time Warp” warm-up dance before every high school theater production and going to Hamburg, Germany with the exchange program. She credits the exchange program trip to Hamburg with solidifying her path that eventually brought her back to SPA. In addition to this trip, she was able to find community within the German classrooms and credits German teachers Frau Dorfsman and Frau Crowder for creating safe places in the classroom. “The German classroom was a place where mistakes were celebrated and encouraged. We could be silly and express ourselves in new ways. I strive to emulate this energy in my classroom now.”

Upon graduating from SPA, Maddie took a gap year in Germany with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship Program. She then attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she initially entered the nursing program before following her passions of German, learning about people-psychology, and social work. During this time, she interned at Lutheran Social Service and the counseling office at SPA before graduating from Luther with a degree in German and Psychology and a Social Welfare minor. 

After graduating from Luther in May of 2020, she moved to Vienna, Austria, to teach English through a Fulbright Scholarship. “I never thought I would follow in my mom's footsteps and become a language teacher until I did my Fulbright year in Austria. There, I found joy in working with students, even in the hybrid format that was the school year of 2020-21.” After Austria, Maddie decided to follow that joy and move back to the Twin Cities where she began working at the Twin Cities German Immersion School as a Kindergarten Language Specialist. She continued her education, attending the University of Minnesota to gain the theoretical knowledge to match her experiential knowledge. She obtained a Master's Degree in Second Language Education for German and English for Multilingual Learners and upon graduation, Maddie was hired as a Middle School German teacher at SPA.

Coming back to SPA has been a unique and rewarding experience for Maddie. “It's been fascinating to see the school from a different perspective and see what happens behind the scenes from  planning field trip days to Winterrupt. It’s also been very fun to work with my mom as a co-worker. I can go into her room during recess, where we both prepare and ask for advice or share ideas.” 

In her day-to-day work, Maddie serves as a Grade 6  advisor, starting her day in the commons, blasting Taylor Swift for the students. “We have "Taylor Swift Tuesdays" and Wednesdays are "Anything but Taylor Swift Wednesdays'' for the non-Swifty students.” She then teaches a variety of classes ranging from beginning German 1A & 1B to the highest level of German 2. She is also a HerSpace Affinity Group faculty member and supervises the Dungeons and Dragons club. This year, Maddie was part of the planning for Immersion Week as part of the yearly Middle School Winterrupt program. “All Grade 8 students spent the morning speaking entirely in their target language. “We also cook traditional food, learn songs and dances, play games, and do art projects in German. This week requires a lot of preparation, but it was so much fun seeing my students blossom in their abilities.”

Maddie has enjoyed the opportunity to interact with colleagues and students as a teacher. “Language teachers have the unique job of teaching students how to drop all the communication skills they have built and start over in a new language. Students can try new identities, use different neurological pathways, and grow as a person in a language class. I love that energy.” As someone who once walked the same halls as current students, she has thought about her advice to current students based on her own experiences. “You do not need to be the best at something to enjoy it and become passionate about it. If something interests you but you need the exact skill set, just go for it. Try it out and enjoy the excitement of finding a passion.”

Past Features