Faculty Staff

We are pleased to present the faculty and staff of Nova Classical Academy. We are fortunate to have secured such an outstanding group of professional educators, each master of his/her craft and everyone dedicated to bringing the best classical education to students.

Mr. Jon Gutierrez - Executive Director

Mr. Jon Gutierrez

Executive Director

Email: jgutierrez@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320, ext. 403

Jon Gutierrez is one of the founders and Executive Director of St. Croix Preparatory Academy, a K-12 charter school located in Stillwater, MN. Jon has been the Executive Director of St. Croix Prep since its inception in 2004. The school’s history mirrors that of Nova as enrollment has grown from a K-7 school of 200 students to a K-12 institution with nearly 1,200 students; the school has its own building and campus on 59 acres of land, and the curriculum is built on a classical tradition. Jon has had ongoing conversations with the Executive Directors throughout Nova’s history and is very familiar with our founders’ mission. Prior to the education world, Jon spent nearly 20 years in business with Touche Ross, Lawson Software, and PeopleSoft. Jon graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a B.A. in Accounting. He also has an M.Div from Trinity International University.

Ms. Mari Bergerson—Upper School Principal

Ms. Mari Bergerson

Position: Upper School Principal

Joined Nova: 2014
Email: mbergerson@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320, ext. 208

Educational History

MA Adapted Physical Education
BS Physical Education

MN Licenses

K–12 Principal
K–12 Physical Education
Pre-K–12 Adapted Physical Education
6-12 Coaching

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I appreciate the rigor reflected in the content-based curriculum at Nova, and how the Classical pedagogy manifests itself in our Upper School classrooms. “Non-Scholae sed vitae discimus” We are training our bright scholars not for school, but for life. It is a privilege to work with this community of learners dedicated to shaping our future generation.
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Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy traveling, sewing, hiking and spending time with family and friends…

Favorite Book

The Agony and the Ecstasy, a biographical novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone. This is a beautiful work that walks you through Michelangelo’s life as well as providing a glimpse into what I believe to be the most exciting period in history – the Renaissance.

Favorite Work of Art

David by Michelangelo

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Work Hard, Be Kind, and Have Fun!

Ms. Kriscel Estrella - Human Resources Director

Ms. Kriscel Estrella

Human Resources Manager

Educational History:
BA Liberal Arts, French and Spanish – University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Français pour non-Francophones – Université Laval
Email: kestrella@novaclassical.org
Voice:  651.209.6320 ext. 304

Why I Choose to Work at Nova:

As a lifelong lover of learning, I appreciate and support all that the classical model of education offers to students. The opportunity to provide support and resources to staff who provide and embrace this model is truly an honor.

Hobbies/Interests:

Music, art, reading, cooking, and dogs.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure:

It is quite difficult to select only one: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Eliot, Lao Tzu, Henry David Thoreau, Maya Angelou, Miguel de Cervantes, C.S. Lewis, Søren Kierkegaard

Favorite Books:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote:

You become the sum of your inputs or, as Jim Rohn put it, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.”

Ms. Melissa Guertin-Enrollment & Communications Manager

Ms. Melissa Guertin

Position: Enrollment & Communications Manager

Joined Nova 2015

Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 144

Email: mguertin@novaclassical.org

Educational History

B.S. Communications, Bradley University, Peoria, IL

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

As a parent of 3 children, I was inspired by the curriculum and its’ impact. Soon after, I began to meet all the lovely people who make Nova so outstanding. I feel very lucky!

Hobbies/Interests

Just throw me outside to work or play. I’m happy! I also enjoy a good book, live music, my kids, camping, art projects, and going to bed early. 

Favorite Books

The Time Traveler’s Wife, All the Light Which We Cannot See, The Giving Tree, The Poisonwood Bible, any and all books covering art and design

Favorite Work of Art

Maxfield Parrish-I cannot choose just one. Andrew Wyeth-Christina’s World, a bit obsessed with mobiles

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.” Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit in the wind.”-Jim Croce

Mr. John Larson—Director of Student Services

Mr. John Larson

Director of Student Services

Joined Nova: 2014
Email: jlarson@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 Ext: 206

Educational History
Master’s Degree in Teaching/Learning, Saint Mary’s University
Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Director of Special Education Licensure, Saint Mary’s University

Why I choose to work at Nova

I chose to work at Nova because it is a place that values learning and growth. Students are learning about how to learn and that is a skill that I feel they can take with them and apply to anything they do. Nova is committed to learning and creating an environment that promotes life-long learning which is something that I am a firm believer in.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy spending time with my wife, two kids. and our Saint Bernard “Sabre.”  In my free time, I love reading, weight lifting, running,  and spending time with my family outdoors. I also am a die-hard Buffalo Sabres hockey fan.

Favorite Historical Figure

I am very interested in Abraham Lincoln and reading about his life and leadership style.

Favorite Books

Make It Stick, By Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel
Third Circle Theory by Secret Entourage

Ms. Brooke Tousignant—Lower School Principal

Position: Lower School Principal

Joined Nova: 2015

Email: btousignant@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320 ext:401

Educational History

M.Ed., Elementary Education, University of Minnesota

B.S., Foundations of Education, University of Minnesota

MN Licenses held:

K-12 Principal

K-6 Elementary Education

Grades 5-8 Language Arts/Communication

Email: btousignant@novaclassical.org
Voice: 651.209.6320, extension 401

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I appreciate the way that virtue education is embedded into the curriculum to help develop good citizens as well as bright scholars. I am excited to be part of such a great community of staff, parents, and students!

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy running, biking, playing bingo, spending time with family and friends, and seeing live music.

Favorite Books

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak because it illustrates the wonder of a child’s imagination.

Favorite Work of Art

The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Mr. Christian Rovn—Athletic & Extracurricular Director

Position: Physical Education and Health Teacher
Joined Nova: 2003

Email: crovn@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 141
Teacher website: HERE

Educational History

B.A., Physical Education, Luther College
M.Ed., Athletic Administration, University of St. Thomas
MN Professional Licensure, Concordia University

Why I choose to work at Nova

I chose to come to Nova because I believe in educating the whole person. I found that movement, personal fitness, game skills, and sportsmanship can encourage students to be better people and give them confidence in other areas of learning. I was extremely excited to also have a critical role in building a school from the start. I am very pleased with how our school is growing and developing the Trivium and thrilled to see how I can be helpful for future development.

Hobbies/Interests

My hobbies are mostly golf, tennis, and wakeboarding, but I also love to work with my hands on projects involving wood and carpentry. Building things from scratch give me a sense of fulfillment when finished. I am also a very novice gardener; I rely on my father to help me with that mostly.

Family

I have a wonderful wife, Jennifer, a daughter Madeline, and a son, Davis, who started in first grade at Nova this year.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Pierre de Coubertin: Founder of the Modern Olympics. I enjoy making correlations of the Modern Olympics and the Ancient Olympics in discussions during Physical Education classes. I have always been extremely inspired watching the Modern Olympics since I was a little boy. I remember watching the 1980 Olympic Hockey team win the gold medal and thinking how great it would be to be part of something like that. It has been nice to bring a passion of mine to teaching students how the role of competition and the Olympic spirit can change your life.

