from Bill Hudson, head of school

“Because I had a teacher, I know how good it feels when someone is happy to see me. I know that I can always ask for help. I feel like I have a friend on my side…Because I had you, I learned to believe in me.” From the book, “Because I Had a Teacher” by Kobi Yamada.

If you are like me, you have a favorite teacher who you continue to hold close to your heart. Mrs. Long was my third-grade teacher and had a tremendous impact on me. I attribute to her my curiosity and love of learning. My parents recalled how I would come home from school each day with a list of what “Mrs. Long said…” I would go on and on at the dinner table with all that Mrs. Long said that day, and 50 years later, I still hold her dear.

On Thursday, May 25, we will honor six members of the MPA faculty who are retiring this year or during the years of the pandemic. Together, they have more than 200 years of service to MPA. It is impossible to measure the impact these wonderful teachers have had on their students. Indeed, they have touched the hearts and minds of so many.

Please join us to honor the distinguished careers of MPA retirees from 2020-2023 at the Mounds Park Academy Retirement Celebration. It has been our tradition to celebrate retirees at a reception at the end of the school year. I know that the month of May is busy, but I promise that you will not regret attending. Join us in the Family Commons and Martin Lenz Harrison Library from 4-6 PM, with a brief program at 4:30 PM.

Would you like to share a special message with one of our 2023 retirees? Click here to share your fond memories or accolades to join us in honoring these special members of our MPA family. You may also choose to honor their legacy by making a gift in their name to the Luminare Fund. Luminare is Latin for “window,” an apt metaphor for the critical role educators play in the lives of their students. The Fund provides programs, opportunities, events, and services that directly benefit our exceptional faculty and staff and demonstrate the high regard and deep appreciation the MPA community has for them. Learn more and make a gift at

2020-2022 Retirees in Attendance

  • Martha Castellanos: Martha served the MPA community for 31 years, and the MPA Spanish Department is her legacy. She started the language travel program and inspired the love of learning language and culture that still characterizes our students.
  • Dan Ethier: Dan served MPA for 29 years as a Middle School math teacher. He is particularly remembered for his long tenure as Cross Country coach. Dan’s passion for mathematics, teaching, and coaching is out-matched only by his passion and love for Middle School students.

2023 Retirees

  • Lisa Buck: Lisa came to MPA in 1984 as a Middle School visual arts teacher. She co-created the MPA K-12 visual arts curriculum. Lisa is an award-winning ceramics artist who has inspired and nurtured countless students during her career at MPA.
  • Mari Espeland: Mari came to MPA in 1989 and built the Lower School music program upon the Orff Schulwerk approach. She established the Lower School Art and Music Show with Karen Rossbach and incorporated distinctly American music traditions, such as jazz, and world music through drumming.
  • Nancy Lage: Nancy became MPA’s librarian in 1986 and has served the school for 37 years. She developed the PreK-12 library program and managed an extensive 23,000-volume book collection, 30 academic databases, and a dynamic library website to support a diverse PreK-12 curriculum.
  • Renette Stinson: Renette has served the school in incredible ways for 38 years, primarily as a third-grade teacher but also as director of admission for a period of time. She planned thoughtful units and made sure each was an experience her class could look forward to and would never forget: poetry pillows, 50 states unit, and the Human Body were among a few of the extra-special units she developed.
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