Kindergarten Teacher – 2020-2021
Amber started as Substitute Teacher at Friends School in 2017 and has been the Teaching Assistant in the third and fourth grade classrooms for the past year and a half. She graduated from Hamline University with B.A.’s in Elementary Education and Art. She also has a K-6 teaching license.
In addition to subbing at FSMN, Amber has substitute taught in the St. Paul Public School district and taught art part-time for a year at a charter school in West St. Paul.
In addition to visual art, Amber finds many creative forms of expression through dance, singing, and many fiber art crafts. Growing up on the shore of Lake Superior near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area fostered her appreciation for the natural world.
“I was drawn to the Friends School of Minnesota because of our philosophy of teaching the whole child and our strong arts program. I am excited to be teaching in the Mississippi classroom this fall and to explore learning and make discoveries with these young learners!”
Third and Fourth Grade Teacher
Andrew has been a Friends School of Minnesota third and fourth grade teacher since 2012. He graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Sociology and a certificate in Elementary Education.
Andrew spent seventeen years teaching at Abington Friends School in suburban Philadelphia.
He is the parent of two young boys and an avid ultimate Frisbee player.
“When I moved from Philadelphia I was worried that I would not be able to teach at another school where I could attend to the voices and needs of the students and be led by intellectual interests instead of focusing on standardized testing and inflexible curricula. I knew about Friends School of Minnesota through a variety of Friends school interactions and attended a conflict resolution training here in 2001 and I’m so glad to be a part of this amazing faculty.”
Andrew Myers has been teaching percussion/drum set at Friends School of Minnesota since 2011. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Percussion Performance and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music Business from Augsburg College.
Andrew has performed with the Guthrie Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, members of the Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, Minnesota Percussion Trio, VocalEssence, Minnesota Concert Opera, Zeitgeist, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Tony Allen, numerous churches, and a variety of jazz/rock/afro-beat/folk groups.
He loves teaching music to students and classes of all ages and musical backgrounds. In addition to FSMN, he also teaches at FAIR School Downtown, St. Joseph School of Music, and MacPhail Center for Music.
Asako has been the piano instructor at FSMN since 2018. She holds a Doctoral degree from the Juilliard School and has been teaching for 30 years.
She has a wealth of experience as a piano teacher, harpsichordist and composer. She has been active as a featured guest soloist in international festivals and concert series worldwide since her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall.
She was born and raised in Japan. She is a single mother of two, Marika and Shotah.
First and Second Grade Teacher
Caroline has been a first and second teacher at FSMN since 2017. She graduated from Macalester College with a major in music and a minor in Japan Studies before earning her master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota.
She previously taught first grade for nine years at the Walden Center and School in Berkeley, CA, a nationally-recognized progressive school. She’s also been trained in diversity, conflict resolution, teaching social justice, and in programs to better serve students with ADHD and other learning differences.
She and her wife, Yvette Soignier, have two sons, Eliot–a FSMN student–and Arlo. They enjoy camping, making music, and reading together.
“I am thrilled to be a part of a school community that fits my teaching style and educational philosophy so well. My passion for child-centered, progressive education and my belief in the Quaker values of peace, simplicity, and social justice guide my teaching in the Jungle classroom.”
Middle School Humanities Teacher
Chris has a Ph.D. in Special Education, with a minor in Educational Administration, and over 40 years experience in the field.
Her work has included teaching, counseling, research, and administration. Chris served several years as Head of School and Director of Teacher Training at the Frostig Center School, a teaching and research school for children in grades 1-12 who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia, ADHD, and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Teaching Assistant In Grades 3/4
Christian (He/Him/His) is our Teaching Assistant in the Humanities department. Christian became a transplant to the Twin Cities from New Jersey in 2015, where he attended Macalester College until 2019 obtaining his Bachelors of Arts in English, Creative Writing with a minor in American Studies in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has been able to work under notable Twin Cities authors such as Marlon James and Peter Bognanni.…Find Contact Info
Christian (He/Him/His) is our Teaching Assistant in the Humanities department. Christian became a transplant to the Twin Cities from New Jersey in 2015, where he attended Macalester College until 2019 obtaining his Bachelors of Arts in English, Creative Writing with a minor in American Studies in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has been able to work under notable Twin Cities authors such as Marlon James and Peter Bognanni.
Christian has prior experience with Explo at Wellesley College working with children from fifth to eighth grade. At Explo he worked as a Fantasy Writing instructor, teaching world-building and character development through games, crafts, and community building. Additionally, he worked as a Day Advisor of Explo’s morning program creating activities and having check-ins with his day group. This is where he learned that he wanted to pursue a career or program working with children.
