Meet Fourth Grade Teacher DeeDee Stacy

DeeDee teaching in the MakerspaceHow many years have you been at MPA?
Since 1989 I think…

What do you love about MPA?
Loving MPA is an easy thing to do. The students and their families are all in–and the love of learning and excitement the students bring to the table each and every day makes each day a new adventure. My colleagues are amazing educators, and their passion and pursuit of best practices inspires me.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
Young children naturally dream big, and want to do right. Inspiring them to do just that, then, is easy. Modeling intellectual curiosity, respect, and critical thinking allows our students to maintain the part of themselves that expects the best of others, and to seek paths that bend toward right.

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
Two major differences between MPA and other schools I’ve worked in were evident by about my third week at MPA. One was that teachers truly partner with families in order to support students in academics, the arts, and personal growth. The other, of course, was the students. One lesson I introduced as a middle school English teacher required students to illustrate a piece of writing. In other schools, this requirement was met with groans, complaints, and poorly completed work. At MPA, when I introduced the project, hands shot up, as they had in other schools. I braced myself for the onslaught of questions and complaints. Instead, students asked what medium they could use. They wondered if pencil renderings would work, or if water color might be better. They discussed with me, and amongst themselves, how one might choose different ways to illustrate work depending on the content of the piece of writing. Magical moments like that are commonplace at MPA. Read More


Welcome To MPA, Rachel Westmoreland

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Upper School and College Counseling Assistant

From what school/organization are you coming?
Academia Cesar Chavez

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I have worked in office administration in a variety of industries for 20 years. My education and background in health and wellness has allowed me to serve as a community resource in some form or another throughout my career, “it’s my calling”. My most enjoyable work experiences have always involved helping people and fostering meaningful relationships.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
I was drawn to the mission and sense of community at MPA. Everyone I spoke with had a positive attitude and strong motivation to create an extraordinary experience for the students.

What’s your big dream?
I would love to continue to learn Spanish and spend a summer traveling through Spain with my family.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
We love being outdoors, staying active, and trying new activities together. Most recently paddle boarding has been our kick, next on the list is snowshoeing!

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
My family has a pet dragon named “Alfonso” (he has a beard).


Welcome To MPA, Holly Metzler

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Health Office Nurse

From what school/organization are you coming?
M Health Fairview

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I completed my nursing degree in December 2021. This is my first job as a nurse and I am very appreciative of the opportunity! Early in life, I earned a BA in Literature/Art History and a MS in Human Services.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
I’ve heard great things about MPA and wanted the opportunity to work with children of all ages.

What’s your big dream?
My big dream is to get to know the children at MPA and take good care of them while they are at school 🙂

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
I have two children—Indira is in eighth grade and Everett is in sixth grade at Stillwater Middle School. We enjoy traveling together, trying new activities as a family, and both kids are involved in sports such as lacrosse, skiing, football and golf. In my downtime, I like to exercise, spend time with family and friends, and plan trips.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
My hobbies include singing, songwriting and playing guitar. And I look forward to getting back to music now that nursing school is complete.


Meet Retired Faculty Member, Jim Schwieger

Position while at MPA
Science teacher

How many years did you work at MPA?
26 years

What do you miss most about MPA?
The energy, the students and employees.

What have you been up to since leaving MPA?
Some volunteer work!


Meet MPA World Language Teacher Kari Kunze

Kari KunzeHow many years have you been at MPA?
This is my 22nd year at MPA (32nd year of teaching).

What do you love about MPA?
I love how the school embraces all academic areas as “essential.” Our students are effortlessly interdisciplinary in how they understand the world around them. I see it in my students in class and in my children at home, and every time, I am amazed and impressed.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
MPA students have opportunities to go beyond the MPA curriculum through programs like the Graduate Certificates of Distinction and the Malone Online Schools Network. The liberal arts curriculum builds from the solid foundation of the Middle and Lower schools to very advanced classes in the content areas. Students are able to achieve excellence in their passions that they can carry beyond our school. Read More


Meet Retired Faculty Member, Dan Ethier

Dan Ethier

Position while at MPA
Math Teacher

How many years did you work at MPA?
29 years

What do you miss most about MPA?
I miss my colleagues and my students the most.

What have you been up to since leaving MPA?
It’s only been a year, so not much yet. I hope to spend more time working out, reading books, doing some programming, and flying my drone.


Reflections On 40 Years Of Teaching At MPA

When teachers in the Anoka-Hennepin School district went on strike in 1982, an untenured, 23-year-old Anne DeVout Solie knew her job was in jeopardy. Her mom told the worried young teacher about a new school that was opening in St. Paul, and suggested she apply. But she hesitated: the school required three years of experience, and Anne DeVout Solie (now Anne DeVout Atchison) only had two.

“Well, why don’t you give them a call and just find out about them?” the elder DeVout advised.

Atchison called. More than 40 years later Atchison, now an MPA Middle School English teacher, is grateful for her mother’s wisdom and nudge.

In reflecting on that initial job inquiry, Atchison said, “I’m 23, and I’m talking to the woman who picked up the phone. I assume it’s the secretary, and we’re hitting it off. I’m asking her questions; she’s asking me questions. At the end, I ask about the salary, and the woman says, ‘I will tell you that, if you tell me your name.’ I do, and in return ask hers.”

It was Lois Kreischer, the wife of Mounds Park Academy co-founder and visionary Bob Kreischer, who also served as the director of admissions, business manager, and co-founder.

Lois Kreischer (now Sandy Kreischer Smith) encouraged the young teacher to apply, though added, “Just so you know we’re looking for more experienced teachers.” Fate intervened when the stated goal on Atchison’s resume matched the one expressed in MPA’s first brochure, which was being printed at the time: “to create the conditions, within the school environment, for each individual to develop to the best of his or her ability.” She secured the interview and then the job.

