Meet Annika Binstadt ’25

Annika and her sister KensiWhat do you love about MPA?
It sounds cliché, but MPA is my home away from home. I know that I can come to school each day and I will have teachers, friends, coaches, and administrators all ready to welcome me. Whenever I speak with students who don’t go to MPA and they tell me how much they dread going to school or that they don’t feel comfortable being themselves at school, I realize that I have never had that experience at MPA. Not only is the Mounds Park campus where I spend most of my time, but it is where I have made many of my fondest memories and closest friends. It is the place that has raised and nurtured me, and it is a huge part of what has shaped my personality, interests, and character.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
Teachers at MPA genuinely care for their students, and it shows in the way they teach. At this school, I have never felt like just a grade or another essay. The joy teachers have for their students and for teaching shows in everything they do, inside and outside of the classroom. The teachers are truly the heart of what makes MPA great.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
At MPA, no dream is too big. If you see a solution, you pursue it. My dreams have been supported, even when they were far-fetched and arguably impossible. There is a strong culture of justice, dedication, and collaboration among the students. Read More


Host Family Needed For Semester Two

Dear MPA Community,

Do you have a desire to expand your family’s perspective of the world? A room to spare? Space in your heart for another family member? MPA is seeking a host family for a new Upper School international students for the second half of the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

As you and your family consider hosting, please review the MPA Host Family Recruitment Flyer and Host Family Application.

STIPEND

  • A monthly stipend will be directly deposited in installments of $900/month on the first of each month for the previous month, January through June. January and June will be prorated.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from school and school-related activities.
  • Host families will work with their student in scheduling rides for social events.

MEALS

  • All international students will receive the MPA school lunch. Host families and students do not need to pack lunches.
  • Host families are responsible for providing two meals on all weekdays and three meals on all weekend days.

We hope you’ll consider opening your hearts and homes to one of our international students! Give it some thought, and if interested, please reach out to me for additional information and/or to begin the process of becoming a host family. I would love to have a conversation with you!

Thank you so much for considering,

Cory Becker-Kim
International Student Program Coordinator
Advanced Language and Culture Teacher
cbeckerkim@moundsparkacademy.org


Meet William Kim ’20

William Kim '20What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I am a student at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University in London, Ontario, Canada (also where I currently live), studying Percussion Performance and entering my third year.

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 was able to get to where I am today because of the numerous opportunities MPA and the Twin Cities provided for me. While in the Twin Cities, I got to play in the Symphony Orchestra of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies organization. I got to perform in venues such as Orchestra Hall and Ted Mann Concert Hall, mentor younger musicians in other orchestras, and tour internationally in Eastern Europe (2018). This past June, I was invited by GTCYS as an alum to come back to Minnesota to perform and tour internationally with them in Southern Italy–it was wonderful to come back and visit all my old friends and relive fond memories at MPA!

It all started for me with MPA’s ensembles, who inspired and shaped the musician I am today. While at MPA, I participated in Concert Band, Varsity and Concert Choir, and Percussion Ensemble. In addition to developing my musical abilities, each ensemble helped to develop my confidence and teamwork skills, very important skills to have when majoring in music and in life.

While in Minnesota, I also took private lessons at the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Dr. Adam Rappel. His patience, dedication, and guidance helped to get me to where I am today, and I don’t know where I would be today without him and my MPA teachers Ms. Wantock and Mr. Habermann.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA inspire you to dream big and do right?
MPA’s faculty inspired me to dream big and do right by serving as excellent role models, and leading by example. Every faculty member I interacted with impacted me through their respect, responsibility, leadership, and methods of keeping us engaged and fostering learning through multiple flexible approaches that included Socratic seminars and frequent in-class discussions, a learning environment very few schools have. Given the nature of my current major (Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance), which involves a lot of performing in large ensembles and working in “teams,” MPA has given me the lifelong skills necessary to lead and collaborate with my colleagues effectively.

What’s next? Do you have any aspirations, personal or professional, that you’d like to share?
To keep learning and performing!


Meet Sophia Spisak ’23

Sophia Spisak '23What do you love about MPA?
I love how MPA is such a close-knit community. I really value the relationships I have with my teachers and friends, and I still keep in touch with some of my Middle School teachers. It’s wonderful to have such close connections. I also love that MPA gives students the opportunity to try so many different things–most students aren’t just known for one passion.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Since MPA is a PreK-12 school, I’m able to learn from students of different ages. When I was in Middle School, I always looked up to my team captains as my role models, and I wanted to be just like them because they were so kind and caring. Being the older kid now lets me learn from younger teammates and set a positive example.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
It is very clear how much MPA teachers care about their students; they always teach with joy and authenticity. I believe they teach this way because they care about us so deeply and want to see us succeed outside of the classroom. Read More


Meet The Goetzke Family

The Goetzke FamilyPeyton, now in second grade, started school at MPA in 2020 for her Kindergarten year. Ashley has worked at MPA since 2016.

