Meet Zainab Lodhi ’25

ZainabThis is Zainab’s second year at MPA. She joined in eighth grade and is currently in ninth grade.

What do you love about MPA?
What I love most about MPA is the community and environment. Not only does MPA provide students with a supportive community, but it also gives an environment that encourages curiosity, and it pushes its students towards improvement rather than pressuring students to constantly succeed. MPA makes me feel safe and respected, which I feel is vital in high school. I have never dreaded going to school at MPA. Everyday feels like a new and exciting experience. MPA truly is one of a kind––not only in its beliefs, but how it implements them to create an experience for each of its students.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA wholeheartedly encourages its students to institute change, gives students the support they need to pursue their passions, and teaches students that everyone can make change. We are not treated like we are ignorant of the “real world,” and instead, given room to grow as individuals. I have felt that this treatment encourages us be unafraid of uncertainty and pursue happiness. 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 The Ruane Family

The Ruane FamilyHow many years have you been part of the MPA community?
Just this one!

What do you love about MPA?
We love how well the faculty and staff have truly gotten to know our children in just a few short months. The small class size has been a wonderful fit for all of our children. Both of our kids in the Lower School feel seen, known, and loved in their classrooms. Their teachers have been able to design goals and opportunities around their specific needs. Our Middle Schooler has been given the opportunity to explore a plethora of new opportunities this year, which has been wonderful. Overall, we just feel like our kids are in very good hands when we drop them off everyday!

What initially attracted you to MPA? 
We love that MPA encourages our children to develop and explore multiple interests simultaneously. The strong triad of an education rich in academics, arts, and athletics really drew us towards MPA. Read More


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.


Meet The Gruen Family

The Gruen FamilyThe Gruen Family lives in White Bear Lake, MN. Christine Gruen was an MPA student for four years, and this is her first year as an MPA parent! Max is in tenth grade and Samantha is in eighth.

What do you love about MPA?
I love that the teachers take the time to get to know students and genuinely care about their success and well being. I love that my children feel comfortable approaching their teachers if they ever need help or guidance. I love that MPA is a small family-type community. I love that my children are experiencing amazing learning opportunities that can be used in everyday life. I love seeing my children happy!!

What initially attracted you to MPA?
We had recently relocated to MPA from California. I was attracted to the warm welcome we received by both faculty and students, and the sense of acceptance my children received as transfer students.

How are your children encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
My children are inspired by their teachers to become the best versions of themselves, whatever that may be. They are always encouraged and challenged. Read More


Meet Lucia Simon ’22

Lucia Simon '22Lucia has been an MPA student for three years.

What do you love about MPA?
MPA gives me the space to be authentically myself, to dive deep into the curriculum through our modified block schedule, and to make real connections with students and faculty. I feel completely supported by the MPA community in moving by myself to Minnesota. I know I always have people to go to for help, advice, or just a fun conversation. To me, MPA really is my family because my own isn’t here. I’m spending the day with my friends learning about things that matter to me.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
The support given at MPA is unparalleled. Teachers and faculty truly care for each student’s experience and well-being. Since day one, I have been encouraged to follow my passions and use my voice to advocate for myself and others. We have been taught that as teenagers we can make meaningful change in the world just as much as any adult. Our level of knowledge, skills, and passion does not hold us back; rather, it gives us room to learn and grow. We can make a difference as long we do the work to go into our communities, build relationships, and make the effort to understand different perspectives.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
Because they really care both about the students and the impact the curriculum has on students. Teachers understand that they aren’t just teaching for us to get through high school but they’re teaching the next generation of change-makers. Everything they teach, they show us why we should care about it and why it’s useful in the world. Even if you’re not a science person, our science teachers will show you how science will help you with what you are passionate about. They make their teaching more specific in moments to help students care about what we’re learning. Read More


Forbes 30 Under 30 Recognizes MPA Alumni

MPA acknowledges and celebrates our alumni for being featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list! Congratulations to Laurel Schwartz ’11 and Aaron Millberg ’10, we are so proud of our alums!

Laurel Schwartz ’11 was featured in the Marketing & Advertising category as the brand director of global non-profit organization: Crisis Text Line, which provides free, 24/7 mental health support by text message. In addition to this, Laurel is also a documentary filmmaker. Laurel shares that she is “so thankful for my MPA education that got me here!” Read more here.

Aaron Millberg ’10 was featured in the Hollywood & Entertainment section for his excellent work with United Talent Agency and for representing some very recognizable names such as DJ Khaled and Zachary Levi. Read more here.