Leadership TeamOperations TeamTeaching Staff

Leadership Team

Cristin Craig, Ed.S.

Dean of Students | Hiawatha College Prep

ccraig@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-990-7221

Favorite book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Favorite hobby: Sharing time with my friends and family

Ms. Craig was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!). The first in her family to graduate from college, she earned her BA degree in Youth Development Studies from North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After a year and a half of working in schools as an education assistant, Ms. Craig attended Concordia University-St. Paul for her MA in Education-Differentiated Instruction and her K-12 Special Education License. In 2015, after teaching high school and middle school special education for eight years, Ms. Craig attended the University of St. Thomas and received her Education Specialist Degree along with her K-12 Principals License. As the Dean of Students at HCP-Kingfield, Ms. Craig has worked hard to ensure that students and staff feel loved and supported in their growth academically, socially and emotionally through the implementation of restorative practices. Outside of school, Ms. Craig enjoys spending time with her dog Hopps, eating ice cream and hanging out with friends.

Rochelle Van Dijk

Interim Principal


Rochelle Van Dijk is a proud African-American and Cherokee educator and mother of three. Rochelle graduated from Harvard University in 2005 with a degree in psychology and earned her Master's in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado. She joined the '05 Teach For America corps and taught science in the Rio Grande Valley. In 2011 she founded the top performing high school in Denver: Denver School of Science and Technology in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood. Each of the students in her founding class was accepted to a 4-year college, 80% of which were first generation college-students and over 75% qualified for free-and-reduced lunch. Rochelle went on to become Chief of Schools for Denver Schools of Science and Technology and oversee 4500 students across 12 schools. Rochelle now serves students and families in South Minneapolis as the Chief Academic Officer at Hiawatha Academies.

Operations Team

Arthur Bishop

Carlos Bedoya-Ortiz

Operations Coordinator


Laura Rodriguez

Office Manager

lrodriguez@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-387-7047

Sabrina Edwards

Director of Operations | Hiawatha College Prep

sedwards@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-353-4324

Sabrina is the Director of Operations at HCP . In her free time she loves to read, travel and help the community.

Teaching Staff

Alexandra DeMarre

Amanda (Mandy) Williams

Fifth Grade Science Teacher

awilliams@hiawathaacademies.org | 651-334-0992

Favorite book: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Favorite hobby: Hiking and Canoeing

Ms. Williams is the fifth grade science teacher at Hiawatha College prep. Ms. Williams grew up in Hastings, MN and graduated from St. Mary’s University with a B.A. in Secondary English Education in 2009. After college, she joined Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, where she taught seventh grade reading. She moved back to Minnesota with her partner in 2011, and lives with her many wonderful pets. Ms. Williams is proud to be entering her 7th year at HCP, and loves working at the best middle school in Minneapolis!

Anna Shindler

Benjamin Johnson

Chelsea Ophime

Cruz Conejo

Physical Education Teacher

cconejo@hiawathaacademies.org | 847-313-8516

Mr. Cervantes is excited to start his second year as part of the Hiawatha College Prep team as Physical Education teacher. Born and raised in San Diego, Cartago, Costa Rica, Cruz began his professional education through the Universidad Florencio del Castillo in physical education. He began coming to Minnesota to serve as summer camp staff through Concordia Language Villages from 2006 until 2011. Between 2010 and 2011, Cruz worked as a Spanish Native Assistant at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Following the experience, Cruz decided to finish his bachelor’s degree in physical education through Minnesota State University Moorhead which he earned in December of 2013. He completed his student teaching at Sunrise Park Middle School and Otter Lake Elementary school in White Bear Lake, MN. Cruz’'s passions in life are to spend time with his family, teach physical education and play, watch and coach Futbol.

