MPA Alumni In The News

Amber Washington '12Four MPA alumni were featured in the news this week for a variety of accomplishments! From athletics to community engagement, and arts to cooking, we are so proud of these individuals for representing MPA!

This past Saturday, MPA alum Amber Washington ’12 won the International Tennis Federation’s Sharm El Sheikh Pro Circuit Doubles Championship alongside her partner Chelsea Vanhoutte of Belgium. At MPA, Amber set a state record for most tennis championships in a career with four in doubles and two in singles. She competed collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh.

Liberty SchoolChristian Holmen ’90, Teaching Head of School at Liberty School, speaks on how Liberty is shaping the way students who are dyslexic, gifted, or both, are taught. “The first goal for the teachers and administrators at Liberty is to break down the social and emotional barriers that many of the kids have because of similar experiences,” he said. Read the full article here!

Andrea Goldberg '09Andrea Goldberg ’09 was one of the artists that contributed to the 5,000 carved Halloween pumpkins light up the Minnesota Zoo! Andrea was heavily involved in the arts at MPA, having work selected for the Best 100 Art Exhibition and the Tri-Metro Conference Art Exhibition while in high school. She graduated from MCAD and is now a professional artist. Read the full article here!

matt bander '11Matt Bander ‘11 was in the Mississippi Market’s magazine, “The Medley.” Matt is the Market’s Meat and Seafood manager and is featured on page 5 of the Fall 2018 edition in an interview called “Get To Know Your Co-Op family!” Matt is also currently back at MPA as an assistant boys’ basketball coach! Read the full article here!

From top to bottom; photo courtesy of Amber Washington; photo by Stephen Eginoire, “The Durango Telegraph”; photo by Jeff Wheeler, “The Star Tribune”; photo by “The Medley” magazine.


Your Gifts Make Elective Opportunities Possible

Upper School classThis article is the second in a series called “The Fall Campaign Stories of Impact: Five Weeks, Five Stories, Five Reasons to Give.”

MPA’s Upper School curriculum features a breadth and depth of challenging topics, from Modern United States History and Computer Science, to Literary Analysis and Advanced Argumentation. Can you find the electives in this list? It’s probably not obvious, and that’s by design. At MPA, all courses, both core and elective, are developed around specific academic requirements and developmental goals. Electives play a special role in the mix, reinforcing an interdisciplinary approach to learning that supports the whole student.

“Core and elective classes at MPA have distinct roles, and also have equal billing,” explains Mark Segal, Upper School director. “What’s learned in electives carries over to other courses. For example, the critical thinking and persuasion skills acquired through our elective course in debate translate into the public speaking component of our English courses, and the analytical approach needed in our science program.” Read More


The Purpose of Mounds Park Academy

by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

“Do you know the purpose of Mounds Park Academy?” asked Mr. Kevin Breen, chair of our ISACS accreditation visiting team, of several seniors.

“The purpose of the school is to develop the whole child so that we can be fully formed adults,” said the first.

“And when we are more fully formed, we have the self-confidence to respect each other and value inclusivity,” added a friend.

“Yes, so in a way, the most important word in the motto is ‘do,’ as in do things; do right,” said the third. And then, after a pause, he added this: “And our teachers facilitate that. They make it easy to do right. They make volunteerism easy. They make civic engagement easy. They bring opportunities to ‘do right’ right to us.”

The vibrant and powerful mission of Mounds Park Academy, delivered by talented and caring teachers, is having a tremendous impact on the lives of our students each day. 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 to and support of Mounds Park Academy.

Monday will mark the beginning of our fall campaign, “Joyful Learning, Joyful Giving.” For the next five weeks, the MPA community will band together to raise the funds necessary to extend the impact and joy of an MPA education. Culminating with Give To The Max Day and the Faculty and Staff Lip Sync Assembly on November 15, our goal is to raise $300,000 to ensure joyful learning continues at MPA.

One could say that the joy of learning at MPA is dependent upon the joyful giving of parents, alumni, grandparents, friends, and alumni families. Mounds Park Academy, like all independent schools, relies on three principle sources of revenue to support its day-to-day operations: tuition, endowment, and annual gifts made by members of our community. Tuition does not cover the total cost of educating a student at Mounds Park Academy and the gap is bridged by annual giving.

Gifts made to the MPA fund during the “Joyful Learning, Joyful Giving” campaign are used exclusively to fund joyful learning:

  • Joy from throwing a pot in ceramics class.
  • Joy from singing the national anthem so beautifully at Homecoming events.
  • Joy from creating a squishy circuit that powers a light bulb in the Makerspace.
  • Joy from hard work, training, and teamwork that results in a soccer victory.
  • Joy from bringing to live a character on stage.
  • Joy from grasping the nuance of a novel, an aha moment.

The spirit of philanthropy and of joyful giving at Mounds Park Academy is vibrant. I humbly ask you to join me in increasing the impact of the MPA mission. Please know that every gift is valued and participation at whatever level feels right to your family is appreciated. You may also be interested in knowing that 100 percent of faculty and staff gave to the MPA Fund last year and I expect it will be the same again this year. We have the most caring, knowledgeable, talented teachers and staff who make joyful learning and joyful giving possible.