Ms. Angela Whited—Technology, Assessment & Transportation Manager

Position: Technology, Assessment & Transportation Manager
Joined Nova: 2011

Email: awhited@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320  ext: 209

Educational History:
B.S. Family Social Science
B.A. Spanish Language and Culture

Ms. Mary Corrigan—In-House Substitute

Ms. Mel Hernández—Lower School Office Manager

Ms. Barb Heitzig—Upper School Office Manager

missing-Student ID-3

Position: Upper School Secretary

Joined Nova: 2016

Email: bheitzig@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320, ext: 233

Educational History

B.A. German & Political Science, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN

Technical Certifications

Certified Casper Administrator (CCA)

Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I like the idea of a rigorous and virtue-based education in a public school environment.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy knitting socks, canning vegetables, and being outdoors.

Favorite Books

The Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series by Betty McDonald

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle which inspired me to name my cat Tesseract

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“You can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed.”  Misty Copeland

Ms. Kim Hyvarinen—Food Service Director

Hyvarinen

Position:

Food Service Director

Joined Nova: 2009
Email: khyvarinen@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320, ext: 236

Educational History
B.A. University of Minnesota

Why I choose to work at Nova

Ever since I read A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology as a kid, I have loved the classics. Choosing Nova to educate my son and as a place to work was easy, I believe in Nova’s mission.

Hobbies/Interests

Reading, biking, playing guitar, knitting, hiking, and birding.

Family

My husband John is a jazz guitarist and pianist. Our son is a student at Nova.

Favorite

Author/Thinker/Historical

Figure

Thomas Jefferson

Ms. Kayla Johnson—Lower School Office Support

Position: Lower School General Office Support

Email: kjohnson@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6300 ext: 400

Educational History 

Studied Business at St. Cloud State University

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I really appreciate Nova’s virtues and the standards they hold for their scholars. Not to mention the kind and welcoming staff.

Hobbies/Interests

I’m a movie fanatic. I also enjoy listening to music, traveling, and trying new restaurants.

Favorite Books

I really enjoy the Hush Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick. I think the story plot is fascinating.

Favorite Work of Art

Rain Princess by Leoniad Afremov

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem. – Captain Jack Sparrow

Ms. Meghan Kelly-Business Office Specialist

Kelly

 

Position: Business Office Specialist

Email: mkelly@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 223

Ms. Lori Reinhardt-Scholar Zone Coordinator

Reinhardt, L

 

Position: Scholar Zone Coordinator

Email: lreinhardt@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 400

Ms. Leah Rogers-HR Generalist, Administrative Assistant

Rogers

 

Position: HR Generalist, Administrative Assistant

Email: lrogers@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 141

Ms. Roxy Tuma—Student Services Assistant

 Position: Student Services Admin Assistant

Email: rtuma@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 201

Educational History 

The University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN – Major in Speech Communication, Sociology

Mr. Michael Pelofske—Dean of Students, Science Teacher

Mr. David Shuman-School Counselor

Position Licensed School Counselor

Email:  dshuman@novaclassical.org

Educational History B.A. in English Literature and Secondary English Education from the University of Iowa; M.A. in Counseling and School Personnel Psychology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Why I Choose to Work at Nova I am excited to begin working at Nova Classical Academy because I feel it offers students an opportunity to learn for life.

Hobbies/Interests I enjoy cooking, reading, running, fishing, supporting the Liverpool Reds, and spending as much time with my family as possible!

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure My favorite author and thinker is David Foster Wallace. I feel Dick Proenneke deserves mention as a figure of significant virtue.

Favorite Books My favorite book is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Favorite Work of Art This is always changing…

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote This is a tie between “Be safe, be smart, and be kind” and “I wish you way more than luck.” – Unknown

Ms. Margaret Speikers—Health Office Assistant

Speikers

 

Position: Health Office Assistant

Email: mspeikers@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 404

Ms. Heather Albrecht-First Grade

Ms. Clare Byakweli-Fourth Grade

Byakweli

Position

Fourth Grade Teacher

Joined Nova: 2016

Educational History

B.S., Elementary Education, University of Northwestern-Saint Paul
Elementary Education: K-6 License, State of MN

Email: clarebyakweli@novaclassical.org

Voice: 651.209.6320, extension 104

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I chose to work at Nova because I love kids. I love how excited they are to learn, and I love their zest for life that they share every day in the classroom. I chose to work at Nova because I believe in their ultimate mission: “Non scholae sed vitae discimus”—“We learn not for school, but for life”.  I believe that every child deserves the chance to be given a high-quality education that emphasizes the importance of thinking for themselves and being well rounded, virtuous individuals. I want every one of my students to believe that they are valued, and are an important and influential piece of the world we live in. I chose to work at Nova because I am a “product” of Nova. I attended Nova from sixth to twelfth grade and was a part of the 17 students who comprised Nova’s first graduating class. I can attest to the incredible preparation that Nova gave me to help me be the most successful in life and now teaching.

Hobbies/Interests

Spending time with my wonderful husband and adorable daughter, as well as my nieces and nephews (being a wife, mom, and aunt is the best), playing games with my family, dance, theater, music (I love to sing!), hiking, exploring, spending quality time with my friends, teaching (Of course!), watching “Gilmore Girls” (my forever show)

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

My favorite author is C.S Lewis. He is an incredible writer and deep thinker, as well as a great man of faith. My nephew, Lewis, was named after him.

Favorite Books
I highly recommend…the Chronicles of Narnia series. They will be a forever classic; perfect for all ages. I have a set of the books in my class library!

Favorite Work of Art
“Water Lilies” by Monet

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Ms. Genae Ewing-Fifth Grade

Position

5th Grade Teacher

Educational History:

International Baccalaureate Diploma- Rufus King International World School
BA Elementary Education and Athletic Coaching- Cornell College
MA Reading and Literacy – Ashford University

Email: 
gewing@novaclassical.org

Voice:
651.209.6320 ext. 105

Why I Choose to Work at Nova:

I am a product of a classical education, I went to a Paideia school followed by an International Baccalaureate school before college.  I saw the opportunity to work at Nova as a chance to contribute to the philosophy that shaped my K-12 education.


Hobbies/Interests:

When I’m not teaching or learning in the classroom I’m most likely at the dance studio or theater. I truly love creating and getting the opportunities performing my art for others. I’m also a big fan of reading, I could read the same books over and over


Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure:

I’m a huge fan of James Baldwin, I would have loved to have been able to sit down and have a deep conversation with him. I also really admire Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, and Eartha Kitt. These Women who were both entertainers and activist. It’s really important for people to use the advantages of their talents and fame to spread awareness throughout the world.
Favorite Books:

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is one of my all-time favorites.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote:

“Did you do your best?”

Ms. Claire Gilbert - Fourth Grade

Gilbert

Position: Fourth Grade teacher

Email: cgilbert@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 102

Educational History

B.A., Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago, 2017

M.S., Teaching, College of Saint Scholastica, 2016

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love the rigor of the academic program at Nova.  I see how well it serves our students, forming them into highly skilled, capable people.

Hobbies/Interests

Poetry, photography, videography, hiking, travel, biking, piano, harmonica

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Benjamin Franklin

Favorite Books

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

1984, by George Orwell

Favorite Works of Art

“Las Meninas,” by Diego Velazquez

Ms. Laura Heuett—Fifth Grade

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher

Joined Nova: 2008

Email: lheuett@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 120

Educational History
M.A., Teaching, University of Portland
B.A., English, University of Portland
Licensure: Communication Arts and Literature 5-12 & Mathematics, 5-8, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I was fortunate enough to have received a classical education and got to experience firsthand the power of learning how to think. More specifically, as a language arts teacher, I want to share with my students the joy of working hard to unlock the depth and beauty of the written word.