Debra Henry

Gabriela Stiteler

Eighth Grade Literature Teacher

gstiteler@hiawathaacademies.org | 202-316-8271

Gabriela Stiteler is the eighth grade literature teacher at Hiawatha College Prep.  She was born in Pittsburgh, but has lived in Lousiana, Texas, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.  She earned her Bachelor's degree from Oberlin College, and her Masters' in Education from the University of Maryland.  She taught at KIPP DC: Key Academy for six years before moving to South Minneapolis with her family.  In her spare time, Gabi reads mystery novels, plans trips to exciting new places, and makes a mean pizza (her favorite food).

Jean Scheaffer

Jennifer Beckham

Joana Di Meglio

Fifth Grade Humanities Teacher; Grade-Level Chair; Technology Integrationist

jdimeglio@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-408-9038

Favorite book: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Favorite hobby: Attending concerts

Ms. Joana Di Meglio is the fifth grade Humanities teacher at HCP-Kingfield. She attended the University of Minnesota-Morris and earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Social Sciences, and secondary social studies licensure. While in college, she worked as a mental health rehabilitation specialist and English Language Learner (ELL) tutor. After college, she joined Teach for America and has been teaching at HCP-Kingfield ever since. She is excited to build strong relationships with students and families as well as to support students’ growth in writing, historical knowledge, and technological literacy.

John Kaczorek

Hybrid Math Teacher Leader

jkaczorek@hiawathaacademies.org | 651-341-7821 | @@JohnKaczorek

Favorite book: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Favorite hobby: Fishing

Mr. Kaczorek was born in Milwaukee, WI, and raised in the Twin Cities. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from St. John's University and a Master's Degree in Math Education from Pace University. He began his teaching career in the Bronx, NY, teaching eighth grade math. For the next four years, Mr. Kaczorek taught fifth grade math with the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) New Jersey in Newark, NJ. In 2011, he served as the founding fifth grade math teacher at Hiawatha College Prep, and is currently the new hybrid math teacher leader. Mr. Kaczorek lives in South Minneapolis with his partner Betty and children Jon Micheal (Hiawatha Class of 2020), and Manny (Hiawatha Class of 2033).

John Wolfe

English Language Development Coordinator and Teacher


Joseph Doll

Kalimi Baxter

Kelsey Uribe

Sixth Grade Literature; Grade-Level Chair

kuribe@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-986-3504

Kelsey Uribe grew up in Wisconsin but considers Minnesota home. She graduated from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Cultural Studies. After college, she moved to South Korea to teach English for a year before returning home to be closer to family. This is her fifth year at HCP and she is honored to continue working with Hiawatha’s scholars and families! In her spare time, she loves reading, spending time outdoors with her husband Evan, singing, and teaching yoga.

Kristina Fehn

Kyler Berg

Laura Schilling

Eighth Grade Math Teacher

lschilling@hiawathaacademies.org | (248) 961-2721

Favorite book: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Favorite hobby: Anything food related

Ms. Laura Schilling is the 8th grade math teacher at HCP-Kingfield. Originally from Metro-Detroit, Michigan, Ms. Schilling received her degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. After, she spent two years teaching 8th grade math for New York City Public Schools while obtaining her Masters in Secondary Math Education. While teaching was great, the city was too big for her and her husband, Derek. They moved to Minneapolis on a whim, believing their love of lakes would make it the right city for them. And it was! She joined Hiawatha Academies in 2009 as a founding third grade math teacher and has loved being a part of this team ever since. In her free time, you can find her, Derek and her son, Mason exploring the city and all the great food it has to offer.

Lindsay Johnson

Specialist Teacher

ljohnson@hiawathaacademies.org | 608-797-5028

Favorite book: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Favorite hobby: Game nights with family and friends, theater, and being outside!

I grew up in La Crosse, WI and earned my Bachelor's degrees in English and Spanish at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2009. I studied a semester in Ecuador, teaching English as a second language. I taught sixth grade reading and writing in New Mexico for three years with Teach for American (TFA) before relocating to Minnesota to begin working at Hiawatha College Prep in 2012. I have taught fifth grade reading, fifth grade social studies, and I currently teach seventh and eighth grade drama. I love watching kids grow as actors!