Outside of academics, Christian is experienced in African-based Movement dance, learning under the Twin Cities instructor Patricia Brown. From her, he learned techniques from West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
“I am delighted to work at FSMN because of its goal for teaching through a social justice lens. Our experiences are not monolithic; We have different worldviews, backgrounds, and beliefs. A space that fosters diverse perspectives, fosters community building which is beneficial for the next generation as they find their places in the world.”
Dawn joined Friends School in 2017, after moving to Minnesota from Davis, California. She has a B.S. in landscape architecture from U.C. Davis and a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from U.W. Seattle. She has worked as a college instructor, mediator, and an urban planner, including a decade managing planning and urban design projects in the U.S.…Find Contact Info
Dawn joined Friends School in 2017, after moving to Minnesota from Davis, California. She has a B.S. in landscape architecture from U.C. Davis and a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from U.W. Seattle. She has worked as a college instructor, mediator, and an urban planner, including a decade managing planning and urban design projects in the U.S. and Asia. She is particularly interested in the creation of public places that are healthy, safe, and accessible for all users.
She was drawn to Quaker practices and values after attending a Quaker meeting as a teen, and joined the Society of Friends as a member of the Reno, and later, Davis meetings. She helped design and create contemplative gardens for both meetings.
She has two adult children: Maya, who was born in Chengdu, China, and is a pre-med student, and Reuben, an aspiring paleontologist. She enjoys cycling, cooking, and gardening. She is also an avid participant in gun violence prevention organizations and on the legislative committee for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness).
“FSMN students are encouraged to develop a personal relationship with the outdoors from a very young age. I love seeing them learn about their local environment by, for example, raising and releasing trout and identifying local trees. I also enjoy seeing how they interpret and share their outdoor experiences through art.”
Middle School Math Teacher
Egohsa has been an FSMN Middle School Math Teacher since 2018. She joined the FSMN staff in 2017 as a teaching assistant supporting students in mathematics.
She is a graduate of St. Paul Academy and Carleton College.
Prior to working at FSMN, Egosha has served as a long-term substitute in middle school mathematics at St. Paul Academy. From 2013-2016, she taught 8th grade math and was an academic coach, also at SPA. While there, she also served on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Additionally, she’s worked as a tutor with Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, where she provided one-on-one support to students with wide-ranging academic ability, focusing primarily on students with learning differences, including ADD/ADHD and dyslexia.
Egohsa is currently working on her master’s in teaching at Hamline Univesrity. She’s also a high school volleyball coach.
Eileen has served as the FSMN Communications Director since November of 2016. She has a B.A. in Communications from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Prior to moving to Saint Paul, she worked in internal corporate communication for Gap Inc. for 10 years. She is currently on the communications committee of the Reggio-Inspired Network of Minnesota. She is an active member of Unity church and is currently involved in a long-term project exploring documenting the spiritual learning of children.
Eileen lives in Saint Paul with her husband, Scot and sons Kieran and Finn. She enjoys spending time outside, reading, art, writing, contemplating, laughing and spending time with her family.
“I am beyond thrilled to be working at Friends School of Minnesota. To work in a place that so closely aligns with principles that I hold dear – community, peace, justice, the image of the child as an active participant in their learning – is a privilege and a joy.”
Esly has been the Spanish teacher at FSMN since 2020. She holds an Elementary Teacher certificate from Instituto Carlos Dubon. Retalhuleu-Guatemala
Prior to working at FSMN, Esly worked at Southside Family Charter School in Minneapolis for 19 years, teaching Spanish and Latin American culture. Before coming to the USA in 1998 she worked at La Escuela de la Montaña in San Martín Sacatepéquez, Quetzaltenango-Guatemala teaching Spanish to foreign students and learning about the lives of a Mayan Mam community, this experience gave her the chance to see life from two different perspectives.
She lives in Minneapolis with her husband Brian, her daughters, niece, uncle and 2 dogs. She loves to spend time with her family, teach, garden, cook, spend time outside, and help in any way she is able to help.
“I was born and raised in Guatemala by a very loving family in a small city. During my childhood I wasn’t aware of the deep rooted inequalities in my own country. I understand my parents were trying to protect me. I am excited to be a part of an organization that teaches not only the required classes, but also the reality of the world. I have had the privilege to teach so many students, and also to learn so much from each of them. I am ready to teach, learn and grow in this community.”
