Meet Kate Thrane ’16

Kate Thrane '16What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally? I am spending this summer in Washington D.C. working as an intern in Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen’s office. I’m learning so much about government and democracy. My responsibilities include answering constituent phone calls, running errands, attending hearings, writing memos, and giving tours of the Capitol. Through my internship, I’ve been able to attend events at the FBI, “The Washington Post,” and the White House. One of my favorite parts is seeing people who are on the news (or in the news) in person!

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Meet Morgan Emmans ’15

Morgan Emmans '15 and Siri S.What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

Currently I am attending St. Cloud State University, where I am majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Human Relations. I am a member and captain of the softball team at St. Cloud State. This fall, I will be entering my senior year at St. Cloud State. Over the summer, I am coaching the 12U Silver Bullets softball team, and ironically, MPA student, Siri S. is one of my players.

How did you get there? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

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Meet Ms. Johnson

Teacher with student at laptopMiddle and Upper School world language teacher

How many years have you been at MPA? 14 years

What do you love about MPA?
Everything! I love the MPA community.

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
By providing them with multiple opportunities in school as well as out of school. i-Term in the Middle School, is a great example.

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
What a I truly love about MPA is having all grades PreK-12 on one campus. We all benefit from seeing all age levels on any given day.

What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
This is a great school! Students want to learn and be successful. They are kind and supportive of each other and make great connections with students, teachers, and the community at large.

In what ways are you preparing students for life in the 21st century?
To be thinkers, doers and to have the confidence to go out there and make change in the world.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
As an educator, I am constantly being pushed intellectually. I appreciate the support and opportunities to do so, be it through conferences, lectures, classes, traveling, etc.


Meet Teja Upadhyaya ’17

Teja. class of 2017What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I am currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota. In addition to this, I am a 4/C Marine Corps option Midshipmen at the NROTC unit here with a commissioning date of May 2021. After commissioning I will serve as a 2nd LT in the United States Marine Corps

How did you get there? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

MPA inspired me to think about the bigger picture and this was the driving force that inspired me to enter military service. Through MPA I learned to love education which is why I decided to go down the officer route.

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Meet Kelsey LaValle ’05

Kelsey lavalleWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I’m a stay-at-home mom who is active in volunteering at my kids’ school as well as serving on the Mardag Foundation Board.

How did you get there? 

I pursued some programs at St. Paul College (Massage and Esthetics), however I decided that my priority was with my family when I got pregnant and never made it into the field.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA help you dream big and do right?

MPA taught me the value of a good education with caring teachers and how a tight knit community is so important.

What’s next? Any aspirations-personal or professional-that you’d like to share?

I’d like to grow in my position with Mardag and possibly pursue a para position in our school district when all my kids are in school.

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Meet Andrew Grant ’15

Andrew grant in Antarctica What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I am currently in my third year at Vanderbilt University, studying Earth & Environmental Science. This past November through January, I was fortunate enough to participate in the United States Antarctic Program. The purpose of our project was to collect ice core from a body of ancient glacial ice that is preserved under a layer of till. Now, I am San Francisco on the first part of a study abroad program looking at the politics of climate change–specifically food, water, and energy. Over the course of my semester with SIT we will be traveling to Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia. I am very fortunate.

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Meet Greta Stacy ’11

MPA alum outdoorsWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I am currently teaching IB Chemistry at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador.

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 graduated from Smith College in 2015 with degrees in American studies and chemistry. After Smith, I moved back to Minnesota to pursue my initial license in 9-12 chemistry with the Twin Cities Teacher Collaborative (TC2). This experimental teacher training program provided me with the course work for my license and a yearlong residency experience instead of the traditional student teaching. In this program, I taught at St. Paul Central for one year. Then, I moved to Ecuador and began teaching at Academia Cotopaxi. I completed my MAT through Hamline University this fall, and my final project focused on the integration of the nature of science into the IB chemistry syllabus. I hope to present this research over the summer at the IB World Conference in San Diego. Read More


Meet Ms. Meras

Teacher selfie with studentsMiddle School English teacher

How many years have you been at MPA? 12

What do you love about MPA?
Anyone who has heard me gush about MPA knows I focus on the community. We are a family, and we treat each other as such. We accept each other, build each other up, challenge each other, and pick each other up when we fall. There is grace and compassion in these hallways. There is something very special about this place.

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
We know our kids, and with that knowledge comes the ability to help each student tap into their own passions. Whether it is trying out for their first role in the Spring Musical, singing a solo, perfecting the college essay, developing a senior service project, or prepping for a debate, the faculty and staff step in to help students meet their goals and set high hopes for their futures. Our kids go into the world eager to make positive change.

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
Family, camaraderie, community. The faculty and staff are “all-in.” This is not just a job, it is who we are; it is what we do.

What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
I’ve heard it said before that if one is considering the cost of a private school education, one main point to consider is the dividends an MPA education pays in scholarships and other opportunities. On a more personal note, our kids are known. We meet our kids where they are and help them develop their strengths. Our current students and parents frequently mention this personal touch, along with academic rigor and opportunities to explore arts and sports all at once. Read More


Meet Mr. Habermann

Choir teacher directing studentsMiddle and Upper School music teacher and choir director

How many years have you been at MPA?
Seventeen years as the choir director. I was hired by Barb Bradley to vocal direct and accompany the musicals in 1996. I have been walking MPA halls for nearly half of my life!

What do you love about MPA?
The joy, positivity, passion, and drive exhibited by faculty, staff, and students.

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
We instill in our students the idea of possibility. What can we do now? The world is at your fingertips. Why not dive in and experience all that you can?

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
You can be yourself at MPA. Your uniqueness is celebrated. You are important and have something to “bring to the table.” It is like a choir … everyone’s voice is important and we want to hear what you have to say (or sing, in my case!).

What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
You will be jealous of your children’s education!

In what ways are you preparing students for life in the 21st century?
In choir, we are a community. What one person does affects not only you, but the whole. We may be independent thinkers, but we are interdependent beings. Music-making teaches discipline, perseverance, creativity, and the importance of deep listening. Read More


Meet Lesley Kroupa ’97

MPA alum in sand dunesWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I am currently pursuing a Master of Science in nutrition and public health at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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?
After practicing business law in New York City for 11 years and participating in triathlons and marathons in my spare time, I decided to change careers to pursue my passion for nutrition and fitness. My goal is to combine my legal experience with my nutrition and public health studies to explore ways to promote healthy eating through public policy.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA help you dream big and do right?
As an MPA “lifer” I grew up in the halls of MPA and am continually grateful to the teachers and staff who made it such a thoughtful, empowering, and enriching community. I have no doubt that the lessons from MPA to dream big and do right helped spur my decision to make a career change and pursue a new path.

This story is part of a new series called The Year of 100 Stories, launched by the Mounds Park Academy Alumni Association in January 2018. All alumni are warmly invited to tell their story! Email alumni@moundsparkacademy.org for more information.