Center for learning and teaching
The Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) serves all students and teachers in all divisions, and is the school's center of expertise for academic support, learning differences, and faculty professional development around learning and brain development.
The CLT is directed by Karen Rassmussen, who takes a lead role in supporting individualized teaching and differentiation in all three divisions. Karen coordinates direct service to students with documented learning differences, manages SPA’s academic tutoring program, and provides counsel and support to parents. She also provides support and professional development for faculty around best practices in teaching, and helps teachers apply current research to improving their practices in the classroom. She works closely with Dr. Tim Elchert in the Lower School on academic support initiatives for students in Grades K-5, and oversees the academic tutoring staff in the Middle and Upper Schools. Ms. Rassmussen has an M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of Saint Thomas and a B.S. in Education from the University of Minnesota. A life-long learner, she is certified in Orton-Gillingham instruction, has certification in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and is currently working towards her M.A. in Special Education at the University of St. Thomas.
Additional CLT staff include:
Wendy Eidem, Upper School Learning Resource Counselor: Wendy provides learning support to students in our Upper School, serves as the coordinator for the academic coaching program, and assists students in applying for accommodations on standardized college entrance testing.
Jennie Sorensen, Middle School Learning Specialist: Jennie supports students in their academic endeavors and helps them navigate the intellectual changes that are characteristic of the Middle School years. Jennie provides direct academic support to Middle School students both individually and in small groups, and teaches the Grade 6 Compass class, which is required of all students and focuses on developing strong academic habits. She holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College, an M.A.Ed. from Hamline University, and is an ADHD/Executive Functions Coach for adolescents.
Billie Stensby, Lower School Learning Specialist: Billie Stensby has extensive experience as an educational leader, including time as a classroom teacher, instructional specialist, professional development lead, and reading specialist in the Mounds View, Minneapolis, and Fridley School Districts. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from the College of St. Scholastica and a M.A. in K-12 Reading and Literacy from the University of St. Thomas.
Laura Duke, Lower School Literacy Support Specialist: Laura Duke holds a B.S. in Physical Education from Pacific Lutheran University, a M.A. in Education from St. Catherine University, and certifications in Reading Recovery and the Wilson Reading System. In her role as Literacy Support Specialist, her experience as both a classroom teacher and as an interventionist informs her connections with students and colleagues in the Lower School in meeting the literacy needs of our diverse student body.
For more information about academic tutoring, learning differences, or the work of the Center for Teaching and Learning, contact Karen Rassmussen by email or at 651-696-1408.