Helen Gallagher has over 21 years of experience in the education field in a variety of settings, both public and private, from early childhood through high school. She has two B.A.s, Education and Psychology, from the University of St. Thomas and an M.A. in Education from St. Mary’s University. Last year, she completed her K-12 Reading Teacher Licensure through St. Mary’s University.
She is thrilled to be a part of this remarkable community, a community that holds the same values she has, of living a life of simplicity, integrity, and being a good steward of the earth as well as meeting the intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of each individual student in a holistic manner. In her free time, Helen enjoys hanging out with her two kids and husband doing outdoor activities as well as cooking, reading, exercising, and gardening.
Extended Day and Activities Director
Hillary is no stranger to FSMN or to the extended day program, having already served in the position in the past. A self-proclaimed natural organizer, she’s also served in a variety of administrative positions, particularly at Nova Classical Academy. She studied political science at Carleton College.
During the past few years, she also substituted in the front office at FSM. She’s more than familiar with FSM, especially since she is the mother of an alumnae. We welcome her calm attention to detail, and her care for our students and their families.
She will also manage our after school activities, with the exception of the after school music program. The after school program will be managed by Shahzore Shah, a FSM staff member who has been deeply involved in the program for the past couple of years.
“I am delighted to be assuming the extended day director position. It’s been my privilege to be associated with Friends School of Minnesota since 2005, and I look forward to bringing my school administration experience to the extended day program.”
Teaching Assistant in Kindergarten
Jill has worked at FSMN since 2014. She studied education and child development as part of her Liberal Arts/English undergraduate degree at Illinois State University and received a Masters in Creative Writing from Hamline University.
“I grew up staring into the night sky in Illinois. I would position my bed in such a way that I could always see the moon while falling asleep and I decided it was a shame people had to sleep during my favorite time of day. I painted clouds on my ceiling and grass, ladybugs, and trees on my walls. I entered the Young Authors competition in 1st grade and, when I didn’t win a Nobel Prize as a result, I chalked it up to having been a clerical error. I always knew I wanted to work in education and imagined that I would end up with either my Littles, or with grown-ups. It was the in-between years that rather mystified me and it wasn’t until I walked into Friends School that I really believed elementary school could be so beautiful.
I studied education and child development as part of my Liberal Arts/English undergraduate degree at Illinois State University and my first real job out of college was working at a Montessori preschool in Minneapolis. (The gig as a Serving Wench at the local Medieval Times does NOT count, I’ve decided.) I continued working with preschoolers until graduating from Hamline University with my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, imagining I might like to write children’s books. I completed my thesis about how I chose the name Grael for my son, who is currently a 3rd grader at FSM.
I started working at Friends by basically filling in wherever I could and simply ‘hanging on with both hands’ (thank you for this entirely accurate phrasing, David.) I also worked as sub with St. Paul Public Schools and loved getting the chance to explore a wide variety of schools in the area. Friends School was always my absolute homerun, however.
I am thrilled to be able to be in the Jungle and Prairie this year and work with such amazing and brilliant students. I can’t help but smile the moment I walk through the door first thing in the morning and that is even BEFORE I’ve consumed the entire carafe of coffee that I pretty much constantly have tucked in my armpit. Thank you for allowing me to be here!”
Head of School
Joe Mueller has served as the FSMN Head of School on an interim basis since July 2020. He has a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota and is currently working towards an educational doctorate from Hamline University.
Joe served as the principal for Linwood Elementary in the Forest Lake School District for the past three years. He was a junior high assistant principal for two years. Prior to his administrative roles, he worked in curriculum development from 2013-2015, taught Communications Arts and Literature at Forest Lake Senior High in Forest Lake, MN from 2006 to 2013 and at Kingsland High School in Spring Valley, MN from 2002 to 2006.
Joe lives in Saint Paul with his wife Kate, and son Fin. He loves the outdoors and is a member of Unity Unitarian, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in St. Paul.
“My faith in the vision and mission of this school, its community, and the principles of progressive education runs deep. We have entrusted Friends School of Minnesota with the education of our only child. FSMN’s commitment to respect, peace, community, equality, life-long learning, and spiritual awareness will ensure not only his academic, but also his human development. I have doubled my faith in FSMN by making the protection of the school’s vision and mission my vocation.”
Third and Fourth Grade Teacher
Kak has worked at FSMN since 1997. She has a B.A. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Minnesota.
