Because I Had A Teacher

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. Read More

Lower School Division News May 18, 2023

from Ann Jurewicz, Lower School director

Important Dates and Upcoming Events

  • May 19: PreK Family Music, 8:45-9:15
  • May 26: NO CLASSES, Teacher Professional Development Day
  • May 29: NO CLASSES, Memorial Day
  • May 31: Klein’s Grade 3 performance (NOTE! Grade 1 performances moved to June 5)
  • June 2: Colianni’s Grade 3 and both Grade 4 drama performances
  • NEW DATE! – June 5: Grade 1 drama performances
  • June 3: MPA Commencement 2023
  • June 6: Grade 4 Moving Up Ceremony, 2 PM
  • June 7: Last Day of School – Early Dismissal 10:15 AM

With great joy and many smiles, we celebrated our final CHAMP Assembly of the school year this past Wednesday. We reviewed the CHAMP characteristics we aspire to be with each other: respectful, mindful, gritty, empathetic, and collaborative. Students then enjoyed playing a heads or tails game and finished the morning with a grade level leapfrog competition. Congratulations go to grade one, who narrowly won the race!

Grade 2 Takes a Field Trip to Learn About Native Americans, Tuesday, May 30
Grade 2 will take a field trip to HOĊOKATA TI, bringing history to life. They will have a chance to sit within a traditional Dakota tipi, touch the hides of animals traditionally hunted by the Dakota people, hear the words of the Dakota language, and more. This immersive and interactive exhibit gives students a better understanding of Mdewakanton lifeways. Read More

College Athlete Celebration Day

This Monday was an exciting day for Class of 2023 student-athletes and their families! Fifteen members of the class are moving on to participate in college athletics—that’s 25%! The entire Upper School student body gathered in the Lansing Sports Center to celebrate their selections and wish them well. Go Panthers! For the full album of photos, click here.

Congratulations to the following Class of 2023 student-athletes!

  • Alex Appleton: Rowing at Bates College
  • Kensi Binstadt: Track at Pomona College
  • Cameron Collister: Cross Country and Track at Whitman College
  • Audrey Jakway: Basketball at Haverford College
  • Owen Lafferty: Track at Macalester College
  • Nicholas Larson: Track and Cross Country at Colgate University
  • Michael Mairs: Tennis at St. Olaf College
  • Gabriel Messner: Rowing at University of Edinburgh
  • Zoe Mulvihill: Track at Amherst College
  • Lola Pilon: Volleyball and Softball at Augsburg University
  • Andrew Platz: Baseball at Hamline University
  • Freya Rahm: Tennis at Oberlin College
  • Henry Seum: Sailing at Jacksonville University
  • Siri Springer: Softball at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Annabelle Vale: Swimming at Grinnell College

Parents Association News & Events May 18, 2023

Voting for Next Year’s PA Board Members
Watch for the ballot in next week’s Panther Post.

End of Year Grade Events
The end of the year is coming soon! Watch your email for all the details from your grade representative.

Pre-K: Details coming soon
Kindergarten: Wednesday, June 7, 11 AM-12:30 PM at Richard Walton Park, Oakdale
Grade 1: Wednesday, June 7, 1-3 PM at Richard Walton Park, Oakdale
Grade 2: Details coming soon
Grade 3: Wednesday, June 7, 3:30-5:30 PM at Richard Walton Park, Oakdale
Grade 4: Wednesday, June 7, 10:30 AM at Seaquest, Roseville
Grade 5: Details coming soon
Grade 6: Details coming soon
Grade 7: June 7, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, Casey Lake Park, North St Paul (sharing with grades 7,8,9 & 11)
Grade 8: June 7, 10:30-12:30 PM, Casey Lake Park, North St Paul (sharing with grades 7,8,9 & 11)
Grade 9: June 7, 10:30-12:30 PM, Casey Lake Park, North St Paul (sharing with grades 7,8,9 & 11)
Grade 10: June 7, 10:45-12:45 PM, Wakefield Park Community Building, Maplewood
Grade 11: June 7, 10:30-12:30 PM, Casey Lake Park, North St Paul (sharing with grades 7,8,9 & 11)
Grade 12: Details coming soon

Welcome To MPA, Rudy Ford!

