SPA is pleased to welcome 28 new faculty across the three divisions for the 2019-20 school year. The new faculty, listed by division below, are:
Tina Alvir-Romero, Lower School Spanish: Tina has taught Spanish in grades Pre-K- 8 for over a decade in public, private, and charter schools in the United States and Mexico and most recently she has taught Middle School Spanish I at St. George’s Independent School in Memphis, Tennessee. Tina earned a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Memphis, and an M.A.Ed. from Christian Brothers University.
Liz Camozzi, Lower School Music and Movement: Liz holds a B.A. in Instrumental Music Education from Hope College and a Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas. She also has extensive training in approaches such as Orff-Schulwerk, Kodály, Dalcroze, and Responsive Classroom.
Madisyn Grandaw, Grades 3/4: Madisyn will team up with Hatti Hembre in homeroom 3/4C as a one-year leave replacement. Madisyn is licensed by the state of Minnesota to teach students Birth-3 and K-6 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Winona State University. Last year, she taught fifth grade at Gateway STEM Academy in Burnsville.
Orli Handmaker, Lower School Science: Orli earned a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Skidmore College and an M.S. in Natural Resources Science and Management from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In addition to serving as a National Science Foundation Fellow and Graduate Research Assistant at UMN, Orli has also served as a Spanish Teacher and Teaching Associate at The Lowell School, an independent school in Washington, DC.
Virginia Andres, Middle School Principal: Virginia joined SPA in the summer of 2019 after three years as the Principal of the Middle School and Chair of the PK-12 Art Department at O’Neal School in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Prior to her work at O’Neal in 2016, Virginia served as the Middle School Dean of Students at the Norwood School, a K-8 independent school in Bethesda, Maryland, which she also attended. Virginia’s administrative career is also informed by her experience as a classroom teacher; she has taught Middle School English and drama in addition to Lower School math and reading. Virginia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Science degree in educational supervision and administration from Johns Hopkins University.
Kate Glassman, Middle School English: Kate was with us last year in the Upper School, serving both as a 9th grade English teacher and a US publications assistant. She earned her BA in English from St. Catherine University and her MFA from Hamline University. Prior to her work at SPA, she served as an adjunct professor at St. Catherine University for five years.
Rob Liebhart, Middle School Math: Rob earned his B.S. in Physics, with a minor in Mathematics, from Geneva College in Pennsylvania. He spent 6 years teaching middle and high school mathematics abroad in the Republic of Korea and the United Arab Emirates. After returning to the United States, Rob spent 2 years teaching at DeLaSalle High School and most recently taught introductory Physics courses at the University of Minnesota.
Phil McDonald, Middle School Math: Phil earned his BA in Economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Phil has taught both high school and middle school mathematics, most recently having served as the Middle School Math Teacher at the Vienna Adventist Academy in Virginia for 3 1⁄2 years.
Chris Minns, Middle School Social Studies: Chris is returning to SPA to teach social studies as a one-year replacement and we are delighted to welcome him back. Chris was one of the founding members of SPA’s Middle School, teaching for 20 years before departing in 2015 to teach middle school social studies in Boca Raton, FL, and high school in his hometown of Exuma in the Bahamas. He is deeply committed to working with middle school students and is well versed in both our academic curriculum and Developmental Designs
Kellan Minter, Middle School Physical Education: Kellan earned his Bachelor of Science in K-12 Physical Education from Boise State University. Kellan is not new to the SPA community; he currently serves as the Head Varsity coach for our Upper School cross country and track teams. He has also served as a long-term substitute in our Upper and Middle School PE classes and as a part-time game manager during this past school year.
Ben Orlin, Middle School Math: Ben earned his B.A. in Mathematics and Psychology from Yale University. He has 7 years of teaching experience, having taught mathematics at the Oakland Charter High School in California and the King Edward’s School in Birmingham, England. In addition to teaching, Ben is the author of Math with Bad Drawings (Black Dog & Leventhal). He is currently writing his forthcoming second book, Change is the Only Constant , about calculus.
Taylor Tvedt, Middle School Athletic Director: Taylor joins the Middle School as the MS Athletic Director and will also co-teach 6th and 7th grade Physical Education. Taylor comes to SPA from Augsburg University, where she coached the women’s lacrosse team while earning a Masters of Science degree in Educational Leadership. She has also served as a middle and high school lacrosse coach. As an undergraduate at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, she played Division I lacrosse and earned a BA in sociology, with minors in political science and Africana Studies.
Rane Bice, Upper School Math: Rane Bice will teach both Geometry/Trigonometry and Precalculus. With a BA in Math and Religious Studies from Macalester College, Rane has taught math as an Ascend teaching fellow in New York and has extensive tutoring experience in math at both Carmen High School and St. Rose Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Emily Barbee, Upper School Counselor: Emily obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Carleton College and her Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Additionally, she earned her Pupil Personnel Services Credential: School Counseling (PPS) from St. Mary’s College. Prior to working at SPA, Emily served as the Middle School Counselor at the Harker School for 5 years and as a school-based mental health therapist for Mount Diablo High School for 4 years. Additionally, she has extensive experience spanning 8 years in a variety of mental health and medical settings. Emily, who served as SPA’s Middle School counselor last year as a one-year replacement, will serve as the lead counselor for all 9th and 10th-grade programming.
Vincent Cheng, Upper School English: Vincent earned his B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has just recently defended his MFA thesis from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, Vincent has extensive debate coaching experience from Eastview High School and tutoring experience at Breakaway Test Prep in St. Louis Park, MN.