Early in her career, Kak worked as an Occupational Therapist with developmentally and behaviorally challenged children at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the University of Minnesota Psychiatric Inpatient Unit. She specialized in working with children diagnosed with Autism and Asperger syndrome, siezure disorders, depression, and Attention Deficit disorders. After 12 years, she left to start a day care in her own home. Not only was she able to care for her own son, she provided daycare for many FSMN families. The choice to send her son to FSMN for his education is what brought her to our school.
“I can’t imagine what I would be doing if we hadn’t chosen FSMN. My son received a wonderful education from loving and brilliant teachers and I found a place to work that exemplifies all the values that I hold dear: working for peace, honoring that of God in every person, and developing a trusted community in which to learn and grow. ”
Kak has held many positions at FSMN from front office worker, lunchroom staff, and as an aide within every classroom. She has shared classroom responsibilities with other FSMN teachers in the Prairie and the Bayou and became the fulltime Bayou teacher in 2007.
Outside of teaching, Kak has also served on the FSMN School Committee and was on the Committee of Trustees for 12 years. She enjoys all crafts, visiting art museums, and spending time with her family.
“I make it a priority to provide a rich classroom environment that is welcoming and predictable for the students. I work to provide the tools and opportunities for each child to do his/her best in all areas: academic, creative, interpersonal. I love when students question and begin to realize that there may be more than one solution, more than one way to analyze the material I present to them. I experience such joy working with third and fourth graders: listening to the students’ ideas and interpretations, listening to them laugh and play, and watching new learning take hold and grow.”
Music Specialist & Group Guitar Instructor
Karen has been the FSMN Music Specialist since 2015. She graduated from Luther College in Iowa with a K-12 music education certification. She has had 12 years of music education experience, including teaching at St. Andrews Academy (Mahtomedi, MN), and most recently at Emmet D. Williams Elementary (Roseville, MN).
Karen believes that every child benefits from a quality music education. She incorporates singing, instrument playing, dancing, composing, music theory, and history into her lessons to ensure each student is able to connect with the content taught in class. Karen is thrilled to be a part of a community that values the arts and is excited to work with the creative students at FSM.
In addition to being a seasoned teacher, Karen performs alongside local singer/songwriter Adam Svec and other local bands. She also loves to practice yoga, bake, and spend time with her husband and son, who is also a current student at FSMN.
“I continue to be inspired by the creativity of the students and other teachers at FSMN. I love to collaborate with other subject areas and find connections to make the music learning more meaningful and relevant for the students. FSMN is a community where the arts are supported and celebrated.”
Middle School Science Teacher
Kris has been teaching middle school math and science at Friends School since 2011. This included one year as the Environmental Education Coordinator. She has a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a M.Sci Ed in Science Education from the University of Maine. Over the years at Friends School, she has developed strong partnerships with the city, state, and national parks, including the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Ft Snelling State Park, and Mississippi Park Connection
Prior to Friends School, Kris taught five years in the US Virgin Islands where she started an extensive marine biology program. This included citizen science research on tropical fish for the REEF Organization, conch research for NOAA, and many projects with the Virgin Islands National Park. She also received a grant to develop a study abroad/tropical horticulture program for students at Iowa State University to grow food with students in the Virgin Islands. Early in her career, Kris taught for nine years on Mt Desert Island, Maine, where she was also a sea kayak guide in Acadia National Park, and ran environmental education camps during the summer.
Kris is the mom of a very active middle school child and loves to bike, ski and paddle around the lakes and trails of Minneapolis. Kris is a strong believer in experiential, place-based education and is grateful to have found a school in her native state of Minnesota that embraces both.
Laura has been the art specialist at FSMN since 2008. Before taking on the art specialist position full time, Laura also spent three years as a part-time teaching assistant in kindergarten.
She has a B.A. in Art History from Lawrence University, and an M.Ed. in Art Education from the University of Minnesota. Laura is a licensed Minnesota K-12 art teacher.
Prior to working at FSMN, Laura taught in a variety of educational settings with students ranging in age from pre-school to adults, in urban, rural, and suburban schools. She has also worked as the Curriculum Specialist at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and as a contract artist for several local arts organizations.
In addition to teaching art, Laura is also a practicing artist, specializing in mixed media painting, collage, and materials re-use. She also enjoys walking in the woods, gardening, and travelling with her husband and two children, both of whom are Friends School of Minnesota alumni.
“One thing, among many, that I love about FSMN is the creativity of all the staff. I feel lucky to have found a home where people work together and have a true sense of integrity. I delight in sharing my own artistic process with these amazing children and hope that they will find as much joy in making art as I have.”