Plan To Join Declan Dahlberg ‘18 At The Spring Auction Next Year!

Alumni NewsOnce every year my brother, Kethan ’14, sends a message to the family group chat asking who can make the MPA Spring Auction. Our family, spread all across the country these days, takes this as an opportunity to not only be together, but celebrate a school that we have been a part of for over 20 years.

To me, the Spring Auction serves as a bridge between past, present, and future generations of the MPA community. I see my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Stacy, and I get to share what my life looks like 10-plus years later. I sit with parents whose students I coach on the cross-country or track teams and talk about how far they have come as students and athletes. I chat with new parents I’ve never met and see the same impact MPA had on my life materializing for their children.

These connections between teachers, parents, students, and alumni are what separate MPA from other communities and our family is proud to support that through events such as the Spring Auction. Please join me and many alumni at next year’s Spring Auction on April 4, 2025.

See you then,

Declan Dahlberg ‘18

To learn more about the auction, The Center for Inclusive Teaching & Learning, or to make a gift, please contact Ashley Goetzke, director of development and community engagement, at agoetzke@moundsparkacademy.org.


Alumni Parents Visit Their Kindergarten Kiddos

Kindergarten teachers, Ms. Kristine Petersen (Ms. P) and Ms. Katie Roche welcome parents into classrooms for community share moments each year. This year was extra special as we had eight students in the Kindergarten class that were children of MPA alumni.

We asked the teachers – How do you feel about having alumni parents in your classroom?
It is always a highlight when MPA parents volunteer to join us in the classroom. Children get so excited to share part of their day with their parent. As I reflect on the question above, I become a bit overwhelmed. I’m hit with the realization that these adults have chosen to come home to a place where they grew and learned as a child. This is a powerful moment and one that epitomizes our school community. We make deep connections with each other at MPA. I have watched some of these parents grow into the human beings they are today. It was an incredible honor to be a part of their story as they traveled on their life journey. Then to think I now have their sweet children in my class. Well, my eyes are overflowing with tears.

These eight alumni parents will lead our kindergarteners into their graduation ceremony on June 4. Each former MPA student will don an MPA alumni sash and find their place standing behind their child, and the entire kindergarten class. This will be a breathtaking sight. It will inspire new beginnings and possibilities for more children to return home. A place where they will always belong and be loved for who they are each and every day.
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Meet The Reid Family

The Reid FamilyThe Reid Family comes from St. Louis Park. Warner ’26 and Hazel ’27 both started at MPA in ninth grade. Get to know their family!

What’s the best thing about being part of the MPA community?
Our teens have been able to find their own places and interests at school and other like-minded kids who support them in those interests. It feels cozy, welcoming, and full of joy.

What is your favorite MPA tradition or event?
We are still fairly new to MPA, but so far, we have really enjoyed the choir concerts and art shows. MPA does a wonderful job of seeing the whole student, and these events highlight one facet of many students.

Complete this sentence: MPA teaches my child…
To persevere, to fail, to set goals, to express themselves, and to explore what’s possible.

If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
The community of students at MPA embraced our new ninth graders in their separate years, giving them a fresh start and a safe environment in which to learn and dream big. Read More


Welcome to MPA, Giselle Wynia!

Giselle WyniaWelcome to MPA, Giselle Wynia! Giselle joins us as a Middle School science and design teacher. We are so excited to introduce her to our community!

What school/organization are you coming from?
I previously worked for St. Odilia School.

Tell us about your education and past experience.
Prior to teaching middle school science, I taught courses at the University of Minnesota including human anatomy and worked in the anatomy bequest program. I have a Masters of instruction in human anatomy and physiology. I left the University of Minnesota to teach middle school science, and it is the most fun I have had during my teaching career. I have experience in public and private schools, and I am currently finishing up the year at St. Odilia. I have a passion for lifelong learning and I am excited to share that with the students at MPA.

What did you find appealing about MPA?
The sense of community and belonging was evident from the time I walked in the door. I really enjoyed my time teaching in Mr. Milam’s room as the students were eager to participate and a joy to interact with. Read More


Meet Assistant Director Of Admission Hannah Smith

Hannah SmithHannah Smith is the assistant director of admission (Lower School) at MPA, and a parent of two MPA Lower School students and one MPA Middle School student. Continue reading to get to know Hannah and contact her to learn more about Lower School at MPA!

When and how did you first come to MPA?
I came to MPA through my children about two years ago! We found ourselves seeking a different school for our kids, and ended up falling in love with MPA. After we enrolled our kids, I was ready to rejoin the workforce and so hoped to be apart of the MPA community as an employee in addition to a parent.

What memories do you have of your first days at MPA?
Kindness. Every single person in the building came up to me and not only introduced themselves but asked how I was doing and what they could do to help my transition.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
By celebrating failure! Students with big dreams are taught that their goals are more than attainable, but nobody gets it right on the first try. MPA also has exceptional faculty to help students achieve whatever their dreams entail. Read More


Meet International Student Ella Li ’24

Ella Li '24 Ella Li has been at MPA since eighth grade. She is from China and is currently living with an MPA host family. Learn more about our international student program and becoming a host family here!

