Meet Brendan Boyle ’14!

Brendan Boyle '14Meet 2019-20 Alumni Association Board member Brendan Boyle ’14!

Brendan attended MPA from kindergarten through 12th grade. After his lifer journey at MPA, he attended and graduated from NC State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and was deeply involved with several award-winning startups. Though he initially planned to attend medical school, he was offered a unique opportunity to work at Epic Games during the explosive growth of Fortnite. There, he currently works as an information security engineer and is the lead developer for account security tools. And now, as an Alumni Board member, Brendan’s goal is to re-engage alumni who have not previously worked with MPA post-graduation. Read More


Meet Kathryn Andersen ’09!

Kathryn Andersen '09 of the alumni boardMeet 2019-20 Alumni Association Board member Kathryn Andersen ’09!

Following graduation from MPA, Kathryn attended the University of Notre Dame, majoring in History and Pre-Med. She has also earned her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Since college, she has worked in higher education, helping students through the admissions process at the University of Notre Dame and now in the MBA Admissions department for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Kathryn credits MPA with instilling a love of learning, inquisitive thinking, and soft skills that have helped her throughout her education and career.

“I loved my time at MPA and am passionate about supporting the school. Especially working in education, I’ve realized all the ways in which MPA was so ahead of its time and so unique in its mission and community,” she said. Read More


Meet Michael Velin ’06!

Michael Velin '06Meet 2019-20 Alumni Association Board member Michael Velin ’06!

Michael attended MPA ninth through 12th grade. He is currently a financial consultant for families and works with them to transition not only their wealth and businesses to the next generation, but also their missions and values. He and his wife Ashley Cooper, Middle and Upper School counselor at MPA, live in St. Paul and are expecting their first child this month!

Ever since graduating from MPA in 2006, Michael says he has gained a deep connection and sense of gratitude for a community that has driven his desire to constantly learn and explore new adventures.

“MPA has always been a second home for me and to some degree I didn’t want to lose touch of that feeling,” he said.

He is inspired to continue the spirit of giving back and helping the community. He wants to continue to be active in the broader Twin Cities community with activism and philanthropy.

Stay tuned for more extended profiles of your 2019-20 Mounds Park Academy Alumni Association Board!


Meet MPA Parents Leah And Karl Anderson

Anderson FamilyWhat do you love about MPA?
We love the whole child approach MPA takes to learning and development … pushing each child to pursue the best version of themselves that they can be, but in a manner uniquely designed for who that child is. This is the case not just academically, but also socially, artistically, athletically, and musically. And, MPA wraps a supportive, welcoming, positive community around all of it to make asking big questions and sharing ideas safe and possible. It’s a killer mash-up that means we have a kid who jumps out of bed in the morning excited to go to school and nearly always enthusiastically answers “GREAT!” when asked “how was your day?” Really, what more could parents ask for?

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA’s “there’s more than one way to solve the problem” approach is a game changer. For example, our daughter shared a story just this week about a lesson she working on in math. She said she was struggling to understand it as presented in class but thought she had found a different way to solve for the answer that she told her teacher about. In some schools, the teacher might have said “no, that’s not how you do it.” At MPA, her teacher said, “Great idea! Why don’t you try your approach with some of the problems tomorrow and see if it works.”

That is the essence of MPA—challenging our kids to excel and learn and grow in an open-ended way that spawns innovation and creative thinking. Dreaming big about possibilities, being willing to test ideas, understanding that “failing” is okay and part of progress, driving resiliency, and starting all over again is the MPA way.

If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
Our daughter attended a different school for PreK. She dreaded going in the morning, wasn’t challenged academically, and in general just wasn’t energized by the community around her. It was fine, but it was FLAT. At MPA—it’s the polar opposite: ALIVE, ENGAGING, CHALLENGING, ENERGIZING, you name it. It is just night and day. We have never regretted our decision to send our daughter to MPA and plan to do so until the day she graduates. Read More


Meet Mr. Thomsen

Biology teacher with two studentsUpper School science teacher, parent of an alumna

What do you love about MPA?
I love that it offers a liberal arts, whole child experience. Students spend each day doing a variety of things as they learn about themselves and the world.

How many years have you been at MPA?
I’ve been here for 27 years—since 1991!

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
MPA takes the time to nurture students’ interests and gives them a multitude of experiences to help them see the wide range of things those interests relate to.

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
The small size makes it easier to communicate with colleagues and to help ensure that no student gets “lost in the shuffle.” I like that I am in charge of my budget and the chance to obtain materials, in the right amounts, to maximize the learning from each lab.

