January 5, 2021
How long have you been at MPA?
I have been at MPA for just under one year.
What do you love about MPA?
I love everything about MPA. I love that we are a community that looks out for each other and takes care of one another. I love that I hear conversations every day about how to best teach children. I love that our definition of success includes being a kind and decent human being who thinks critically about their role in the world.
How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
MPA inspires students to dream big and do right by teaching them problem solving and allowing them to encounter failure. We give them the skills to look critically at the world around them and have the confidence to know that they can change it. I think one of the most impressive examples I have seen of our mission in practice was within our Social Conscience Club and Racial Justice and Equity Club this past spring and summer. After the murder of George Floyd, these two clubs came together hosting meetings and organizing guest speakers for the community. They then moved beyond talk into action by helping register voters within the community surrounding MPA. I was incredibly moved and inspired by their passion, tenacity and, frankly, their guts.
If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
I have been lucky to work at other schools and to have had a wide variety of experiences. I have worked in an underrepresented public school in Minneapolis and an exclusive independent school in Los Angeles. I think my experiences have helped put into perspective how truly lucky I am to be at MPA. I feel heard and encouraged. I feel a wonderful sense of flexibility to try new things. I think educators can often feel trapped by “this is the way it’s always been done”, and often feel overwhelmed by the number of barriers in the way of change. I have been floored by the courage of this community to identify an area for growth and face it head on. These courageous conversations lead to best practices in education, which is the most important thing we can do for our children.
What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
This is the place. If you have been looking for a place where your child will be seen and heard and appreciated for who they are as a student and a human being, this is it. It is a special place.
In what ways are you preparing students for life in the 21st century?
When we talk about the Six C’s of 21st Century Learning, we are talking about skills that we believe will best prepare our students for life outside the classroom. They will be prepared for jobs that may not even yet exist. So we work very purposefully to teach our students to utilize connectivity, think critically, communicate clearly, work collaboratively, embrace culture, and develop creativity.
What do you hope for MPA students in 20 years?
I hope they are happy. I hope they know that happiness comes in so many different forms and success is multifaceted. I hope they strive to improve and encourage change in their communities when it is needed. I hope they continue to have big dreams throughout their life and are always excited to learn more. I hope they know that their identity is not based on something measurable but rather the depth and decency of their character and their impact on the world.
Favorite teacher to strike up a conversation with walking down the hallway?
Our Middle School director Dr. Jenn Milam. She is so positive and warm. Seeing her brightens up my day!
Favorite space on campus?
The Makerspace. I love this space and the energy you can feel when students are in the room. I also really gravitate toward the idea of taking an intangible concept and turning it into something you can touch and feel.
Favorite food from Chef Doug’s collection at MPA?
I am a sucker for the broccoli cheese soup. Makes me feel very midwestern.
Favorite kids book?
My favorite young adult book is “Flight” by Sherman Alexie.
Favorite moment working with a prospective family?
Not having families on campus is hard, but one wonderful consequence of being on Zoom is parents get to see their kids in a whole new light. I love watching parents hear their child talk about their education and their goals. It gives them a nice opportunity to step back and see their child from a different perspective.