Look for more information in the mail, visit the MPA website, or contact the Development Office to make a gift. With your contribution, you make an impact in the lives of all those who learn, play, create, dream, and do at our school. Your gift directly impacts of the mission of MPA and the lives of our students.


Madrigal Singers Collaboration

madrigal singers practicingThe MPA Madrigal Singers are honored to be collaborating with professional musicians and singing in the beautiful House of Hope! MPA students have been practicing with the Oratory’s professional singers and conductor to prepare for the performance on October 14. See photos of their collaborative practice on campus here!

To join us for the live performance, tickets can be purchased here, with the code MoundsParkAcademy for 20 percent off advanced tickets! Tickets for siblings of students are $5 each. Thanks for supporting our talented student voices!


Meet MPA Talks Speaker Laurel Schwartz ’11

laurel Schwartz at a film festival for her documentaryLaurel Schwartz ’11 is currently a multimedia producer and social advocacy student at Columbia University. “Or, [I’m] a social scientist with a track record for getting things done,” she says.

After graduating from Mounds Park Academy, Laurel attended Scripps College, where she studied American studies and media studies. She has spent the last several years work at advertising agencies and PR firms creating media both for fortune 500 brands and for social advocacy causes. Additionally, her self-produced documentary about chronic illness appeared in several film festivals last spring.

We asked Laurel several questions so that you could get to know her better prior to MPA Talks!

What do you believe will be the greatest challenge our current students will face in their lifetimes and how do you see MPA equipping them to face that challenge? 

When I graduated from high school, I knew two things: first, that I was passionate about history and social change, and, second, that creativity made me tick. What I didn’t know was that one day, there would be a job that would allow me to use my creativity to make a difference in the world. MPA is so remarkable because it is an institution that truly allows each student to find what uniquely gets them fired up in the morning and helps students imagine opportunities, solutions, and even jobs that don’t exist yet. MPA equips students to follow their curiosity for the world. Read More


MPA Students Collaborate With Local Arts Community

Kelly Turpin '04 and David Radamés Toro in the makerspaceWe are so excited to share a recent opportunity brought to MPA students to engage with and assist the local arts community. MPA alum Kelly Turpin ’04, founder of the Arbeit Opera Theatre, was awarded the Artists Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to produce her own production of “The Consul,” an opera that premieres on November 29 and November 30, 2018. She reached out to MPA to assist in building the set, wanting to directly involve students, since MPA is the place where her passion for art, music, theatre, and singing all began.

“The overall goal of Arbeit Opera Theatre is to fuse multiple forms of art to create a diverse artistic community in order to share the excitement of Opera Theatre with as many communities as possible. Having the MPA community and students involved (will be) be a thrilling addition to this venture,” she said. Read More


Welcome To The Family

Enjoy these extended profiles of the amazing faculty and staff joining our community in the 2018-19 school year!

Ms. Castellanos

Ms. Martha Castellanos

What position will you be holding? Interim K-4 Spanish teacher
Tell us a little bit about your educational background. Elementary Education and Spanish Teacher Media and Library Specialist
What school/organization are you coming from? Singapore American School, Breck School and Anthony Middle School in Minneapolis
What did you find appealing about MPA? It feels great to return to the program I created years ago.
What are you most looking forward to this school year? To instill the love for learning Spanish and my culture to my students.
Any interesting facts about yourself or your family you would like to share? Our family loves to travel in order to learn, appreciate, and connect with peoples from other cultures.

Read More


2018 Upper School Awards Assembly

Julia portis receiving award from dr. Hudson Congratulations to all of the Upper School students who received honors and awards at the 2018 Upper School Awards Assembly! On Friday, June 1, the school gathered to commemorate all of these students’ achievements. Academic, National Merit, Scholarship, Yearbook, Choir, Band, Orchestra, Visual Art, Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Forensics, French, Spanish, Drama, Athletics, Service, Spirit of ’86, Junior Mission Statement, Certificate of Distinction, and Alumni Association awards were given. Please join us in congratulating the following students! View photos of the assembly or watch the assembly here!

Read More


Upper School Percussion & Woodwind Concert

US woodwind ensembleOn Friday, June 1, the Upper School Percussion and Woodwind Ensembles will be performing their annual end-of-the-year recital! You’ve never seen or heard anything like it! It will be a mix of classical and crazy, as the Woodwind Ensemble will be performing a multi-movement work by Beethoven, while the Percussion Ensemble is going completely non-traditional. Please join us at 6:30 PM in the Recital Hall for this incredible way to wrap up MPA’s concert season! In the meantime, please enjoy this Throwback Thursday to last year’s performance!


“10 Ways To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse”

zombiesMiddle School students have been hard at work preparing for their upcoming show, “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse!” The show is a comedy by playwright Don Zolidis, whose one-acts and shows have been performed by students all over the country. Get excited and preview photos of the show here!

The show is Friday, June 1 at 3:30 PM in the Black Box Theater at MPA. Tickets are free and the run time is 35 minutes. This is a performance put on by nine fifth and sixth graders, as well as more Middle School students working backstage, that you do not want to miss!
Please contact Lower and Middle school drama teacher Heather Mastel if you have any questions!