Meet Our Staff

Our people make our mission possible.

We have spent over thirty years creating a healthy, vibrant culture among our faculty and staff. A strong group of talented adults provides the supportive academic and emotional environment for our students to thrive.

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Joe Mueller

Head of School

Joe Mueller has been with FSMN 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 three years. He was a junior high assistant principal for two years.…Find Contact Info

Joe Mueller has been with FSMN 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 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.”

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Karen Salter

Advancement Associate

Karen has been an advancement associate at FSMN since 2022. Prior to her current role, Karen was the FSMN Music Specialist beginning in 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.…

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Karen has been an advancement associate at FSMN since 2022. Prior to her current role, Karen was the FSMN Music Specialist beginning in 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.”

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Kim Omdalen

Teaching Assistant

Kim has been a teaching assistant in the Kindergarten classroom since 2021. More bio information to come.Find Contact Info

Kim has been a teaching assistant in the Kindergarten classroom since 2021. More bio information to come.

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Laura Pereira

Art Specialist – On Leave

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.…Find Contact Info

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.”

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Linda Mockler

Physical Education Specialist

Linda has taught at FSMN since 1995. She has a B.S. in Health Fitness from Springfield College.Find Contact Info

Linda has taught at FSMN since 1995. She has a B.S. in Health Fitness from Springfield College.

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Lucy Michelle

Long-Term Art Specialist Substitute

Under construction - bio information coming soon!

Find Contact Info

Under construction – bio information coming soon!

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Marshall Anderson

Kindergarten Teacher

Marshall has taught Kindergarten at Friends School of Minnesota since 1998. He has a B.A. in Native American Studies from Bethel College and an elementary education degree from Augsburg College. Marshall is also an FSMN alumni parent. He loves running, coaching, writing, and being outdoors. “I love teaching at Friends School of Minnesota because it is a place that honors children in all aspects of their development.…Find Contact Info

Marshall has taught Kindergarten at Friends School of Minnesota since 1998. He has a B.A. in Native American Studies from Bethel College and an elementary education degree from Augsburg College.

Marshall is also an FSMN alumni parent. He loves running, coaching, writing, and being outdoors.

“I love teaching at Friends School of Minnesota because it is a place that honors children in all aspects of their development. There is a strong sense of community. Children are known and encouraged every step of the way. It is a place of great creativity and of joy.”

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Mike Benson

Middle School Humanities Teacher

Prior to coming to Minnesota, Mike taught at The Wilkinson School, a small progressive, independent school in the San Francisco Bay Area. He taught there for 12 years. After choosing to be home with his pre-school children for a year, Mike joined Friends School of Minnesota in 2019. He is excited to work in a school that shares his values and can build upon his teaching experience and fun, creative approach.Find Contact Info

Prior to coming to Minnesota, Mike taught at The Wilkinson School, a small progressive, independent school in the San Francisco Bay Area. He taught there for 12 years.

After choosing to be home with his pre-school children for a year, Mike joined Friends School of Minnesota in 2019. He is excited to work in a school that shares his values and can build upon his teaching experience and fun, creative approach.

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Paula Overby

Technology Director

Paula has been with FSMN since 2019. In addition to over 30 years experience in technology, Paula brings a lifetime of social justice work and activism to the Friends School. Paula is the author of "The Transgender Myth", a mental health counselor, domestic violence advocate, and US Senate candidate.Find Contact Info

Paula has been with FSMN since 2019.

In addition to over 30 years experience in technology, Paula brings a lifetime of social justice work and activism to the Friends School.

Paula is the author of “The Transgender Myth”, a mental health counselor, domestic violence advocate, and US Senate candidate.

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Sara Wayne

Assistant Head of School

Sara has served as the Assistant Head of School since July of 2018. She joined the FSMN community as the Spanish specialist in 2012. She also served as FSMN’s librarian for two years and a middle school advisor for three years. Sara earned a B.A. in Spanish from Trinity College, Connecticut with a minor in Latin American Studies.…Find Contact Info

Sara has served as the Assistant Head of School since July of 2018. She joined the FSMN community as the Spanish specialist in 2012. She also served as FSMN’s librarian for two years and a middle school advisor for three years.