Started “On A Dream And A Shoestring”
Bob Kreischer was a well-respected and beloved teacher, counselor, assistant principal, and principal in California before the death of his father-in-law compelled the family to move to Minnesota. The couple’s niece and nephew were students at Breck, so they knew the west metro college preparatory school was hiring. Kreischer applied to and was offered a teaching position. As the new teacher, Kreischer taught “all the classes nobody else wanted” and took “a huge pay cut,” Smith once said. After only a year, Kreischer became Breck’s Middle School director.

Kreischer left Breck shortly after his promotion—with no job prospect—dreaming of a school where everyone had a voice. At the time, Smith was a professional potter with her own shop in Afton. While her hands were busy making pots, her mind was exploring ways her husband could create the school he envisioned. She had notebooks full of ideas, budgets, and impressions of schools she visited that were for sale. Smith said she often took their daughter Kristi on trips to see schools, swearing her to secrecy not to tell her daddy.

One day, her friend Joan Munzner visited Smith’s shop. The potter asked the future MPA French and German founding teacher to come to her house so she could share Bob’s idea of starting his own school. Over coffee at the kitchen table, encouraged by Munzner’s enthusiasm for the idea, Kreischer gained a new perspective on his dream: together they could make it a reality.

They enlisted the support of community leaders, prospective parents, future teachers, and required board members and launched what would become MPA. As the initial values statement declared, “Our school was founded on a dream and a shoestring.”

An Early Commitment To The Whole Child And Social Justice
For Atchison, the early conversations about the vision for MPA—and whether they could really pull it off—remain deep in her soul. The fledgling team wondered if the buses would show up that first day on September 7, 1982. They did, and MPA became a real school, exceeding the expectations of all involved. Read More


Meet Our New Lower School Assistant

Please welcome Holli Richgels to MPA. You may reach her for all of your Lower School needs at hrichgels@moundsparkacademy.org or 651-748-5562.

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Lower School Administrative Assistant

From what school/organization are you coming?
Nova Classical Academy

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I have a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre and performance from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. After graduating from college I have worked as a front desk receptionist or administrative assistant at various medical centers and schools. At my last job while being district receptionist I also worked closely with operations (transportation and technology), business office, HR and facilities taking on numerous tasks.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
I loved how they said MPA is a big family. I also appreciated how respectful and cheerful everyone was. I also loved touring around the school and seeing all of the wonderful aspects of the school. It was amazing!

What’s your big dream?
To continue working at a school because I believe in helping our new generation be as successful as possible. Otherwise I dream to be involved in more musicals and start a family.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
Theatre and dance have been in my life since I was two years old and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. To be able to get up on stage and portray different character or dance until I have no more breath is so gratifying for me. I am also passionate about my family. I love my family and am excited to continue to grow with my boyfriend and start our own family (he has two kids) with fun and adventurous traditions.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
Right now I am in the rehearsal process of the musical White Christmas at Lakeshore Players in White Bear Lake. It’s going to be a great show!!!


Meet MPA English Teacher Maddy Wolfe ’12

Maddy Wolfe '12How many years have you been at MPA?
How do I possibly answer this concisely?! I went to MPA for high school, and then a few years ago I helped out in various roles before starting graduate school. This is my second year here as a teacher.

What do you love about MPA?
It feels cruel to choose just one, but I’d have to say the people and the community are what I love most about MPA. The relationships I started to make with teachers and administrators in high school have far surpassed the four years I attended, and now as a faculty member they have become the foundations of my adult life.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
MPA inspires students to dream big and do right through the emphasis on teaching to the whole child. MPA recognizes that a child’s education is so much more than just one or two subjects. It is about nurturing them into growing up to be the curious, smart, conscientious adults our world needs.

What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
I realize that there are so many factors when choosing a school for your child, and it’s often a huge decision to make. However, MPA truly is even better than it seems on the surface. It’s an intimate, connected community that will encourage and support your child to be the best version of themselves, regardless of their name, gender, race, ethnicity, or interests they may have.

In what ways are you preparing students for life in the 21st century?
More than ever before our students thinking broadly and globally. They are connected to people all over the world and are constantly subjected to a myriad of opinions and viewpoints. In my classes, we do so much more than just read texts; we think critically about the world around us and respond thoughtfully and thoroughly, in order to help students become expert communicators and thinkers.

What do you hope for MPA students in 20 years?
I hope they are living their values out in the world and being the change our world needs, however big or small. I also hope they come back and share what they’ve done and where they are, because we are all behind them supporting them, cheering them on!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
MPA has been a part of me since I was 14 years old, and it has fused itself onto my soul in many ways. There is a reason I’ve kept coming back here after years of working and living in other places all over the world. I have a hard time picturing who I would be without MPA, and the overwhelming gratitude I feel is so immense it fuels my work every day with students. Thank you, MPA, for everything you have given me.


Meet Rae Dillon

Rae Dillon

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Upper School and College Counseling Administrative Assistant

From what school/organization are you coming?
I was the Program and Operations Manager at the MN Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA)

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I was inspired by the strong sense of community and even “family” at MPA! I love the school’s small, intimate feel that cares about students holistically, rather than just data and test scores. I love the welcoming environment and focus on individuality, inclusivity, and the arts!

What’s your big dream?
[Like, if I could do anything?] To help cultivate a world filled with compassion, empathy, and justice for all people and the environment.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
I am passionate about young people and their futures, the environment, mental health and mindfulness, spending time outdoors, and reading a good trashy mystery novel (my goal is one every month).

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I LOVE gardening, but I am not very good at it. I love that I get better each year, and every autumn, I wipe the slate clean and try again next year. I love to grow (and eat) tomatoes the most.