What do you love about MPA?
I love the various curriculums at MPA. I can take different humanities courses, like world history, Western literature, US history, etc. From these courses, I have been able to learn about many interesting cultures and read high-quality literature works from the US. Also, I can access different levels of math classes, like algebra, statistics, and calculus, which inspired my curiosity to explore more knowledge. MPA’s science courses, such as physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science, are wonderful. Additionally, I like watercolor drawing, painting, and photography. At MPA, I have opportunities to take various art courses, such as art and design. All of these courses enrich my life at MPA.

How is your experience at MPA different than your former school?
At MPA, I have a closer relationship with each teacher and classmates. During class, I have a lot of group discussions and projects with my classmates. We could share many exciting ideas and help each other. After class, I am also very willing to discuss questions with my teachers. They always give me detailed explanations, enabling me to understand the content I learned clearly. In my former school, I spent most of my time preparing for standard tests, rarely had opportunities to discuss questions with teachers, and participated in after-class activities. Read More


Welcome to MPA, Paul Errickson!

Mr. Paul Errickson will be joining us as Middle School director in June 2024! Please watch for ways to warmly welcome him to our community. Take a moment to get to know Mr. Errickson and the wealth of experience he will be bringing to MPA. 

From what school/organization are you coming? 
I am joining you from The American School of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland.

Tell us about your education and past experience. 
I spent my early years of education at the University of New Hampshire, earning a B.S. in environmental conservation with a minor in outdoor education and an MEd in secondary education, all while competing on their men’s track and field team as a hammer thrower. I also earned a MEd in independent school leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University. I have taught and led in six different schools in four different countries and have held roles ranging from camp counselor and learning coach to head of middle school. I have worked Croo in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s high mountain huts of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and I spent a year as an AmeriCorps member teaching about watersheds and stream ecology. I’ve always found ways to get involved with students outside of the classroom, from coaching soccer and helping out with musicals to leading outdoor trips—hiking, skiing, or ice climbing—in the mountains.

What did you find appealing about MPA? 
First of all, I was struck by the simplicity and conviction of MPA’s motto: Dream Big. Do Right. As a principled leader who believes deeply in inspiring our students and teaching them about servant leadership, I immediately connected to MPA’s aspirational motto. The more I learned about MPA, the more I loved it as I read through the stories on your website and saw your commitment as a school for “dreamers and doers.” And, then I got to visit the school and meet the people at MPA. From the moment I stepped into the building, I experienced a warmth and an ethos of learning, acceptance, and energy that I have not felt in many other schools. Filled with nooks and joyful students, MPA revealed itself to be a place that values relationships and connection—across all grade levels. I felt the energy from every student, teacher, and adult that I talked with on that day. Read More


Welcome To MPA, Ashley Riihiluoma!

Ashley RiihiluomaWelcome to MPA, Ashley Riihiluoma! Ashley joins us as the Middle School administrative assistant and will begin on March 4. We are so excited to introduce her to our community!

What school/organization are you coming from?
I previously worked for the YMCA of the North.

Tell us about your education and past experience.
I went to college and received a degree in child development. I have devoted my entire professional career to working with children. I have worked mostly with early childhood education and have held many roles within the realm. My most recent experiences have been in program director and operational business director roles.

What did you find appealing about MPA?
Mostly the sense of community and belonging. I was thrilled about working with the middle school age group, as it is a new endeavor for me.

What lasting impact do you plan to have on MPA?
I want to make a lasting impact on the students by being a safe, dependable, and respected member of the faculty that they know and rely on. My impact will be the difference I can make in their lives.

What’s your big dream?
To find success in everything that I do. One day, I want to live minimalistic on a piece of land with a cottage-style house and a garden. That would be pure happiness for me.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
We are passionate advocates for advancement in mental health. We believe the whole well-being is important—not just physical health. We are also huge animal lovers and find many of our passions associated with such.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I grew up in a very large family with eight brothers.

 


Welcome To MPA, Michael Pappas!

Michael PappasWelcome to MPA, Michael! Michael joins us as the communications coordinator. We are so excited to introduce him to our community!

What school/organization are you coming from?
I previously worked for Adams Publishing Group.

Tell us about your education and past experience.
I graduated from St. Cloud State University before heading to work for the Union-Times and County News Review as the sports editor.

What did you find appealing about MPA?
The school seemed like a very welcoming place for everybody.

What lasting impact do you plan to have on MPA? 
I plan to help push MPA to make it even better than it currently is by helping in whatever way I can. Read More


Meet International Student Alum Wei Zhan ’22

Wei Zhan '22What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally? What experiences or relationships have inspired you along the way?
I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and am now attending Santa Monica College. Engaging with a diverse and talented group of individuals fueled my passion along the way.

How was your experience at MPA different than other schools?
MPA has an inclusive and open atmosphere, embracing individuals from all backgrounds and creating a welcoming environment for everyone. Read More