Hobbies/Interests
Growing up, I loved being a competitive athlete, and as an adult, I try to maintain some of that spirit of competition in my life. This includes playing (read: trying not to injure myself) in women’s basketball leagues and competing with the inner voice in my head while training for and completing running races. Beyond that, spending time with my large family and other loved ones with some music playing and food shared are about as good as it gets for me.

Family

I have the pleasure of seeing the world through the eyes of my opinionated, strong-willed, hilarious toddler, Jake.

Favorite Books
The book I have read again and again is The Giver by Lois Lowry. At a young age, it challenged me to think about the value of pain and imperfections in humanity, and it’s a theme that I’ve found to be worth reflecting on throughout my life. As an adult, I read Watership Down by Richard Adams, and it is a book that has stuck with me. By now, I’ve read that book to my students over a dozen times, and without fail, it moves me to tears every time.

Favorite Quote

My students know how excited I get teaching Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life, particularly because it gives weight to the pursuit of a virtuous life. With that in mind, my quote is a long one from that poem:

“Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.”

Mr. Matt Kimble-Fifth Grade

Position

Grade 5 teacher

Educational History

Email: mkimble@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320 Ext: 107

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love being part of a staff that enjoys challenging young minds and preparing students to become successful throughout life.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy spending time with my family. When I’m not chasing my son Grant around, we enjoy going to different restaurants, going to the cabin, reading and fantasy football.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Not sure if I have just one favorite. Many presidents are very interesting to me. I really enjoy history.

Favorite Books

Champ by Marcia Thornton Jones. This book is very touching. I enjoy when people do great things for others.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.” – Warren Buffett

Ms. Sara Knudsen—Kindergarten

Knudsen

Position: Kindergarten Teacher
Joined Nova: 2012

Email:sknudsen@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext:114

Educational History

B.S., Elementary Education, Degree, Southwest State University
Kindergarten-Sixth Grade, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love how the classical instruction embeds moral virtues into the curriculum.

Hobbies

I love to camp!

Favorite Author
My favorite author is Dr. Seuss.

Favorite Book
I highly recommend Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Favorite Work of Art
Pablo Picasso’s Dove of Peace

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So. . . get on your way.
— Dr. Seuss

Ms. Connie Knowles-Reading Teacher

Ms. Liz Krohn—First Grade

Krohn

Position: First Grade Teacher

Email: ekrohn@novaclassical.org

Voice: 651.209.6320 ext: 127

Educational History

Master of Arts in Teaching, in progress, Hamline University

B.A., English, University of MN
K-6 Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I first chose Nova as a school for my children.  I was so impressed with the virtues the students embody and the rigor of the curriculum, that I wanted to be part of it.  I love how the learning goes beyond school at Nova and becomes part of our student’s lives.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy reading, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and going to my cabin.  I like best when I can do all of these activities at once!

Historical Figure

First graders learn all about the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, it is so exciting to see the students learn about the leaders, thinkers, and people of the ancient times.

Favorite Books
 I read everything, my favorite book changes weekly.

Favorite Work of Art
The Starry Night – van Gogh

Favorite Quote

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see – Mark Twain

Ms. Maddie Larsen—First Grade

Larsen

Position: First Grade Teacher

Joined Nova: 2016

Email: mlarsen@novaclassical.org

Voice: 651.209.6320 ext: 128

Educational History

B.A., Elementary Education with Endorsements in Preprimary and Early Childhood, Bethel University
Licensure: State of Minnesota

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I choose to work at Nova because of all the supportive staff, faculty, and parents. This place is filled with people that are dedicated to the life-long learning of its students. I love being part of a community that focuses on meeting everyone’s needs so that everyone can do their very best at what they do!

Hobbies/Interests

There are many things that I like to do but my favorites are: drinking coffee, walking, biking, singing, reading, going to new restaurants, traveling, and bargain hunting!

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

There are so many great authors that I can’t choose just one!

Favorite Books

As above, there are so many great books that I don’t have just one favorite!

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.” -Unknown

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.” -Dr. Seuss ( I LOVE elephants!)

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs

Mr. Chad Long—Third Grade

Long

Position: Third Grade Teacher
Joined Nova: 2003

Email:clong@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 100

Teacher website: Click HERE

Educational History

B.S., magna cum laude, Elementary Education, University of Mary
M.Ed., Elementary Education, University of North Dakota

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I choose to teach at Nova because I embrace life-long learning and love being a part of the students’ excitement for learning the rich curriculum. A great education is paramount to shaping the citizens of tomorrow.

Hobbies/Interests
Reading, gardening, playing board games with my son, brainteasers/mind puzzles.

Family
I live in Roseville with my husband, 15-year-old son, our huge cat, and our pug.

Favorite Historical Figure
Queen Elizabeth was such a remarkable leader, yet privately very vulnerable. Following in the footsteps of her father (Henry VIII) and half-sister (Mary) was quite challenging; but Elizabeth forever changed England and thus, the world.

Favorite Books
I highly recommend the Skippyjon Jones series (written by Judy Schachner) for all parents and teachers. Skippyjon has quite a wonderful imagination and is absolutely adorable! His adventures in his bedroom closet make for a great read-aloud!

Favorite Work of Art
Edward Munch’s The Scream

Personal Motto
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Ms. Becky Lund—Second Grade

Lund

Position: Second Grade Teacher

Joined Nova: 2003

Email:blund@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 125

Website: https://sites.google.com/novaclassical.org/mslund/home

Educational History

M.A., Education, Hamline University
B.A., Elementary Education, Augsburg College
Licensure: Reading K-12 and Elementary Education 1-6, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I love the joy of learning that is shared by every member of this community and the energy and enthusiasm my students have when they’ve learned something new. And where else could I read Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors to second graders who enjoy it as much as I do?

Hobbies/Interests
I enjoy reading, writing, reading some more, being creatively theatrical or theatrically creative, singing along, making lefse, and spending time with my nieces and nephew.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure
In Science, the second graders study simple machines and the more I learn about the historical development and uses of simple machines, the more intrigued I am by Archimedes.  He developed a screw to raise water, a pulley system that allowed him to move a fully-loaded ship by himself, and a war machine that lifted attacking ships by the prow causing the rear of the ship to sink which in turn pulled the whole boat under.   It’s amazing how he had the vision to create so much out of things so simple.

Favorite Books
I highly recommend anything by Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, or Mo Willems. I think at least half of the books I’ve read in the past year have been by one of these three authors.

Favorite Work of Art
The Promenades of Euclid by Rene Magritte

Favorite

Quote

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Ms. Maria Marchand—Fourth Grade

Marchand

Position: Fourth Grade Teacher
Joined Nova: 2003

Email:mmarchand@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 123

Teacher website: Click HERE

Educational History

B.S., Interior Design, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
M.A., Education, College of St. Catherine

Why I choose to work at Nova
I choose Nova particularly because I hold the faculty, parents, and students in the highest regard. The more I learn and teach following the classical model, the more I believe that it is a very just way to educate our children.

Hobbies/Interests
Music (piano, accordion, dancing), storytelling, theater-going, reading, writing, poetry, walking.

Family
My husband, David Antenucci, is a small-animal veterinarian and an aspiring Leonardo Davinci. My daughter, Zoe is a student at Nova.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure
I have many, but I would say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a historical figure I look up to because of his eloquent, passionate, and peaceful work towards justice for all.

Personal Motto
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” –J.K. Rowling

Mr. Jonathan Martin—Physical Education

Martin

Position: Physical Education Teacher
Joined Nova: 2009

Email: jmartin@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 141

Teacher website: HERE

Educational History
B.A., Physical Education, Luther College

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I chose to work at Nova because of the school’s focus on classically educating the students in ways that prepare them for life beyond the classroom. I also strongly agree with the mission of physical education: a healthy body promotes a healthy mind. Being at Nova means that I will have the opportunity to educate students to be lifelong learners and help encourage students to live actively.

Hobbies/Interests
I enjoy tennis, golf, being outside, traveling, and watching Minnesota professional and college sports teams.

Personal Motto
“Work Hard, Play Hard”

Ms. Kathleen McLarn—Fifth Grade

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher

Email:kmclarn@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext:105
Website: Click HERE

Educational History
M.A., Mass Communication, University of Minnesota
B.A., History and Economics, Manhattanville College, New York

State of MN licenses:
Social Studies, Grades 7-12
Communication Arts/Literature  Grades 5-8
Elementary Education Grades K-6

Ms. Jamie Nelson-Third Grade

Nelson

Position: Third Grade Teacher
Joined Nova: 2015

Email: jnelson@novaclassical.org
Voice: 651.209.6320 ext: 103

Educational History
Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire

Masters of Art in Teaching, Hamline University (in-progress)

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
The children. Each and every day at Nova, I see a scholar use his or her virtues to better the lives of those around them. This kind of school-wide community is astounding. You simply don’t see that in other schools.

Hobbies/Interests
I enjoy walking, yoga, swimming, reading, learning, and spending time with my friends and family.

Favorite Author/Historical Thinker
Phillis Wheatley. Phillis was a slave during the Revolutionary War. She was also an amazing poet- her first book of poems was published in 1774. She studied Latin, geography, and mathematics- much like our scholars! She is an inspirational and fascinating historical figure who overcame all odds and used her fortitude to change the perception of people all over the world.

Favorite Books
            The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Favorite Work of Art
Any of Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures.

Favorite quote
“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”-Socrates

Ms. Kelly O’Rourke—Reading

O'Rourke

Position: Reading Specialist
Joined Nova: 2015

Click here to visit the Read 180 website.

Email: korourke@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 325

Educational History

Reading Specialist coursework, Hamline University
M.Ed., University of MN, Twin Cities
B.A., Elementary Education, College of Saint Benedict

Licenses

K-6 Elementary Education Licensure, State of MN
K-12 Reading Specialist Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Initially, I chose Nova for the immersion into classical culture for my children. I loved the continuity of historical periods reaching across subject domains. The strong values curriculum was also compelling to me as a parent. Professionally, I’ve always had a great passion for reading and believe wholeheartedly in the possibilities of each child. I love combining reading research to the application of supporting readers.

Hobbies/Interests

When not spending time with my family, I love gardening, especially creating edible landscapes. I love to escape to the woods of Wisconsin with a good book, and a half-finished knitting project.

Favorite Books

Many of my favorites are in the curriculum taught at Nova. Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather are among my favorites.

Favorite Quote

“There is no Frigate like a book to take us Lands away.”
—Emily Dickinson

Ms. Heidi Reynolds—Latin

Reynolds

Position: Lower School Latin Teacher

Joined Nova: 2012

Email: hreynolds@novaclassical.org

Voice: 651.209.6320 ext: 220

Website: http://www.quia.com/profiles/hereynolds

Google classroom: https://classroom.google.com/h

Educational History

M.A., Educational Technology, Western Michigan University
B.S., Latin, History, Secondary Education, Western Michigan University

MN Licenses held:
K-12 Latin

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love the focus on History in the curriculum and the belief that Latin be both a core subject in itself but also a foundation for other learning.

Hobbies/Interests

I play ice hockey on a women’s team in St. Paul, and I love playing with my two young sons.

Favorite Books

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams has always been a standby, but I love to read and will read all kind of books as much as possible if given the time.

Favorite Work of Art

Trajan’s column is the most awe-inspiring piece of art I’ve ever seen in person.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Always do your best.

Ms. Jennifer Rogge—Kindergarten

Rogge

Position: Kindergarten Teacher

Joined Nova: 2014
Email: jrogge@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 115

Educational History

B.S., Elementary Education, Minor: Early Childhood Education, University of Wisconsin: River Falls
Licensure: State of Minnesota and State of Wisconsin

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I appreciate the structure and moral guidance the classical model provides young scholars.

Hobbies/Interests

Bargain hunting! You can find me searching for a deal at thrift stores and garage sales.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

My favorite children’s author is Shel Silverstein.

Favorite Books

The Giving Tree

Favorite Works of Art

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,  Georges Seurat

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“You are never too young to set another goal, or dream a new dream.”
—C.S. Lewis

Ms. Diane Jean-Yarusso Ruday—Math

Rude

Position: Math Teacher

Joined Nova: 2009
Email: druday@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 109

Educational History

MA., Teaching, Hamline University, 2011
B.A., Quantitative Methods, St. Thomas College, 1987
License: Elementary Education K-6; 5-8 math, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I choose to teach at Nova because I believe that students should learn not for school but for life. I want to play a part in creating the great thinkers of tomorrow. My goal as a math teacher is to give students the self-confidence needed to embrace new challenges.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, camping, raising monarch butterflies, exploring the North Shore of Minnesota and reading a good mystery novel.

Favorite Historical Figure

My favorite historical figure is Melba Pattillo Beals. She is one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in 1957. She risked her life for the good of future generations.

Favorite Books

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

Favorite Work of Art

“Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Favorite Quote

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” – Anne Frank

Ms. Jo Shultz—Second Grade

Shultz

Position: Second Grade Teacher
Joined Nova: 2008

Email: jshultz@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 113
Class website: click HERE

Educational History
M.Ed, Master of Education, University of Minnesota
B.S., Foundations of Education, University of Minnesota
K-6 Elementary Education, 5-8 Communication Arts/Literature

Ms. Sarah Tanner—Third Grade

Tanner

Position:  Third Grade Teacher

Joined Nova: 20 15

Email:  stanner @novaclassical.org

Voice: 651.209.6320 ext: 101

Educational History

M.S.,  Elementary Inclusive Education, Columbia University

B.A.,  English, Japan Studies, St. Olaf College

General Elementary Education, State of MN

General Elementary Education, State of NY

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to teach both the building blocks of primary school skills (such as math facts, spelling and grammar) while at the same time allowing students minds to work on big ideas in history, science, and writing.

Hobbies/Interests

Yoga, music, birding, and travel.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Barbara Kingsolver

Favorite Books

Once on a Time by A.A. Milne, The Worst Person in the World by James Stevenson and many more!

Favorite Work of Art

Anything by Rodin

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”― Dalai Lama XIV

Ms. Traci Taylor—Second Grade

Taylor, T

Position: Second Grade Teacher
Joined Nova: 2009
Email: ttaylor@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 124

Educational History
M.A., Education, Hamline University (in progress)
B.A. Language Arts Secondary Education, Bethel University

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I choose to work at Nova because I strongly believe in our mission of educating young people to be intelligent, hard-working, moral individuals.  I feel blessed to work with such amazing teachers and families and it’s so encouraging to work in such a helpful, supportive community.

Hobbies/Interests
I enjoy reading, practicing yoga, cooking (or helping my husband – he’s a much better cook!), going for walks, traveling, and spending time with family.

Favorite Author/Thinker
My favorite authors are Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, and John Irving. Two of my favorite thinkers/historical figures are Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. I find their writing to be beautiful and thought-provoking, and I love the emphasis on nature, self-reflection, and simplicity.

Favorite Books
I highly recommend Walden, The Great Gatsby, A Prayer for Owen Meany, On the Road, The Handmaid’s Tale, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Siddhartha.

Favorite Work of Art
My favorite work of art is anything my young daughter creates!

Personal Motto
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” (from Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats)

Ms. Katie Tuma—Art, K–5

Tuma, K

Position: Art Teacher, K-5

Joined Nova: 2006

Email: ktuma@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 112
Teacher website: HERE

Educational History
B.A., Studio Art, Elementary Education, College of St. Catherine
M.A., Liberal Studies, Hamline University

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I was sought out by a board member. I had gone back to work part-time at the Circus (great program right down the street); no kidding! I had been involved in the arts in the area for many years while raising my family. I went to graduate school with teaching art in mind. I have always wanted to bring together teaching classroom art and my love for art history. Nova seemed like a great fit and I was ready to get back in the classroom.

Hobbies/Interests
All my free time revolves around my family. We love music, theatre, baseball (Twins – Go Cubbies) and all our great friends! I read books recommended by my children whenever possible.

Family
I have six children: Nicole, Annie, Kelsey, Elise, Ian, and Kevin. My husband Randy is an Actuarial Consultant/musician/great Dad!

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure
I read and loved Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” this summer. I look to my Dad who was a great investigative reporter as someone who made truth his life.

My Favorite Artists are Many
Paul Klee, the ancient Egyptians, and children’s art! I love to wander in art museums when I have time. I always fall in love with something “new.” My favorite poet is Akhmatova.

Personal Motto
Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind. – Henry James

Not all who wander are lost. – JRR Tolkien

Never apologize for your art. – Bumper sticker and button

Ms. Rebecca Urbrock—Music, K–5

Urbrock

Position: Music Teacher, K-5
Joined Nova: 2003

Email: rurbrock@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 130

Educational history
B.A., Piano Performance, Macalester College
M.A., Instrumental and Classroom Music Education, University of St. Thomas

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I enjoy the enthusiasm of the students and the small class sizes. I have continually received positive support for the music program from many Nova families. Teaching music to Nova students is challenging, fun, and rewarding; there is always a good element of surprise and creativity in the classroom. I am especially proud of my students when they showcase their talents at the concerts.

Ms. Renae Williams—Music

Williams, R

 

Position: Music Teacher

Email: rwilliams@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 132

Ms. Gina Zelinka—Kindergarten

Position: Kindergarten Teacher

Joined Nova: 2003

Email: gzelinka@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext:115

Educational History
B.A., Political Science and Studio Art, St. Olaf College
MN Professional Licensure, Master of Arts in Teaching, Hamline University

Dr. Luke Brekke—History

Position: History Teacher
Joined Nova: 2014

Email: lbrekke@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 307

Educational History
Ph.D., European History, University of Minnesota, 2009
M.A., European History, University of Minnesota, 2006
B.A., History and Social Studies Education, St. Olaf College, 2000

Why I Choose to Work at Nova
I like and admire Nova’s curriculum of building skills of critical thinking and expression on a foundation of core knowledge, and the way our program strives both to help students become independent thinkers and to connect them to the legacy of thinkers in the Western tradition. I believe working at Nova gives me the opportunity to help students be prepared not only for college but, even more importantly, to become thoughtful citizens and lifelong learners.

Hobbies/Interests
Running, music, world history, world religions, philosophy, East Asian civilization

Favorite Books
The plays of Sophocles, the plays of Euripides, Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, Analects by Confucius, the Mencius, Essais by Montaigne, The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, the Commedia by Dante, Candide by Voltaire, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Favorite Work of Art
The Unbelief of St. Thomas by Caravaggio

Dr. Don Burrows—Latin

Burrows

Position: Latin Teacher
Joined Nova: 2014

Email: dburrows@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 228

Educational History

Ph.D., University of Minnesota: Classical Studies
B.A., University of Arkansas: Classical Studies, History, Journalism

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

As a classicist, I was drawn to Nova not only because of its classical education, but also because of its focus on developing the skills of critical thinking, reasoning, argument, and rhetoric. My favorite times in high school happened on the debate team, which later led me to become an editorialist and columnist before pursuing the classics. I firmly believe that the skills Nova teaches are vital to properly operate within a democracy as a full citizen.

Hobbies/Interests

Current events, reading, and occasional video games.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

I would have to go with Symmachus, the urban prefect of Rome in 384–385, who advocated for the traditional Roman religion of the aristocratic elites, not necessarily because I agree with everything he says, but because he is a fascinating insight into the waning of antiquity and the rise of the Middle Ages.

Favorite Books

Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, a Greek novel of the second century CE; J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum. – Symmachus, in a dispute over the altar of Victory: “By one path it is not possible to arrive at so great a mystery.”

Favorite Work of Art

Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera

Ms. Sarah Brown-History and Language Arts

Mr. Mark Conkle—Math

Conkle

Position: Math Teacher
Joined Nova: 2014

Email: mconkle@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 324

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love being part of a school that lives up to what so many schools pay only lip service to high academic standards; rigor; and a sense of community.  I am very happy with my teaching schedule of Geometry, Statistics, and Calculus, and am pleased to be offering Calculus for University of Minnesota credit through the CIS program.

Hobbies/Interests

My passion in life is games. I enjoy board games, card games, video games, role-playing games, and more. I love learning new games as well as delving deep into the strategy of a particular game to become the best I can be.

Favorite Quote

“The problem with quotes from the internet is it is difficult to verify their veracity.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Mr. Cole Conlin—Spanish

Conlin

Position: Spanish Teacher
Joined Nova: 2013

Email: cconlin@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 327

Educational History
M.A., Spanish, Middlebury College
M.A., Critical and Creative Thinking, UMass Boston
B.A., Spanish and Philosophy, Colby College

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Because the earnest pursuit of truth and goodness is beautiful.

Hobbies/Interests

Soccer, hockey, music, philosophy

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Julio Cortázar

Favorite Books

Don Quijote

Favorite Work of Art

The Treachery of Images by René Magritte

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“To know that we know what we know and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” Confucius

Ms. Lauren Davidson-Science

Mr. Brandon Foat—History and Logic

Foat

Position: History and Logic Teacher
Joined Nova: 2003

Email: bfoat@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320, extension 216
Teacher webpage: HERE

Educational History

B.A., Fine Arts, Augsburg College
M.A., magna cum laude, Education, College of St. Catherine

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I work at Nova because I want to change the world. I believe that the way we teach at Nova will have a substantial, positive influence on the community. I see Nova as a potential leader in American educational practice.

Hobbies/Interests

Besides teaching at Nova, I am the Director of Curriculum for the Oakeshott Institute, a non-profit museum that teaches about swords and armor. I am also a fencing coach. My hobbies are painting, swimming, bicycling, an archaic form of fencing called singlestick, reading, and growing bonsai trees.

Family

I live in a pile of books in south Minneapolis, with my wife, my daughter, and two large, drooling dogs.

Ms. Diana Johnson-Art

Position: 6th-7th Grade Art

Joined Nova 2016

Email: djohnson@novaclassical.org

Educational History

B.A. Fine Arts, Amherst College

M.A. History of Art, Williams College

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love that history and the humanities have such a prominent place in the curriculum. And I love the people (families and colleagues) who value such robust learning.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy doing yoga, cooking, reading, sketching, taking walks and hikes surrounded by natural beauty, and relaxing with my family and dog.

Favorite Books

Too many to list! Among recent favorites is Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane, a memoir about growing up in a ghetto township in apartheid-era South Africa.

Favorite Work of Art

Impossible to say! But to start the conversation, I’ll go with Fallingwater (the Kaufmann House in Bear Run, Penn.) by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” (My mother)

Ms. Melissa Johnson—Latin

Johnson

Position: Latin teacher
Joined Nova: 2011

Email: mjohnson@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 215
Teacher website: HERE

Educational History

Masters in Contemplative Education, Naropa University, 2010
Masters in Classics, University of Colorado, 2004
Bachelors in English Literature, Minnesota State University Moorhead, 2002

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

As a Classicist, Nova’s model of education was a natural choice for me as an educator.  I hold the teaching of grammar, logic, rhetoric, and values in high regard for learners of all ages.  Nova’s community model is inspiring, and I hope to bring as much richness to it as it offers me in return

Family

My husband Bob and I live in St. Paul with our dog Sulo. We have many friends and family in the great state of Minnesota, which was the impetus for bringing us home from Colorado.

Favorite

Author/Thinker/Historical

Figure

Chogyam Trungpa, the founder of Naropa University in Boulder, CO.  He believed that in education, the change one makes in themselves can have an enormous impact on the community and the world.

Hobbies/Interests

I love to read, cook, write, write music, play the violin and sing with friends. I also recently learned to ride a scooter, so I love to scoot around St. Paul.

Favorite Books

I recently re-read the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. It is an amazing series. I also enjoy novels of Ancient Rome such as Medicus, by Ruth Downie, which opens in Roman Britain during the time of Trajan.

Favorite Works of Art

I love the Laocoön group in the Vatican.

Personal Motto
“You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften.” – Pema Chodron

Mr. Brendan O’Hara—Language Arts

O'Hara

Position: Langauge Arts and Rhetoric Teacher
Joined Nova: 2014

Email: bohara@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320, extension 305

Educational History

M.F.A, Creative Writing (expected 2016), Hamline University
B.A., English/Education, University of Iowa
Licensed in Communication Arts & Literature 5-12, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

For the opportunity that it gives me to bring my creativity and quirky passion for teaching to Nova’s unique and exciting student population.  I also value small, diverse learning communities who take risks in education.

Hobbies/Interests

When I am not at Nova, I can most likely be found adventuring the cities with my wife and two-year-old son, who both bring me immense joy. In addition, biking, hiking, writing poetry, posting letters, baseball, bonfires, and my record player, round out some of my more recent tastes.

Favorite Books

This is an unfair question for a Language Arts teacher to answer. How about I include my recent favorites in each genre…

Poetry: Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen (heart-wrenching)
Creative Non-Fiction: The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (wondrous)
Fiction: The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (nerdy and lovely)

Favorite Work of Art

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt van Rijn. What a sharp look at the virtue of compassion!

Ms. Mary Lutz-Study Hall Supervisor

Lutz

 

Email: mlutz@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320 ext.225

Ms. Dana Klinkner—PE and Health

Klinkner

Position:  Upper School Physical Education and Health Teacher

Joined Nova: 2015

Email: dklinkner@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 325

Educational History

B.S., Teaching, Physical Education, Winona State University
B.S., Health Promotion, School Health, Winona State University
K-12 Physical Education, 5-12 Health Education, Developmental Adaptive Physical Education Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I choose to work at Nova because I admire how hardworking and respectful the students are.

Hobbies/Interests

I love spending time with my family and friends, exploring new restaurants, reading, and being outdoors. I also love football season!

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Work hard and be nice to people.

Mr. Robert Petko-Science

Petko

Position: Science

Email: rpetko@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 313

Ms. Susan Samuelson-Physical Ed

Position: Part-time Health/Physical Education teacher

Email:  ssamuelson@novaclassical.org

 Educational History    

Bachelor of Science degree, Bemidji University

Why I Choose to Work at Nova    

I had been enthusiastically welcomed at NOVA last year to referee a volleyball match.

 Hobbies/Interests   

SUP, open water swimming, biking, playing handbells, judging gymnastics and refereeing volleyball-my family and grandkids!

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure   

Anna Quindlen, author, Babe Didrikson-Zaharias, athlete, Beth Moore, Christian

Author & Teacher/Speaker

 Favorite Books

Biographies of influential women

Favorite Work of Art   

DaVinci’s The Last Supper

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote  

“Life Is Too Short to Wear Tight Shoes”

Ms. Kimberly Strand—Science

Strand

Position: Upper School Science Teacher

Joined Nova: 2012

Email: kstrand@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 312

Educational History

Teaching Certificate, Minnesota State University, Moorhead

M.S., Fisheries and Wildlife, South Dakota State University
B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
5-8 Science and 9-12 Life Science Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Nova wants students to work hard and achieve their goals. I live the same way.

Hobbies/Interests

Fishing, canoeing, biking, gardening, house remodeling, running, cross-country skiing.

Favorite Work of Art

Van Gogh’s The Mulberry Tree. I was in awe when I saw it for the first time.

Ms. Rachel Zinter—Math

Zinter

Position: Math Teacher
Joined Nova: 2011

Email: rzinter@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext:226

Educational History

B. S., Secondary Education, Concordia University of Nebraska, 2002

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Nova is a place that has high expectations of their students and teachers.  This may seem like a stressful environment, but Nova gives me the tools and the support to grow in my success as a teacher.  In the same way, the students strive in this same environment and I love being a part of this caring team.

Hobbies/Interests

I love hanging out with my family and playing games with them.  I especially enjoy our trips up north when we stay at a cabin on a lake.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and this is one of his best quotes: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

Ms. Renae Williams—Music

Williams, R

 

Position: Music Teacher

Email: rwilliams@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 132

Ms. Jeanie Anderson—Music, 6–12

Anderson

Position: Music Teacher  & Upper School 504 Coordinator

Joined Nova: 2003

Email: janderson@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 131

Educational History

B.A., Music, Vocal Performance, North Central University
M.A.T. Candidate, Hamline University

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I love the Classical model and how it ties subjects together with history as its organizing principle.

Hobbies/Interests

Walking, hiking, singing, reading

Favorite Historical Figure

Abraham Lincoln because he was full of both wisdom and humility.

Personal Motto

“Do hard things.”

Mr. Jason Belter—Science

Belter

Position: Science Teacher

Joined Nova: 2007
Email: jbelter@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 313

Educational History

B.S. Biochemistry, UW Madison 2001
MN Professional Licensure Biology and Chemistry, Hamline University 2010

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

At Nova learning is more than just work done by the students, it is a passion. This zeal for learning carries over into the faculty and staff as well.

Hobbies/Interests

Baseball, Football, and RPGs

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Carl Sagan: He is most well known for the PBS miniseries Cosmos, which with only modest updates has remained a masterpiece of science communication after almost 30 years. His most admirable qualities though have to do with his continual appeal to the best of our human natures. Like almost every great thinker his knowledge was not restricted to just a single subject. He was a strong public policy advocate on space science, environmental science, and humanitarian issues.

Favorite Books

I highly recommend Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, and Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman.

Favorite Work of Art

Images from the Hubble Telescope

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Arete everyday.

Ms. Nancy Broen—History and Logic

Broen

Position: History and Psychology Teacher

Joined Nova: 2008

Email: nbroen@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 224

Educational History

B.A. in Social Studies from Hamline University, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude

Why I choose to work at Nova

I consider it a privilege to work at Nova because its classical academic focus is purposeful and deliberate. In addition, the administration and staff all embrace a deep love of learning which naturally overflows into the classrooms. As a result, the students pick up on this energy and regularly rise to the challenges presented to them. With strong family support and the teaching of virtues, students are provided a strong framework in which to learn wise decision-making and good citizenship. I truly enjoy my interactions with our students! Each one is uniquely engaging and contributes significantly to all that makes up the Nova community.

Hobbies/Interests

Hiking, water skiing, singing, plunking on the piano, bicycling.

Family

When we all gather around the table, my husband and I have six adult children with their families, which include five grandchildren.

Favorite

Author/Thinker/Historical

Figure

I have never been one to decide on a “favorite” of anything. However, I am continually drawn to true stories of individuals who overcome major challenges.

Personal

Motto

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

Mr. Duane Heidemann-Math

Position Upper School Mathematics Teacher

Educational History

B.A. in Mathematics from St. Olaf College

M.Ed. from St. Mary’s University

Email:  dheidemann@novaclassical.org

Voice: 651-209-6320 Ext. 202

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to coach the varsity boys’ basketball program as well as send my children to Nova.  That experience has shown me the great community that is Nova and I appreciate the opportunity I have to be even more involved with it.  It is great to be challenged and grow as I am able to challenge and help others grow.

Hobbies/Interests

In my free time, I like to read to my children. I also like to golf, watch basketball and ride my Ural motorcycle.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

My favorite author is David Eddings

Favorite Books
The Chronicles of Narnia, The Belgariad series, When Pride Still Mattered, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Favorite Work of Art
The Thinker

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value.

Albert Einstein

Mr. Joshua Garvin—Latin

Garvin

Position: Latin Teacher
Joined Nova: 2008

Email: jgarvin@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 329
Teacher website: HERE

Educational History

M.F.A., Translation/Latin, University of Arkansas
M.A., Comparative Literature-Latin and Greek, University of Arkansas
B.A., magna cum laude, Classical Studies, University of Arkansas and American Academy in Rome

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I am very excited to be at Nova Classical Academy because I love Latin and I love to teach. Nova values scholarship, discipline, and classical education, and this creates just the kind of productive learning environment in which I want to work and share my love of Latin with my students.

Hobbies/Interests

Sailing, movies, racquet ball, cooking.

Family

I have a wife named Ashley and a dog named Tula.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Edger Allen Poe and John Steinbeck.

Personal Motto

Garvin’s Theorem: “Words become irregular via over-usage.”

Ms. Nicole Hoiland—Art

Hoiland

Position:

Art

Teacher

Email: nhoiland@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 314

Educational

History

M.F.A., Ceramic Sculpture, SFASU
M.A., Drawing, SFASU
B.A., Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
Art Ed K-12, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I was ready for a change; I had been teaching at the college level for 13 years, but I was ready to move on. I moved from St. Peter three years ago with my family.

Family

I have my English teaching husband, Aaron and three children: Zoe, Sebastian, and Ani.

Hobbies/Interests

Camp with my family, kayak, swim, play tennis, read, make art, travel.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

I read all books; I don’t think I have a favorite author. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is lovely as well as our own Louise Erdrich. As for artists, I enjoy post-modern makers—contemporary artists that are really stretching contemporary practice.

Favorite

Books

Anything by Louise Erdrich.

Favorite Work of Art

I love the work of Petah Coyne and Eva Hesse.

Ms. Sasha Ross—Math

Ross

Position: Upper School Math Teacher
Joined Nova: 2014

Email: sross@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 228

Educational History

B.A., Classics and Mathematics, Lawrence University

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

As a math and classical enthusiast, Nova offers a unique experience to work with students and a community as interested in ancient cultures and traditions. Nova’s fantastic reputation preceded it and I am very excited to be joining such an enthusiastic and well-rounded school.

Hobbies/Interests

Theater, hiking with my dogs, math-themed cross-stitch.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

My favorite author has to be Homer. The Iliad is one of the greatest works of art addressing the complex nature of the human spirit. Also a huge fan of Horace, Walt Whitman, Bayard Rustin, Kurt Vonnegut.

Favorite Books

Iliad, Ender’s Game, The Giver, Howl, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Favorite Work of Art

Carracci’s Peita

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“Words are the litmus paper of the mind.” – Terry Pratchett

Ms. Kelly O’Rourke—Reading Specialist

O'Rourke

Position: Reading Specialist
Joined Nova: 2015

Click here to visit the Read 180 website.

Email: korourke@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 325

Educational History

Reading Specialist coursework, Hamline University
M.Ed., University of MN, Twin Cities
B.A., Elementary Education, College of Saint Benedict

Licenses

K-6 Elementary Education Licensure, State of MN
K-12 Reading Specialist Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Initially, I chose Nova for the immersion into classical culture for my children. I loved the continuity of historical periods reaching across subject domains. The strong values curriculum was also compelling to me as a parent. Professionally, I’ve always had a great passion for reading and believe wholeheartedly in the possibilities of each child. I love combining reading research to the application of supporting readers.

Hobbies/Interests

When not spending time with my family, I love gardening, especially creating edible landscapes. I love to escape to the woods of Wisconsin with a good book, and a half-finished knitting project.

Favorite Books

Many of my favorites are in the curriculum taught at Nova. Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather are among my favorites.

Favorite Quote

“There is no Frigate like a book to take us Lands away.”
—Emily Dickinson

Dr. Margaret McCarney—Language Arts

Position: Language Arts Teacher
Joined Nova: 2010

Email: mmccarney@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 303
Teacher website: HERE(under construction)

Educational History

Ph.D. English Renaissance Literature, University of Rochester B.A., English Literature, B.A., College of St. Thomas

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

The curriculum and classical method open learning in ways that seem exponential rather than linear.  It’s very rewarding to watch students’ expand not only their intellectual abilities but also the capacity for a lifetime of synthetic learning.

Hobbies/Interests

I like to travel, bike, attend local plays, spend time with family and friends, and read.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

I would probably say, Shakespeare, because the arc of his plays contains so much mastery of theater as well as human complexity. At the same time, I could make a pretty convincing case for at least a dozen other authors. I like authors who push against expectations and challenge readers to find new perspectives on timeless questions.

Favorite Books

I highly recommend my tenth grade curriculum map.

Favorite Work of Art

Florence’s Duomo has a wonderful story attached to it. Vermeer’s paintings draw viewers in with their placid complexity.  My brain is always soothed by Brancusi’s Bird in Flight and Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

My new favorite (though I have dozens) is “Exile is a dreadful thing for one who knows his rightful place.”

Ms. Nelly Konkin-Language Arts and Rhetoric

Ms. Sara Seal-Language Arts

Position: Rhetoric and Literature
Educational History:
B.A. in Literature and History and participant in the Lasallian Honors Program, Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota
M.A.I. in Communication Arts and Literature Instruction, Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota.
Email:  sseal@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 309
Why I Choose to Work at Nova: Classical Education has the power to make intelligent and virtuous human beings. Working at Nova allows me the privilege of helping students grow not only in knowledge but also in virtue. Additionally, I am thrilled with the opportunity to teach both rhetoric and literature and share my passion for these subjects.
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy reading, seeing theatre productions, studying art history, traveling to historical sites and museums, and spending time with my husband, son, and family.
Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure: This is a challenging question for a literature and history lover. Pressed to answer, I would say Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, or T.S. Eliot for their examination of the human condition.
Favorite Books: Some of my favorite books include The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

Favorite Work of Art: I am particularly drawn to Italian art, and some of my lasting favorites are The Sistine Madonna by Raphael, Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, and The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote: My favorite quote is from The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare. It is said by Florizel to his beloved Perdita “when you do dance, I wish you/ A wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do/ Nothing but that” (Shakespeare 4.4.140-142).

Mr. Chris Shepard—History

Shepard

Position: History Teacher

Email: cshepard@novaclassical.org
Phone:651.209.6320 ext: 316

Educational History

BA, University of Minnesota; Masters in Urban Planning, New York University; candidate for Masters in Education, University of St. Thomas

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Nova provides teachers the opportunity to work with young people who are intellectually curious.

Hobbies/Interests

I enjoy non-fiction in any form, as well as classic American literature. I also enjoy a variety of sports.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

Edward Abby, that redneck intellectual, blows me away. Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied everything that was right, including human frailty.

Favorite Books

A Fools Progress, Franny and Zooey, Heart of Darkness, Walden, others…

Favorite Works of Art

art that my friends or family have made

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

memories don’t make themselves

Dr. Maura Williams-Latin

http://drmwilliams.edublogs.org/

Ms. Sarah Taylor—Language Arts

Taylor, S

Position: Language Arts Teacher, Grades 7 and 8

Joined Nova: 2006

Email: staylor@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 229

Educational History

M.A., Education, University of St. Thomas
M.B.A., Banking & Finance, University of Pennsylvania
B.A., Psychology, Yale University
Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

Teaching at Nova is a joy. I admire Nova’s commitment to offering top-notch classical education in a public school setting, and I am proud to be part of the faculty. The material is challenging and rewarding, and I am continually inspired by my colleagues as well as my students.

Hobbies/Interests

I play the violin with the Century College Chamber Orchestra.  I love cross-country skiing, sailing, and hiking, and I just started golf lessons.

Favorite Authors

Charles Dickens and George Eliot are two of my favorite authors, along with Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Margaret Atwood, and John Green. The list goes on and on.

Favorite Books

Too many to list. My favorite book is whatever I’m enjoying right now.

Favorite Work of Art

I love the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. and the unbelievably gorgeous artwork on the ceiling of The Library of Congress. One of my favorite paintings is “The Song of the Lark” by Jules Breton. Michaelangelo’s David sculpture is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’m also a big fan of Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures.

Favorite Quote

“There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.”  – Emily Dickinson

Ms. Ann Antus—LS Special Education

missing-Student ID-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Position: Lower school Special Education Teacher

Joined Nova:
Fall 2013

Email: aantus@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 207

Educational History:

B.A. University of Illinois – Chicago
Also attended University of Minnesota – Duluth
Penn State University
St. Cloud State University

MN Licenses held:

Elementary Education 1-6
Specific Learning Disabilities
Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
Developmental/Cognitive Disabilities
Autism Spectrum Disorders

Why I Choose to Work at Nova:

When I read about Nova online, my interest was piqued by Latin and virtue education taught to elementary school students and learning about the classical model of education. Then I visited Nova. Watching students in the hallways and talking with administrators led me to believe Nova was a school where I would like to teach. I have found Nova to be home to wonderful students and amazing faculty and staff. I cannot forget the supportive Nova community. I have not been disappointed in my decision.

Hobbies/Interests:

I enjoy reading, playing with my grandkids, and spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy watching ice hockey, even if I don’t know all the rules! When I have more time, I think I’ll start to take in more live stage performances, having seen The Lion King when it was in town, as well as a number of Children’s Theatre Company performances.

Favorite Books

I enjoy reading works of science fiction and am starting to reread a book by China Mie’ville entitled The Scar. It’s difficult to list just a few. I also like mysteries, pop fiction, and professional literature.

Favorite Work of Art
Only one? Not possible. When studying Art History back in the day, I loved the Impressionists, The Fauves, Picasso, among others. I loved wandering through the Art Institute of Chicago and have been to the Minneapolis Institute of Art several times.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many become strong at the broken
places.”  E. Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”   Helen Keller

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  ( From ???)

“The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.”
excerpt from “Ode to My Socks” by Pablo Neruda

Ms. Natalie Ferguson—US Special Education

Ferguson

Position: Special Education Teacher

Joined Nova: 2014

Email: nferguson@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 205

Educational History

M.A., Special Education, Bethel University
B.A., Educational Studies, Bethel University
Licensure, State of MN

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I enjoy the support I receive from colleagues and families. The students want to learn and are eager to do so, which makes my job all the more rewarding.

Hobbies/Interests

I love being outdoors and traveling.

Favorite Author

Harper Lee

Favorite Book

To Kill a Mockingbird

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

Every day is a fresh start.

Ms. Kristin Hankwitz-US Special Education

Ms. Kristin Hankwitz

Position  

Special Education Teacher, Upper School 

Educational History  

M.A., Special Education, Bethel University 

B.S., Communication, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 

Teacher Coordinator of Work-based Learning License, State of MN 

Special Education (Academic Behavioral Strategist) License, State of MN 

Email:  

khankwitz@novaclassical.org

Phone: 651.209.6320 Ext: 222

Why I Choose to Work at Nova  

Contributing to my community is important to me. As a long-time Saint Paul resident and proud parent of two Nova students, teaching at Nova is like being home. For me, there is not a more fitting educational community than Nova in which to carry out my commitment to ensuring all students have equal access to learning.

Hobbies/Interests  

Running, exploring nature, cooking, reading, home decorating, traveling, enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend, spending time with my family and our pets.

Favorite Author  

John Steinbeck. When I first discovered Steinbeck, I shared my copy of East of Eden with all my friends. It is the most tattered book in my collection. 

Favorite Work of Art  

Jasper Johns, Target with Four Faces, 1955

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote  

“All you need is love.” – John Lennon

Ms. Teresa Lamo-Nelson-US Special Education

Ms. Katelyn Tschida—ELL Teacher

Tschida

Position: ELL Teacher
Joined Nova: Fall 2014

Email: ktschida@novaclassical.org
Phone: 651.209.6320 ext: 323

Educational History

B.A. Middle Childhood and Early Adolescence Education, Area of study TESOL, at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
Licensure, State of MN and WI

Why I Choose to Work at Nova

I chose Nova because I wanted to be in a place that highly valued building strong thinkers and moral character. I love working in a place that so highly values knowledge and is so wonderfully supported by student families and community.

Hobbies/Interests

I love to travel. I have lived in three different countries outside the United States. I also really enjoy singing, cooking, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite Author/Thinker/Historical Figure

My favorite historical figure is Martin Luther King Jr.  I never fail to be inspired by how he fought tirelessly for what he believed and did so virtuously.

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” MLK Jr.

Personal Motto/Favorite Quote

“Be the Change you wish to see in the World.” Mahatma Gandhi

Ms. Claudine Altunbilek

Mr. Adam Eberhardt

Ms. Courtney Eller

Mr. Scott Featherstone

Ms. Kayla Halvorson

Ms. Zoey Hansen

Mr. Shannon Hooge

Ms. Mary Jones

Ms. Jacqueline Jones

Ms. Carly Jorgensen

Ms. Kelly Jorgenson

Ms. Abigail Jovanovich

Mr. Ryan Oden

Ms. Annette Olson

Ms. Renea Schuessler

Ms. Alyssa Rose

Ms. Diana Reinhardt

Ms. Kate Tetmeyer

Mr. Christopher Tomhave

Ms. Carrie Webb

Ms. Deeta Wanless

Ms. Kari Walker