College Counseling at MPA: Andrew Guiang ’08 Shares

Andrew Guiang '08MPA’s college counseling process is driven by careful consideration of each student’s unique set of interests, priorities, and aspirations, balanced with an understanding of the current college admission landscape. MPA alumni Andrew Guiang ’08 shares the most valuable part of the college search process at MPA and how it prepared him for his future. Read the Q&A with Andrew below and more about college counseling at MPA here!

Q: What was the most valuable part of the college search process at MPA? What did you appreciate about MPA’s approach?

A: I liked that, at MPA, it’s cool to be smart, and that fact makes applying to college that much easier. I also like that MPA has a good mix of people who stay local or go away for college, which makes the application process less stressful, since there’s no pressure to choose one region over another. Read More

Thank You For Your Generosity

2018 lip sync assemblyThe generosity of the Mounds Park Academy community is truly amazing. During the five weeks of our annual Fall Campaign you showed why MPA matters to you by contributing nearly $300,000 to the MPA Fund, including over $130,000 on Give to the Max Day. The Give to the Max Day Lip Sync Battle, now an established tradition celebrating our fabulous community, was so much fun! Click here to revisit this year’s performance one more time.

The MPA Fund is the lifeblood of our fundraising, supporting the school’s mission and the educators who bring it to life. Through these efforts, our community came together to financially support the next generation of MPA students. So many gifts were given by alumni, current parents, faculty, and staff, in support of our school that is making such an incredible impact in the lives of our students.

And, congratulations to the kindergarten, first grade, second grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade classes for hitting the 70 percent participation mark and winning a party for your students! Lower School classes will receive a party with Mr. Sheehan and the Middle School classes will receive a pizza and games party. Details to follow!


Meet Ryan Martin ’94

MPA alum speakingWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I’m a professor and chair of the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I’m an anger researcher and just recently did a TEDx talk called “The Upside of Anger.”

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?
I went to the University of St. Thomas for undergrad and studied psychology. I earned my master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in counseling psychology. After a year as a visiting professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, I got a job as an assistant professor here at UW-Green Bay.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA help you dream big and do right?
There were a lot of little things that I learned at MPA that set me up for success (writing skills, public speaking, etc.), but honestly, what I’m most thankful for are the teachers who continued to believe in me even when I was difficult. I was not a great student and there were many times teachers could have given up on me. I am very thankful for those teachers who supported me and continue to support me. Read More

Witness The Impact

by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

If you have logged into Facebook or checked your email today, you are well aware that today is Give to the Max Day. Across the state of Minnesota, this day is a celebration of the power of philanthropy to change lives. For MPA, today marks a celebration of our generous donors who are so very dedicated to our students and who believe in making an impact on our school community.

The mission of Mounds Park Academy is vibrant and powerful, delivered by talented and caring teachers, and is having a tremendous impact on the lives of our students each day. Impact means to have a strong effect on someone or something. You share in that impact by the value you place on learning, the investment you are making in the education of your children, and your commitment and support of Mounds Park Academy. Read More

Happy Give To The Max Day!

Happy Give To The Max Day! As of noon, MPA families have raised an incredible $48,565. If we reach $75,000, a generous family will give a bonus gift of $25,000 to get us to the goal of $100,000 today! Incredible!

As Dr. Hudson shared in his email on Tuesday, “Our young people desperately need an extended family, like the one MPA provides, to provide a safe, nurturing environment in which to thrive. And, our world desperately needs engaged, educated, ethical, and empowered citizens who are committed to improving our world. I contribute to the MPA Fund to make this happen and, if you haven’t already, I humbly ask you to join me.” Follow along on Facebook as MPA’s community shares why MPA matters to each of them! Read More

Your Gifts Make Athletics Possible

MPA girls soccer teamThis article is the fifth and final in a series called “The Fall Campaign Stories of Impact: Five Weeks, Five Stories, Five Reasons to Give.”

“Healthy mind, healthy body” is an ancient educational theme that celebrates the integration of academics and athletics. MPA has been at the forefront of cultivating student athletes, with an emphasis on achievement and leadership that extends from the classroom to the courts, fields, and stadiums where our Panthers compete.

“MPA’s no-cut philosophy means that we welcome all students and place them appropriately,” explains Dan Haase, MPA athletic director. “Every student who wants to participate is encouraged to take part and then matched to a team that reflects their current skill level. Unlike other schools, we don’t restrict the number of students who can join a team. For example, many schools might limit a basketball team to 12 players. If we have 16 students who want to play basketball, we include them all and work with them to progressively build their skills, whether they’re starting from a novice level or come in with an advanced level of performance.”

With competitive sports beginning in fifth grade at MPA, students have a long runway to grow as athletes. “We ensure that each level of play is developmentally appropriate, and that students are gaining the life skills that sports can uniquely provide,” says Haase. “We engage students early and provide flexibility so they can pursue multiple extracurricular activities. We want them to be well rounded, and to pursue the arts as well as athletics.”