We are so excited to welcome Rudy Ford to MPA as our new director of after-school and summer programs. We’re incredibly happy to have him, and we can’t wait to see all of the enhancements and growth he will bring to the program. Rudy will be starting May 31, so make sure to stop by and give him a warm MPA welcome!

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Director of After School and Summer Programs

From what school/organization are you coming?
Sylvan Learning—Twin Cities

Tell us about your education and past experience.
I am a graduate of Williams College and pursued graduate studies at Loyola University (Maryland). I have spent over 30 years in education as a teacher, coach, admissions director, and Middle School principal. Notable stops include Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, PA; Dedham Country Day School just outside of Boston, MA; Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, WA, and St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, MN.

What did you find appealing about MPA?
MPA’s spirit and culture are a match for my background and experience, and those features are tangibly present from the moment you enter the campus. MPA is the only school I’ve encountered that included a demonstration lesson as part of a leadership interview—and that speaks volumes about what is important here. I have never been made to feel more welcome or valued during a school visit.

What lasting impact do you plan to have on MPA?
I look forward to bringing new ideas, energy, and growth to the Panther and summer programs—all the while continuing to keep kids safe, happy, and learning. I’d love to see kids choosing to stay for Panther Program events even when they have the option to go home, and I’d love to see the summer program be something that draws kids from all over the twin cities for its vibrant and innovative program.

What’s your big dream?
I see “off hours” from school and summer days as having just as much potential to provide formative, impactful experiences for kids. I look forward to the day when kids return to tell us how much some of their experiences in those times have meant to them.

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about my family, my ‘extended family’ of great friends, music, and baseball (go Red Sox)! I am passionate about teaching and learning—both of which I have always done and can’t imagine doing without. I love woodworking, cooking, kayaking, and studying music.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I recently joined a band based in St. Paul to play bass guitar and sing.

Welcome To MPA, Genevieve Winga!

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

From what school/organization are you coming?
Financial Technology Industry

Tell us about your education and past experience.
I have worked in the Financial Technology Industry for more than 25 years in various roles, including client relationships, risk, and sales. I left the corporate world to step back from stress and focus on a role that “makes a difference.” My two sons graduated from MPA, and I also did some substitute teaching here in the past. I was eager to get back to working with kids and education.

What did you find appealing about MPA?
I have always shared a love for MPA after spending a great deal of time here when my sons (Rees ’16 and Bennett ’17) attended. It was good to come, “home.”

What lasting impact do you plan to have on MPA?
During my time here, I hope to make a difference, large or small, within the MPA community.

What’s your big dream?
To always be surrounded by my loved ones and a lot of animals. 🙂

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
I am passionate about making the world a better place in everything that I do!

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I am passionate about horses and own/show a 13-year-old grey mare (female) named “Lark.”

John Malone’s Impact At MPA

from Bill Hudson, head of school

I just returned from my oldest nephew’s wedding in Charleston, South Carolina, the first in the next generation of my family. It was a wonderful weekend, and I thoroughly relished spending time with family and friends. The setting, a historic building on the low-country shore of Charleston Harbor, was delightful. I also had the honor of serving as the officiant for the ceremony, another first. Despite the many graduations I have addressed and the many school events I have presided over, I was incredibly stressed and nervous.

I also took the opportunity to visit the Porter-Gaud School, an independent school in Charleston. I have become friends with the head of school, DuBose Egleston, and enjoyed spending time with him and his administrative team. I’ve come to know DuBose, and Porter-Gaud, through our shared association with the Malone Scholars Program and the Malone Family Foundation.

The Malone Family Foundation is dedicated to improving access to quality education—particularly at the secondary school level—for highly capable students who lack the financial resources to best develop their talents. Mounds Park Academy is proud to be one of the 48 schools across the United States chosen to partner with the Malone Family Foundation. Since 2012, 15 MPA students have graduated as Malone Scholars. We are incredibly proud of our Malone Scholars and are thankful to call them MPA students. They undergo a rigorous application process and not only persist but thrive at MPA. The Malone Scholarship program is a model we hope to expand so more students can access an MPA education in the coming years. Read More

Parents Association News & Events May 11, 2023

Thank You!
A huge thank you to Kirstin Sweet Kennedy, Jessie Flynn, Amy Dahiya, Seema Anwar, Molly Oliver and Christine Larson for helping Tara Lafferty and the Parents Association in the Teaching Kitchen on Tuesday. The PA celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Day with fresh fruit cups topped with whipped cream, drinks, and 18 varieties of fudge from Trio Fudge for all staff to try. Everyone rocked out to a music playlist based on the theme: Teachers Drive the Future. All had a great time!

Neurodiversity Parent Affinity Group meeting
May 17, 3-4:30 PM at MPA in the PCR
All parents and caregivers of neurodiverse MPA students are invited. Our goal is to foster a sense of belonging by providing a space to connect through shared experience and shared identity. Contact Stephanie Sommer with questions at

Get involved with the Parents Association through Informational Sessions

  • May 11, 8 AM, Starbucks, 2146 White Bear Ave, Maplewood
  • May 11, 2 PM, MPA Library, table near the front window
  • May 15, 8 AM, Starbucks, 2146 White Bear Ave, Maplewood
  • May 15, 2-4:30 PM, MPA Library, table near the front window

The Parents Association seeks new board members, grade reps, and volunteers for the 2023-24 school year. Each year PA volunteers organize events for MPA, including the Book Festival, Cultural Diversity Day, Lower School Holiday Parties, and Middle School Snow-Tubing. If you’re interested in learning more about opportunities within the PA, we would love to connect with you. Getting involved with the PA is a great way to meet people and enrich your family’s experience with the MPA community.

Can’t make those times? Please email Staci Banks,, or Christine Larson,, for more information.

Welcome To MPA, Leah Hawley!

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Panther Club Assistant

From what school/organization are you coming?
University of Minnesota

Tell us about your education and past experience.
I graduated from Woodbury High School and am currently finishing my second year of college at the University of Minnesota, pursuing an early childhood and elementary education degree.

What did you find appealing about MPA?
I really enjoyed the community here, and all the staff I interacted with were so nice.

What lasting impact do you plan to have on MPA?
I would like to make a positive impact on the kids that I get a chance to work with.

What’s your big dream?
Right now, my biggest dream is to graduate from college and become an elementary school teacher.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
I am very passionate about music, as I have been in band since I was little, and have also done choir and musical theater! I also really love the outdoors, whether it’s hiking or just relaxing!

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I play the mellophone in the University of Minnesota Marching Band.

The Foundation For A Long-Lasting Future

from Bill Hudson, head of school

May is one of my most favorite months of the year (not just because of my birthday!). There is so much hope and promise as the grass greens, trees bud, flowers bloom, and boats go in the water.  Hope and promise are important to us all and spring is a reminder of what can and will be.

Hope and promise are important to institutions as well. Over forty years ago, a group of parents and educators banded together in hopes of founding a new and different school, one built upon an understanding of the whole child. They believed in the promise of each child and knew that education is more than academics and includes the social, emotional, and physical development of a child and a balance between academics, arts, and athletics.

Mounds Park Academy would not exist without the vision of the founding families and the generosity of time and resources of so many through the years who have built our beautiful campus and school community. The hope and promise that led to the founding of MPA were fulfilled through financial gifts to sustain the day-to-day operations of the school and through gifts to capital campaigns to augment and enhance the MPA facilities and to provide scholarships to deserving students. Over the years, some families and alumni have made gifts to the school’s endowment, doing their part to ensure that the school benefits in perpetuity. Read More