Middle School Humanities Teacher
Alissa has been a middles school humanities teacher at FSMN since 2017. She began working at FSMN in 2013-14, first as an FSM teaching assistant then as a first and second grade teacher. She is also FSMN’s conflict resolution coordinator.
Alissa has a B.A. in psychology and a M.A. in counseling from Marquette University. She completed the M.A.T program at Hamline University and has K-8 teaching license with a social studies concentration. Alissa’s experiences include teaching at Twin Cities Jewish Middle School and at Mount Zion Temple.
Alissa, her husband, Dan, and their two children live in Saint Paul. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family. Alissa is an avid runner and just completed her third marathon and enjoys exploring the Twin Cities by foot.
Hello from Conflict Resolution Coordinator Alissa
As FSM’s Conflict Resolution Coordinator (CRC), it’s my job to oversee and coordinate the conflict resolution program here at FSM, which draws from the Quaker commitment to nonviolence. The conflict resolution program actively teaches children alternatives to violence. Children are introduced to the process starting in kindergarten, and gain problem-solving skills through practicing the techniques of the program on a regular basis. I’m responsible for training teachers, staff, and parents in the program to reinforce the community commitment to solving conflicts peacefully.
For the 2016-17 school year there will be a monthly article in the newsletter with information and interesting details about the conflict resolution program. Our conflict resolution training for parents is on November 2, 2016 at 7pm. I hope to see new and returning families at this event.
If you have any questions about conflict resolution at FSM, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Becka has served as a teaching assistant at Friends School of Minnesota since September of 2017. She has a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College and an M.S. in Forest Ecology from the State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Becka has worked in schools since 2015, as an AmeriCorps member in rural North Carolina, an education assistant in Upstate New York, and a substitute teacher across the Twin Cities. She is working towards obtaining her licensure in middle school science at Hamline University.
Becka lives in Minneapolis with her dogs, Bear and Meatloaf. She enjoys biking, reading, gardening, searching for wildflowers and mushrooms, and backpacking long trails.
“I am grateful to have come across Friends School of Minnesota. I felt immediately at home and inspired by FSMN, its teachers, and students. Our teachers bring energy and inspiration to their classrooms, bringing academic subjects to life and making them relevant for students. Our students are a testament to the power of a progressive Quaker education and the FSMN community.”
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.”
Dawn has been the development director since 2019. Before taking on the role of development director, she was the lead administrative assistant in the front office beginning in 2017.
She graduated with a degree in landscape architecture from the University of California at Davis and subsequently earned gradate degrees from the University of Washington.
She most recently organized the Augsburg University Nobel Peace Prize Forum.
Originally from California, Dawn was a member of the Davis Friends Meeting. She’s also active in Protect Minnesota, an organization working to prevent gun violence and is a member of the legislative committee of NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness Minnesota).
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.”
K-8 Literacy Specialist
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 FSM 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.”
Jed has served as the Teaching Assistant for the Jungle and Prairie since 2018.
Prior to working at FSMN, Jed served as a paraprofessional on the Special Education team at Hiawatha Leadership Academy, Morris Park, and at Half Price Books in St. Paul. Jed has a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Gender Studies from Coe College.
Jed lives in Minneapolis with his partner, her dog (the adoption process has begun), their two housemates, and their housemates’ cat. He enjoys being active, especially running, biking, and calisthenics. Goals in life include (but are not limited to): learning to unicycle, understanding calculus, and claiming an identity as an artist.
“I’m most inspired by FSMN’s focus on autonomy. The way we grow aware and world-changing adults is by helping children recognize and develop their skills as creators and activators. I’m honored to be part of a process that empowers people of all ages to be advocates for themselves and others.”
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!”
John has been the Spanish teacher at FSMN since 2018.
John holds a B.A. in Spanish from Humboldt State University and recently finished his M.A. in Teaching from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Prior to working at FSMN, John worked as a K-12 Spanish Teacher at Mounds Park Academy for 4 years. He has also taught grades K-5 at Prairie Creek Community School and grades 6-12 at Arcadia Charter School in Northfield, Minnesota.
John lives with his partner, Andres, in Saint Paul. He enjoys hiking, mountain climbing, photography, landscaping, and cooking with friends and family. He is a proud uncle of his niece and 3 nephews.
“I love working at this school because it aligns so closely with my personality, spirit, and teaching philosophy. FSMN honors students by helping them to see themselves as citizens of an intentional and shared community. Students love being here because they know they are respected and encouraged by adults and peers. I love working with students and families that are so welcoming and supportive!”
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.”
Lunch Room Manager
Kathleen has worked at FSMN since 1991. She has a B.A. in elementary education and urban studies from Concordia College.
Kathleen is the parent of an FSMN alumna. She loves music, gardening and is active in her church’s education program.
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.”
Linda has been the business manager at Friends School of Minnesota since September 2017.
She has a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Oberlin College and a Professional Certificate in Publication Design from Georgetown University. After college, she did a three-year stint as a community development worker in Bolivia.
Linda has been an entrepreneur most of her adult life, first as a graphic designer and later as a personal historian. She also served as the Executive Director of the Association of Personal Historians for six years.
Linda is a tenth-generation Quaker who first attended the Minneapolis Friends Meeting when she was just nine days old. She has been a member there ever since. Linda has been working on a history of the Quakers in Minnesota for several years and has struggled to find the time to finish it (maybe after retirement?). Linda also participates in a volunteer committee working on publishing a history of the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. She loves volleyball, genealogy research, reading and travel.