That big picture approach to sports has cultivated high levels of participation and success. With more than 20 Upper School teams, 10 team state championships, and 20 individual state championships, our athletes transform their gifts and talents into everlasting accomplishments.

“Ultimately, our athletics program is student-centered,” says Haase. “We are continuously assessing the opportunities, gauging our students’ interests, and encouraging students to get involved and stay involved throughout their time at MPA.”

Because of philanthropy at MPA, our students develop physically, socially, and introspectively through athletics. Consider making a donation to the MPA Fund during the Fall Campaign by visiting or contacting Susan Robertson, Annual Giving & Alumni Relations Manager, at 651-748-5531. Together, we will raise $300,000 to bridge the gap between tuition and the total cost of educating a student at MPA.

Join Us On Saturday For MPA Talks

Purchase your tickets for MPA Talks to join us on Saturday as four members of our community share their meaningful, impactful, and inspiring stories! MPA Talks is a tradition that brings our community together, and we can’t wait to share the evening with you. Below is just a glimpse of the stories you’ll be inspired by on Saturday evening and tickets are still available!

Laurel Schwartz ’11 will be discussing stories passed down through generations, and how they tell us about the past and also shape the future. As human beings we are predisposed to sharing our life and our histories with others. For so long, the narratives in the news, in books and on the big screen have highlighted a single story that often left many people and identities in the margins. Now, every person has the capacity and the platform to be a storyteller with an audience. And, with that, comes our ability to change the world.

Kelly Turpin ’04’s talk will be covering her journey as an opera singer to artistic activist, which is how Arbeit Opera Theatre came to be. She has always wanted to make a difference, be at the forefront of change and societal progress, but only recently discovered how she could do that with her background in opera.

For years, MPA senior Julia Portis saw Breakthrough’s offices she passed them in the hallway; however, before her junior year she did not know what the program entailed. Upon learning about Breakthrough’s mission and curriculum, she excitedly applied to be a teaching fellow. The 9-week program brought several things to her attention: there are serious flaws in the educational system, and Minnesota suffers from one of the highest opportunity gaps in America. She believes it is imperative that we bring attention to this issue and start a conversation.

MPA Senior Gabby Law is going to talk about education–if education is the “key to success in life,” why is the system failing so many people? As a teaching fellow for Breakthrough Twin Cities, Gabby saw the incredible students in our community that the education system is leaving behind. Through her experience, Gabby will explain how we can make school a place for everyone and show just how powerful and joyful learning is for those who need it the most.

The ticket price of $20 includes passed hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and the presentations. Tickets are limited to 50. Visit for more details on each speaker and to purchase tickets.

Nate Bander ’09 Named Assistant Coach Of The Year

coach bander with runnersCongratulations to MPA Cross Country coach Nate Bander ’09 for being named the Section 4A Assistant Cross Country Coach of the Year! To celebrate his accomplishment, we interviewed Coach Bander about why coaching and athletics are so important to him.

What led you to coach at MPA? And why cross country? 

Remembering back on all the joy that I had competing for MPA, I knew I had to come back and give that opportunity to the next generation of athletes. Coaching cross country is totally unique because it’s such a distinct sport. It’s an interesting blend of team and individual competition where athletes are competing as much against themselves as against one another or other teams. I coach cross country because I love our team’s culture of emphasizing collaboration as much as competition. Read More

Your Gifts Make College Counseling Possible

college decision day 2018This article is the fourth in a series called “The Fall Campaign Stories of Impact: Five Weeks, Five Stories, Five Reasons to Give.”

Think of a list of common fears, and a familiar few come to mind. Public speaking. Air travel. Spiders. And here in Minnesota, an early snow! Another typical source of anxiety is the college application process—a journey in U.S. culture that’s often driven by worries about attending the “best” school, instead of the right school.

Lisa Pederson, MPA’s director of College Counseling, addresses that sense of dread head-on, with compassion, expertise, and a proven program that empowers students to customize their college search based on their unique strengths, interests, and long-term goals. “The best fit for one is not the right fit for the next, even among high-achieving, academically strong, and otherwise talented students,” says Pederson. “Today’s college admissions professionals are looking for the authentic voice in their applicants, not a packaged one that checks every box.” Read More

Why Does Participation Matter?

fourth graders give presentations to lower schoolHere at MPA, we’re so thankful for the commitment of our parents, grandparents, alumni, and community supporters. We’re also proud of the way our students grow during their time with us. We encourage students of all ages to participate in the things that matter most to them and to push themselves outside of their comfort zone to find out who they truly are through involvement in a wide range of opportunities.

Just like our students’ participation in their own learning and development, we challenge our supporters to participate through our Joyful Learning, Joyful Giving Fall Campaign. Every gift adds up to a big impact. Learn more about that impact on individual students and on big projects. Your gift ensures a top-notch education and joyful experience for every student here at MPA. Click here to make a gift! Read More