The Staff of Academic Arts High School
Click a link to read about that staff member
- Jane Davin (Director)
- Shoua Yang (Administrative Assistant)
- Lauryn Davin (Administrative Assistant and Communications Coordinator)
- Krissy Wright (Special Education Instructor and Dean of Students)
- Heather Fjelstad (Special Education Coordinator)
- Andrew Ng (Math Instructor)
- Aaron Berger (Science Instructor)
- Peter Scholtes (Social Studies and Humanities Instructor)
- Kelley Thompson (Language Arts Instructor)
- Bethany Findell (Paraprofessional)
- Russell Packard (Music, Arabic, and Spanish Elective Instructor)
- University of Minnesota: B.A. Vocal Music Education K-12
- Master of Liberal Arts Interdisciplinary Studies – U of M, Twin Cities
- Jane is starting her sixth year as Director of Academic Arts High School, She holds a Master of Liberal Studies Degree in Interdisciplinary Teaching from the U of M, Twin Cities, and a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Education from the U of M Duluth, MN.
Prior to her post as Director of Academic Arts, Jane’s spent 18 years as a teacher of music, art history and other humanities subjects in the West St. Paul, Apple Valley, and Burnsville areas. Her passion for teaching, curriculum development, staff advocacy and team-building skills have been good preparation for her leadership role at Academic Arts. Jane has a particular commitment to conflict/resolution issues among students and the surrounding community, and for creating a harmonious learning atmosphere that is based upon respect, honor, and individual academic achievement.
Aligned with education, Jane also enjoys her career in professional writing. She is the author of four SRA books from MacGraw-Hill: ”The Father of Television,” “Migrating Animals Great and Small,” an adaptation of ”Swiss Family Robinson,” and ”Earth Belongs To You.”
Jane loves bicycling the great trails of Mpls. and St. Paul with Lyle, cooking and visiting with her grown children, painting, and writing short stories.
- Administrative Assistant
Shoua is starting her seventh year at Academic Arts High School. She is the school’s MARSS reporter, Office Manager, and is the school’s Test Coordinator for all statewide and district assessments.
Shoua previously worked at another charter school as a Family Liaison and MARSS Coordinator. She also has experience as a teacher’s aide working with elementary children diagnosed with Emotional and Behavior Disorders.
Shoua was born and raised in St. Paul. She is the fourth child in a family of nine children. She attended Harding High School where she volunteered for the St. Paul Public schools as a paraprofessional for students with special needs. Right out of high school, Shoua spent five years managing and running her own language-interpreting business. In the fall of 2005, she decided to work for a brand new charter school as a Family Liaison and Administrative Assistant.
Shoua is married and has two children. You can find Shoua on the weekends at the St. Paul Farmers Market where her family sells organic vegetables.
- Administrative Assistant and Communications Coordinator
Lauryn Davin is the administrative assistant and communications coordinator t at AAHS. She came to AAHS in the spring of 2011, and is looking forward to another great year! Her favorite activities include running, dancing, reading, traveling, good food, and live music.
Lauryn is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Occupational Science at St. Catherine University. Lauryn lives in Minneapolis with her favorite human being, (husband) Sebastian, and her favorite non-human being (German Shepherd) Charlie.
- Dean of Students and Special Education Instructor
Krissy Wright is Academic Arts High School’s Dean of Students and Special Education Instructor. She has her B.A. in Psychology from Mankato State University, and received her license in Special Education from Bemidji State University.
Previously, Krissy worked in the human services field for four years before returning to school for Special Ed. Krissy has worked in the Minneapolis and St. Paul schools, and also enjoys coaching softball! She likes to cook, camp, golf, play softball, and do crossword puzzles. Krissy also likes exploring Minneapolis with her dog, Amos.
Her goal as an educator is to help kids discover their strengths and celebrate their successes!
- Special Education Coordinator
Heather is a new advisor at Academic Arts this year and so excited to see student imaginations at work. Heather has been working with youth for about 7 years and is familiar with the great stuff they can come up with by utilizing project based learning as they take ownership of their education. She has worked at a project based school for the last two years as a paraprofessional and is thrilled to join the team at Academic Arts. She loves to talk about and help prepare for life after high school with students.
In her spare time, Heather volunteers as a foster parent for Great Danes in need of homes with the Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue and has rescued two Danes of her own, George and Jade. She’s in the process of working through therapy dog classes with Jade so that she can bring Jade to volunteer with her as they visit patients in hospitals and students in schools. She and her husband live in St. Paul and love to spend their summers camping, and their winters learning to make new recipes together. Heather loves to travel, swim, play softball, go on hikes and bike rides, read, garden, and pretend she can cook.