What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
Consider how MPA offers a wide range of offerings, the small class sizes, teachers who are interested in and get to know all of their students. Teachers and administrators are accessible to their students. Each student can be in a multitude of extra curricular activities without a lot of prior experience.

Read More


Meet MPA Parent Sungwon Koo

Sungwon Koo and sonWhat do you love about MPA?
I love the warmth of MPA. That’s the reason that I chose MPA for my son who had come from so far away to the United States. Throughout the application, school tour, and interview process, I could feel the warmth, respect, and sincerity from teachers, interviewers, and staff. They are all proud of being an MPA family, which makes me feel confident. MPA has something special within their heart to care for students and care for families.

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA is open, flexible, and encourages students to think big and explore new things. Even though my son is not an athletic person, he immediately loved to run on the Cross Country Team and also enjoyed downhill skiing. When my son is planning and selecting courses and extra activities for next semester, he is happy and really excited about what he is going to choose. He wants to learn new things and is full of high hopes and expectations for classes and teachers.

What would you tell another family considering MPA?
If you want a school that takes care of your child like a family, come and choose MPA. Faculty, students, and families are all inclusive to foreign students and new families in general. Passionate teachers are all proud that they can teach at MPA. Faculty and staff pay attention to and are ready to listen to the voices of students and families. Read More


Meet Ryan Ghose ’21

Ryan Ghose in classWhat do you love about MPA?
Waking up every morning excited about what I’m doing that day, whether it be a fun activity during class, play rehearsal, or a school dance.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
I am encouraged to dream big and do right through everything MPA offers. My extracurriculars allow me to explore anything and everything I set my mind to. The volunteer work I have been doing on campaigns and for organizations I believe in continue to inspire me to do right for my peers and my community.

What would you tell a family considering MPA?
If you have a child that loves to learn and wants to explore their environment, MPA allows your child to do that in a supportive and understanding environment.

In what ways has MPA prepared you for life?
I’m prepared for life because MPA provides the tools for me to build an understanding of the world around me, and how I fit into that world and how I can contribute to it.

What do you dream for yourself in 20 years? 
Leading and working in a marketing position while maintaining my love of the performing arts.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
As an MPA lifer, I have seen this school change dramatically from when I started in 2008. From this, I know two things for sure: every year MPA becomes an even better school and I become an even better person.

Mounds Park Academy, a PreK-12 private school in Saint Paul, is currently accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year. For more information about admission and to schedule your tour, visit moundsparkacademy.org/admission. We look forward to getting to know your family!


Meet Ms. O’Keefe

Teacher in Makerspace with young studentFirst grade teacher

How many years have you been at MPA?
My first, first grade class is currently in ninth grade … making my career at MPA nine years!

What do you love about MPA?
I love that MPA reaches every aspect of the whole child and that they respect every child as an individual.

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
MPA nurtures students who forever dream big and do right by inviting students from a very young age to express their dreams, teach them that no dream is too big, and help them on a path to discover how to reach those dreams while being respectful citizens.

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
MPA has an amazing understanding of students at each educational level (Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School) and how each relates to one another. Having the span of pre-kindergarten to graduation from high school under one roof is a unique quality in a school. Read More


Meet Evan W. ‘24

Students playing soccerWhat do you love about MPA?
How people are very kind and inclusive. Another thing that I really like about MPA is that the class sizes are very small, so the teachers really get to know you and your personality genuinely well. That makes it easy and comfortable to ask them for help.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
What encourages me is that the teachers are always supportive. If you have an idea and you tell one of your teachers, they would never make you think that your idea is stupid or not good. They would actually encourage you to try it and help you with it.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
One of the things that is different is that there are 10 times more teacher help than at other schools. Because MPA has such small class sizes, the teachers will give you lots more help and you will be able to get all your questions answered.

What would you tell a family considering MPA?
I would tell them that the environment at MPA is super welcoming and nice and that there are great people at the school, so you will be able to make friends very easily. Read More


Meet Isaac ’29

What do you love about MPA?
My favorite part of MPA is playing with friends, especially in phy. ed. class. Mr. Sheehan is my teacher and he is always nice. He’s just a fun person. I also love math because I use my whole brain and I work together with my friends.

How do you dream big and do right at MPA?
Dream big and do right means being nice to my friends. I make sure to give (my best friend) a hug every morning when I see him, and he gives me a hug.

What would you tell a friend considering MPA?
MPA is a very fun place because you have everything you need. You have friends, you have a really good hot lunch, you have a big playground, you have lots of books in the library. The library is a place I really like because I love books, especially books about football. I also really like Ms. Espeland’s music class and Ms. Mastel’s drama class. I really can’t pick which of those I like best because I like them both so much. 

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