What do you love about MPA?
We love MPA for many reasons, but the one that rises to the top would be the encouraging environment for Peyton. It’s been amazing how fast her teachers get to know the ins and outs of how her little mind works. The care and compassion they show to her from day one is truly special.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
The character development that happens at MPA is so impactful. Students are not only inspired to dream big and do right, they also see it happening around them on campus. They witness this with their peers, teachers, and the older students they see in the hallway. This is the beauty of a PreK-12 campus. Read More


Meet The Myeroff Family

The Myeroff FamilyThe Myeroff Family from Lake Elmo just began their second school year at MPA with their Kindergarten and PreK students.

What initially attracted you to MPA? 
When we started our school search, we weren’t looking at private school for private schools’ sake. In fact, we were leaning more towards public schools until we started learning more about MPA. We wanted a school that would help grow our kids’ confidence while they learned, and a community that believed school was not just a place to learn but a place to grow into a kind, compassionate member of society. We wanted a community that valued diversity where no students got or felt lost in the shuffle. We wanted a community for not just our kids, but also for us as a family. We were blown away that we found all of that and SO much more at MPA! Read More


Welcome To MPA, Samantha Sanchez!

Samantha Sanchez

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging

From what school/organization are you coming?
I worked at a very small community college in New Jersey and am completing my Master’s degree at NYU.

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and led efforts in higher education reform to increase access and the holistic achievement of minoritized students, which began my professional career in both DEIB and education. After working in K-12 with neurodiverse students and for a private corporation leading community empowerment and equity efforts in urban planning, I decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Sociology of Education at NYU–both so I could fulfill a lifelong dream of living in New York City and to further my research pursuits.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
My education philosophy and research foci are centered in the holistic development of students, so it was beautiful to see so many people dedicated to developing the whole student and practicing education models that center student needs. I also found myself in a (virtual) space with people I felt incredibly comfortable with and could sense how fundamental community formation is at MPA.

What’s your big dream?
I have dreams of buying a farm, own lots of animals (we have five dogs now!), and growing a majority of the fruits and vegetables we consume.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
My family is incredibly passionate about just that–family! We seize every opportunity to be together and spend quality time with one another. These days, that often looks like a group FaceTime where all you can see is all of our foreheads (I have no idea why we all FaceTime that way) and gatherings at our family home. The last big family outing we had was some months ago at Disneyland for my nephew’s first birthday!

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I am originally from California! The rest of my family currently lives in Southern California and my fiancée is originally from the Bay (Northern California), but she and her family moved to Minneapolis some time ago…which is what initially brought me here!


Meet Amina Brewer ’24

AminaMeet Amina Brewer, an MPA junior entering her third year at MPA!

What do you love about MPA?
One thing I love about MPA is how fast people can make connections with each other. Since the class sizes are relatively small, it’s pretty easy to form relationships with classmates. A lot of times when schools are huge, people get anxious about speaking up in class, and MPA does a good job at preventing situations like that.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
The teachers at MPA all seem to actually care for their students. There aren’t times when I feel like a burden to them, or like they’re just trying to get through the day because they all seem to truly enjoy being an educator. Part of the reason why I think they teach us this way is so we can not only succeed in the future, but also so we can change the future for the best.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Seeing my hardworking friends is really what motivates me to try my very best for the future and career I want most. Without them, I wouldn’t be half as motivated.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
I probably wouldn’t be as determined to do well because not many schools have this many students that are as motivated as they are here. Read More


Welcome To MPA, Jay Dean!

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Interim assistant Upper School director starting August 1, 2022.

From what school/organization are you coming?
The Blake School

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I earned my B.S. in Producing for Electronic Media from Syracuse University and earned my M.A. in School Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. My teaching and administrative experience includes time at The Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, CA (2002-11) and The Blake School (2011-2022). At Blake, I served as Middle School director for five years.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
I am drawn to MPA’s focus on the whole child, its progressive approach to teaching and learning, and the recognition of the importance of social-emotional learning and DEIJ work. I know that MPA is a “transformative” partner for students and families and I am excited to be a part of that. Read More


Meet Frances Martin ’23

Frances Martin '23Meet Frances, who will be beginning her third and senior year at MPA this fall.

What do you love about MPA?
I love how invested the teachers are in every student’s success! My teachers all clearly love what they do and find ways to make the material we learn about interesting. They make sure that every student is supported so they can learn and grow.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
I believe they teach the way they do because they all love what they teach and want their students to have a positive experience with the material as well.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience here been different?
I think the fact that MPA is such a small school really allows for much more attention from teachers than at a larger school. At MPA, I always feel like I can go to my teachers when I need help. Read More