Sara earned a B.A. in Spanish from Trinity College, Connecticut with a minor in Latin American Studies. She earned an M.A. in Hispanic literature from Indiana University. She attended Middlebury College’s Spanish Language Summer Institute. She has taught Spanish for over twenty years to all levels from pre-school to grade 12, including eight years at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago, IL. She is deeply rooted in the practices and philosophy of progressive education.

Sara lives in Edina with her two children. She enjoys musical theater, golf, cycling, travel, international studies, spiritual studies and embracing nature in every way possible. Sara has sung soprano in various productions and choirs throughout her life.

“Friends School of Minnesota is a unique place where a child’s creativity, curiosity and growth all have a place to sing out, be heard and seen every day. It is a place where a teacher’s passion and innovation breathe deeply into the work done in the classroom and in the outdoor experiential learning settings that FSMN creates with such commitment and intentionality. I am proud to be a part of a Quaker, progressive learning community where children are held at the center in all that we do.”

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Sara Rukavina

Teaching Assistant

Under construction - bio information coming soon!Find Contact Info

Under construction – bio information coming soon!

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Shana Copeland

First and Second Grade Teacher

Shana has been the Prairie classroom teacher since 2020. Shana has 14 years of teaching experience. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.

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Shana has been the Prairie classroom teacher since 2020. Shana has 14 years of teaching experience. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.

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Shane Zack

Enrollment Director

Shane has worked at FSMN since 2004. Shane has held many positions throughout his tenure at Friends School of Minnesota, both inside and outside the classroom. He is very familiar with the school community and the academic program from kindergarten all the way through 8th grade. He has a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from Hamline University and an M.A.…Find Contact Info

Shane has worked at FSMN since 2004. Shane has held many positions throughout his tenure at Friends School of Minnesota, both inside and outside the classroom. He is very familiar with the school community and the academic program from kindergarten all the way through 8th grade.

He has a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from Hamline University and an M.A. in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Minnesota.

Shane is also a bluegrass musician and plays locally in King Wilkie’s Dream.

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Steve Moe

Community Connections Coordinator

Steve has been the staff coordinator of the Plant Sale, in charge of select facilities functions, community outreach and transportation since 2018. He began teaching middle school science in 1998. He has a B.A. in science from Earlham College and an M.S. in botany from Iowa State University. Previously, Steve worked as a field biologist and an environmental consultant in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, Alaska, and Canada.…Find Contact Info

Steve has been the staff coordinator of the Plant Sale, in charge of select facilities functions, community outreach and transportation since 2018. He began teaching middle school science in 1998. He has a B.A. in science from Earlham College and an M.S. in botany from Iowa State University.

Previously, Steve worked as a field biologist and an environmental consultant in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, Alaska, and Canada. He has also worked as both an ornithologist and a botanist and loves sharing those interests with students. Who else could get groups of middle schoolers up at 6 a.m. to go birdwatching?

Steve believes hands-on education is best and he is passionate about environmental education. He loves getting middle school students outdoors as much as he can.

“I love working at FSMN because progressive education supports learning in the real world. We get the kids out on lots of field trips so they can experience science first-hand.”

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Taunia Gorka

Director of Finance and Operations

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Travis Bell

Front Office Manager

Travis has been at FSMN since 2017. He came to FSMN from Galtier elementary school where he held a library position. Originally from Florida, he moved to Minnesota with his husband, Alex. He has an AA in computer animation from Miami Dade College and a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Studies with a Minor in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University.…Find Contact Info

Travis has been at FSMN since 2017.

He came to FSMN from Galtier elementary school where he held a library position.

Originally from Florida, he moved to Minnesota with his husband, Alex. He has an AA in computer animation from Miami Dade College and a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Studies with a Minor in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts.

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