Kristin Collier, Upper School English: Kristin earned a bachelor's degree in English and Film and Video Studies from the University of Michigan, an MA in education from CUNY-Lehman College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota. She began her teaching career in New York, as a Teach for America corps member in the Bronx. Following that, she taught English for five years at Chicago Bulls College Prep (a Noble Network charter school), and then three years at the University of Minnesota where she taught writing and literature classes.
Cathleen Drilling, Upper School Science: Cathleen comes to SPA with extensive experience as a Biology teacher, having taught multiple curricula (IB, AP and in-house) across four continents and to all high school grade levels. Cathleen earned her B.S. in Biology and Animal Behavior from Indiana University in Bloomington IN, her M.S. in Biology from Georgia State University in Atlanta, and an advanced teaching certification from Lehman College, in the Bronx, NY. While she comes most recently to us from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, she has taught in an array of international schools from Switzerland to Taiwan.
Megan Erickson, Upper School Journalism: A graduate of Medill's School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Megan Erickson went on to earn her Masters in Teaching from Hamline Univesity for the explicit purpose of working with student journalists. As a student teacher, Megan taught at Edgewood Middle School and also served as a paraprofessional for the North St. Paul, Maplewood and Oakdale School District. In addition to her work in the education field, Megan worked as an editorial intern for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Fodor's Travel in New York City. Megan will be joining SPA as our new Publications Assistant.
Christian Graefe, Upper School Science: Christian is in the final stages of completing his Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he also earned his M.S. in Chemistry; prior to that, Christian earned his B.S. in Chemistry from St. Olaf College. Christian comes to SPA with deep lab experience, and a passion for teaching, which he cultivated while serving as a teaching assistant at both the U of M and St. Olaf.
Christine Haerter Piñero, Upper School Spanish: Christine will teach both Spanish III and IV. Christine holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College in Spanish Education; an M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Languages and Literatures from New York University; and a K-12 Spanish Teaching Licensure from the Urban Education Program in Chicago. Her most recent and most extensive work has been as a Spanish and Norwegian professor at St. Olaf College, where she taught for over a decade.
Rochelle Lockridge, Upper School Science: Rachelle earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a Secondary Education emphasis from Iowa State University, and most recently a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Chemistry from Hamline University. While completing her work at Hamline, Rachelle served as a Special Education Paraprofessional at Hmong College Prep Academy in St. Paul, MN; she also served as a student-teacher at Fridley High School, working with the 10th-grade Chemistry class.
Sam Hinh, Upper School Computer Science: Sam holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Carleton College, with a concentration in Biochemistry. He began his career in Technology Development as a Data Scientist, Data Engineer, and a Natural Language Processing Engineer with United Health Group before pivoting to education. He has spent the last year as a Computer Science Teacher at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, where he designed curriculum for both AP and Introductory Computer Science courses.
Evan Hancock, College Counseling: Evan earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Bates College and his Masters in Counseling (M. Ed.) from Boston University. After college and throughout his graduate study, Evan worked at Rhode Island Hospital on research projects addressing student risk reduction and regulation of emotion. Most recently Evan worked as Assistant Director of Admission for two years each at Boston University and Macalester College, where he also engaged parent volunteers in the admission process.
Andrew Inchiosa, Upper School English: Andrew earned a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. While he began his teaching career tutoring students at both 826CHI and the University of Chicago, he has most recently served as a leave replacement at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where he taught 10th and 11th grade English.
Will Johnson, Upper School Physical Education: A familiar face to the SPA community, Will will serve as the leave replacement for Cari Jo Anderson for the fall of 2019-2020, teaching both Fitness for Life and one section of the Middle School physical education class. Will is currently earning his Masters in Education from Saint Mary’s University, where he also studied English and Marketing as an undergraduate. Will has serves as a middle school coach here at SPA for Girls Basketball, Boys Soccer as well as a Varsity coach for the Upper School Golf team.
Evan Klavon, Upper School English: Evan holds a BA in English from Amherst College, an MA in English from Queen’s University Belfast, UK, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. It was while at UC Berkeley and the University of Washington that Evan taught courses in writing, composition, fiction, and poetry. He gained extensive experience working with high school students while serving as the Assistant Director of Pre-College Programs at ASA Summerfuel in New York, NY, where his focus was curriculum development and academic advising.
Andrea Moerer, Upper School History: After serving as a leave replacement for the last two years, Andrea joins the history department in an ongoing position for the 2019-2020 school year. Andrea has a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Macalester College; she has taught at Macalester, The University of Minnesota, Hamline University, and Metropolitan State University.
Randy Reid, MS/US Jazz Band Director: Randy brings both a BA and MA in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Minnesota to his new role at SPA. He has directed bands at Edgerton Public Schools, Mounds Park Academy, Blake, and SPA including serving as a sabbatical replacement during Bill Mayson's sabbatical.
Naomi Taylor, K-12 Director of Intercultural Life: Naomi comes to us from the Minneapolis Public Schools, where she served as both a classroom teacher and an administrator. During her tenure with the Minneapolis Public Schools, Naomi served as the district's Educational Equity Coordinator in the Office of Black Male Student Achievement and as the Director of Secondary Education in the Teaching and Learning Department. She also taught in Hamline University’s School of Education and continues there as an adjunct faculty member, in addition to consulting and publishing on topics such as intercultural competence, social justice, and culturally relevant curricula. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Minnesota, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Hamline University.
Welcome to all our new faculty!