Heather’s looking forward to an incredible year full of rewards and challenges. In her opinion, the challenges only make those rewards so much sweeter and she usually learns something new about herself in the process.
- Math Instructor
Andrew Ng is starting his third year as the mathematics advisor at AAHS. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Secondary Education – Mathematics. Andy is excited about working with students and other staff members in the newly renovated space that the school will be in for the 2012 – 2013 school year.
Mathematics courses at Academic Arts High School are mainly Algebra One, Algebra Two, and High School Geometry, but Pre-Algebra and higher mathematics courses may be available depending on what students want and need in their post high school careers. Students will learn mathematics through in class lectures and activities expressed through technology and open communication.
As students earn their required credits, their coursework will reflect the high school standards for Minnesota and NCTM standards while helping to prepare them for standardized tests and real-life applications. Real life scenarios and situations will be incorporated creatively throughout lessons and projects.
- Science Instructor
Aaron is the science advisor at Academic Arts High School. He received his undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and his teaching license from Hamline University in Saint Paul. 2012-2013 will be Aaron’s fourth year as a science teacher. Prior to becoming a teacher, he worked in environmental consulting, and he is excited to add Environmental Science to the list of AAHS courses.
Aaron is also a top-notch vegetarian cook and might even help you learn how to make real sourdough bread if you ask nicely.
- Social Studies and Humanities Instructor
Peter Scholtes is excited to be teaching social studies and humanities at Academic Arts High School for a second year. An award-winning journalist for City Pages and SPIN, he earned his B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota and his Social Studies license through Bemidji State University. He worked in Minneapolis and Robbinsdale schools for four years as a paraprofessional and reserve teacher before joining the staff at Academic Arts, and has spent summers at work on a book about Twin Cities hip hop for the Minnesota Historical Society. In 2012, he read as a finalist in the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s short-story contest.
Pete and his wife, Jenny, stay busy with their nieces and nephew, walks in the park near their duplex in Golden Valley, and going to concerts.
Pete thrives on helping students succeed in a lively, active, creative classroom.
Check out Pete’s website for his Humanities Class!
- Language Arts Instructor
Kelley Thompson is starting her second year as the Language Arts instructor at AAHS. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato with a B.S. in Secondary English Education. Kelley is very excited for all the new and exciting things she has planned for the 2012-2013 school year. She hopes to not only teach students reading/writing skills but also to create an excitement for learning in a positive environment.
Beyond teaching, Kelley has a passion for health and fitness. She is a certified Yoga instructor and practices as much as possible outside of school. She participated in her first triathlon this summer and plans to continue running and biking throughout the school year.
She looks forward to encouraging students on their road to success!
Bethany is currently a paraprofessional at AAHS this fall. She worked as a Special Education Instructor last year, but after first semester she will be leaving for Rostrevor, Northern Ireland to study for 5 months. Bethany hopes to be back with the students at Academic Arts in April!
Bethany has experience and training in teaching Family and Consumer Sciences. This has been a fun advantage for the students she has had the opportunity to teach. Bethany has been guiding students through some Family and Consumer Science in small groups helping them to learn some of the skills of home living as well as simple crafts such as knitting, sewing and crochet. This spring she hopes to get some of the student’s work entered into the MN State Fair to help represent Academic Arts!
In her spare time, Bethany enjoys making new friends, going out to eat, visiting new places and enjoying the city she lives in. She recently competed in Urban Rush, racing around the Twin Cities area exploring the history and hot spots of the Cities; which introduced her to even more of the area that she was born and raised in.
- Music, Arabic, and Spanish Elective Instructor
Russell joined the AAHS faculty this year (2012-13) and is offering elective courses in Music, Arabic and Spanish. He has twenty years of teaching experience developing a comprehensive World Music Curriculum and has taught Music, Spanish, Arabic and Physical Education locally and abroad. He gained foreign language skills through seven years of travel and cultural research throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Asia and formal study at the University of Jordan. He has conducted over sixty multicultural residencies for the Minnesota State Arts Board engaging students in community performances of ethnic music. Russell is a Music Specialist and Arabic instructor for Concordia College Language Villages, director of the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Youth Choir, and frequently instructs at the MacPhail Center for Music Suzuki Camps. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Spanish Minor and Arabic proficiency from the University of Minnesota.
Russell established Crossing Borders: A World Music Ensemble to promote cross-cultural understandings through performance and to host international artists. He is a parent, a certified lifeguard and loves wilderness camping, canoeing and mountain hiking. A performance of Crossing Borders can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzBKeFgHKiQ