• JGESA is a teacher-powered school. Here, our staff are empowered to make decisions that promote student and whole school success. A "Team Professional Practice" (TPP) approach is rooted in the belief in the teacher as a professional capable of making decisions that impact the student, school culture and operations. It also means that staff take responsibility for the successes and failures of the school. Staff collectively share in all of the duties for the day-to-day and long term operation of the school. Ensuring this cooperative voice among the staff assures that dedicated professionals commit to both the learning program for the students and the professional development and organizational management of the school. 

    Not sure who to contact? Start with info@jgesa.org or 952-852-0129.


    Special Education - Katie


    Communications Jackie


    Assessment - Tammie


    Operations - Jackie


    Curriculum - Craig

     

    Staff Development - Tammie


    Finance - George


    Personnel - Jess

     

     

 Chris Bot - Advisor

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Chris Bot - Advisor

I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of the JGESA team. The experiences I've had at our school have been unique and unforgettable. 

For those that don't know me, I grew up in the country in rural central Minnesota and it has instilled in me a love of the outdoors and nature. The setting we have at JGESA reminds me everyday of the beauty and serenity of nature. I've always had natural curiosity and a desire to expand my knowledge in every category. This is why I love being at JGESA and love the PBL model. Cultivating my student's desires to learn and expand their knowledge is what motivates and inspires me and there is no better setting the JGESA to do that.

 Anne Brakob - Special Education

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Anne Brakob - Special Education

All my life I have loved art, especially drawing and painting, and being outside fishing, kayaking, skiing, hiking, and Frisbee golfing. I love reading, writing, going to concerts and learning new things. I spend a lot of my time doing these activities.

I am an artist as well as a teacher. I have a bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Minnesota. My work has been featured locally and in the upper Midwest in public and private collections. 

I have volunteered for many years in local schools before seeking employment in them 13 years ago. Since I found this rewarding and found that it fueled my interest in assisting and mentoring young people, I returned to college and completed an additional degree leading to certification in Special Education and Elementary Education. Now, I work at this unique school where students feel as if they are a part of a family. Working with these students and being a part of this team is not something taken for granted. 

 Brianna Christian - Counselor

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Brianna Christian - Counselor

I am so thrilled to be a new addition to the JGESA team! It's exciting for me to be coming back into the area. My family grew up on Lake Charlotte in Buffalo where I spent a lot of my time (and still do when I am able). After spending my college years in the cities, it's so refreshing to come to work in the woods. When I am not at JGESA, I enjoy playing board games with friends, spending time with my large family and playing with my cat. 
 
After graduating from Buffalo High School, I continued my education at the University of Minnesota-Morris for one year and finished up at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where I earned a B.A. degree in Psychology and a M.A. in Educational Psychology with and emphasis in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology. In addition to counseling, I have experience working with students in setting four special education settings and as a figure skating coach. 
 Les Harrison

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Les Harrison

I am overjoyed and honored to be joining the amazing JGESA team. I grew up within miles of the school's campus, attended college in Saint Cloud, and have lived in Minneapolis for the past twenty years. My education was in literature, philosophy, and education. I have been a Catholic school teacher, a stay-at-home dad, and a public school teacher.

I have spent the last five years at SAGE Academy in Brooklyn Park. SAGE is also a project based public charter school. My SAGE experience has prepared me for my dream job, JGESA. I believe strongly that students need to learn more than they need to be taught and that learning happens everywhere. This kind of education prepares people to become and love being life long learners.

Major family changes have brought my family back to this area. I'm excited to be teaching within this community. I look forward to working with and learning from staff, students, and parents alike. This should be an incredible year!

 Mallory Jacobsen - Social Worker

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Mallory Jacobsen - Social Worker

I am so excited to work with the students and families/guardians of JGESA as your new School Social Worker! My name is Mallory Jacobsen and I am a Licensed Graduate Social Worker in the great state of Minnesota. I grew up in Wisconsin and Minnesota and then spent time moving around to Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Louisiana. I have two Cocker Spaniels and I spend most of my time throwing sticks for them into the lake!  I graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul and earned my Masters from Colorado State University.  I've had some amazing and rewarding experiences as a social worker- doing HIV/AIDS work, working as a hospital social worker and in mental health with youth and adults. Being a social worker is the greatest privilege of my life. I look forward to supporting you, listening to you and learning from you. Proud to call JGESA my new home!

 Jackie Longhenry - Office Manager

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Jackie Longhenry - Office Manager

I play a dual role at JGESA. Parent and Office Manager. As a parent it is fascinating to watch not only my child open up to this new educational experience, but the others as well.  Professionally I have experience working in a both public and charter schools. I also have an extensive background in Marketing and Communications that I put to use connecting JGESA with our families and community. When not at work I enjoy spending time with my family on our farm or reading a good book.

 Jess Paulson - Advisor

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Jess Paulson - Advisor

Growing up in northern Minnesota, I was never far from a lakeshore or stand of trees (just like our campus). Spending several summers at a wilderness camp on an remote island on the Lake of the Woods sparked my love of outdoor education. I graduated from a charter high school and have found innovative learning models like Project-Based Learning to pave the pathway for students to integrate their interests into their education. With my graduate studies focus in Environmental Education, I believe in connecting students to our natural world through experiential education. I hope to provide our students with opportunities to help them become natural resource stewards and environmentally aware citizens.

"Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life." ~ John Muir

 Monica Vanderlinde - Advisor

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Monica Vanderlinde - Advisor

Another year is upon us! I am very excited to have to opportunity to again be apart of JGESA. Having grown up in Southern Minnesota, I spent my entire childhood outdoors and being active. I grew up loving nature, spending many of my weekends each summer out camping with the family. This love was then cultivated as I spent my High School and College years outside, teaching and working at a local Cub Scout Camp. There I taught everything from engineering to swimming. I am excited to put my knowledge of education, and my love of the outdoors together to provide the best opportunity for each student here at JGESA.

“The earth is what we all have in Common” - Wendell Berry

 George Walker - Advisor

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George Walker - Advisor

At this point I feel as if I'm coming home. My first career was in agriculture, but for the past 15 years I have been a teacher. I spent eleven of them developing and teaching, along with a wonderful staff, at Northwest Passage High School. NWPHS is a charter school in Coon Rapids, MN. Project-based learning was a key component of the school. Then In 2012 I had the opportunity to teach overseas in Qatar where my wife and I spent two years teaching English. I have a Masters in Education and am licensed for Elementary Education and Secondary Communication/Language Arts. I've spent the last two years working in the "big" schools, no PBL. I'm looking forward to this new adventure working with students and staff at JGESA doing project-based learning once again. .

 Tammie Walker - Advisor

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Tammie Walker - Advisor

Tammie is coming back to JGESA for her second year. She is excited to be able to use what she learned last year to make 2019-20 better than ever. Prior to being an Advisor at JGESA She taught English as a second career for 8 years in Princeton and 2 years in Qatar. She has a degree in Communications Arts and Literature and a Masters in Experiential Education. She looks forward providing more seminars like canning tomatoes, working with wood and starting a Robotics Team this year. When she isn’t teaching she loves to spend time with her three grandchildren and family, gardening, reading, fishing, swimming, singing and creating new ways for her husband to make their home cozy. 

 Craig Wignes - Advisor

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Craig Wignes - Advisor

I grew up in central MN where I spent my time outside. Fishing, camping, hiking and playing sports of any kind put me in my element. I traded the woods and lakes for the Red River Valley as I attended MN State University- Moorhead to earn my degree in Secondary Education (Social Studies). While in Fargo/Moorhead, I spent over 4 years working with at-risk youth in group home and residential treatment settings at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. After moving to Buffalo in 2005, I attended graduate school at St. Catherine University and obtained my Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I spent 11 years teaching at Knights Academy in the St. Michael-Albertville school district before joining the JGESA family. I served on the MN Association of Alternative Programs’ (MAAP)  Board for 8 years to "lead, promote and support innovative learning experiences" for all students in MN. I have always been passionate about educational innovation and I am an avid supporter of educational reform. Having the unique opportunity to combine my passion for the social sciences with my love of the natural world and serving others is not something I take for granted. I am humbled to drive on to our beautiful campus every day to work with incredible students, families, and staff. As a co-founder of JGESA, I could not be more proud of the work we have done and continue to do. My enthusiasm has never waned as the opportunity to build a world-class school for our students and families is a dream come true. It has always felt like exactly where I’m supposed to be.



 Katie Zehowski - Special Education

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Katie Zehowski - Special Education

Growing up in Minnesota, I spent a significant amount of time outdoors, traveling, and participating in a variety of sports and activities. I attended North Dakota State University and Bethel University where I earned degrees in Communication Arts and Literature (Secondary Education) and Special Education (Academic Behavioral Strategist) along with an Autism Spectrum Disorders License. I have recently decided to continue my education at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and I’m currently completing a degree in Educational Leadership to ultimately pursue a Director of Special Education License. I have spent a majority of my career working with diverse populations in alternative learning settings ranging from juvenile diversion programs to residential programs. Ultimately, these experiences have deepened my passion for educational reform and awakened a fascination for education law and organizational structures of education.

Having this unique opportunity of being a member of a quality team composed of innovative, educational leaders along with witnessing the power of Project-based Learning has not only been a humbling experience it has been a liberating journey and ultimately a dream come true.