Maricela Cortez Ocampo

Special Education Teacher

mcortezocampo@hiawathaacademies.org | (651) 231-5637

Ms. Cortez is a special education math teacher. She co-teaches 7th and 8th grade Math.Ms. Cortez earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. After college, she began working for a women and children’s non-profit organization in St. Louis Park, MN. Shortly after, she moved to Fort Worth, TX to be closer to her brother. She returned to Minnesota and is now working towards earning her secondary education license from Augsburg University. She now lives in NE Minneapolis (where she grew up) with her husband and her son. Ms. Cortez enjoys watching football games and boxing matches with her dad, going to the movies, eating pizza, and occasionally driving down to the South (Texas)!

Quetzalli Salas de Hernandez

Rachel Sear

Seventh Grade Language Development Teacher, M.S. Experiential Education

rsear@hiawathaacademies.org | voicemail/text: (612) 361-6659

Ms. Sear is a NY-native who moved to MN to get her Master’s of Science degree in Experiential Education degree at MSU Mankato. She was only supposed to be on campus for three months. That was nine years ago. After several years in the non-profit world running youth programs, Ms. Sear went back to school to get her teaching licenses in English as a Second Language, Communication Language Arts, and Reading Specialist at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. In a life that has involved many opportunities to travel, learn, and explore, highlights include: building houses in Thailand after the Tsunami in 2005, teaching English in a small town in France, and toasting her college graduation with her parents. In her free time Ms. Sear plays the ukulele, cooks, does improv and sketch comedy, reads and forages mushrooms.

Ryane Hardy

Eighth Grade Humanities Teacher; Grade-Level Co-Chair

rhardy@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-805-3399

Favorite book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Favorite hobby: Being active outside

Ms. Hardy is the eighth grade humanities teacher at Hiawatha College Prep. Ms. Hardy earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. After college, she moved to McAllen, TX to teach Texas History for two years. She returned to Minnesota to complete a Masters' in Education from St. Catherine University. She now lives in Plymouth with her husband, Clint. In her spare time, she loves to be outdoors, exercise, and read.

Sarah Black

Sixth Grade Humanities Teacher

sblack@hiawathacademies.org | 612-655-3275

Ms. Black is the sixth grade humanities teacher at Hiawatha College Prep. She was born in Madison, WI, but considers Minnesota her home. Ms. Black earned her B.A. in History and Social Science as well as her secondary licensure for Social Studies at the University of Minnesota-Morris. After college, she joined Teach For America and moved out to New Haven, CT, where she taught high school social studies for two years.  In 2008, she and her husband moved back home where she has been teaching middle school social studies in south Minneapolis ever since.  Outside of school, Sarah loves spending time with family and friends, reading, going to museums, supporting the Minnesota Twins, camping, and doing crossword puzzles.  She is incredibly honored to be working with the amazing scholars of Hiawatha College Prep.

Shirice Harris

Seventh Grade Literature Teacher

sbevas@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-990-3934

Shirice Harris is the seventh grade Literature teacher at HCP. She is a proud graduate of Howard University. Mrs. Harris is also a Jamaican American from Worcester, Massachusetts, who inherited a love of travel from her parents and grandparents. After nearly seven years of living and teaching overseas in the Asian-Pacific region, she and her husband, Adam, moved to Minnesota to be closer to family. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, watching films, spending time with family and snorkeling. She looks forward to her first year at HCP, working with scholars and their families.

Suzanne Blum Grundyson

Special Education Coordinator

sblumgrundyson@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-741-9434

Favorite book: As a child, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, and now, Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Favorite hobby: Playing sports and cooking

Suzanne Blum Grundyson is excited for her second year at HCP-Kingfield. Ms. Suzanne coordinates Special Education staff and services at HCP and also co-teaches eighth grade Literature and eighth grade Reading Masters. Suzanne has a B.A. in Sociology and Theology from Bethel University. Ms. Suzanne started her career running a k-6 after school program for three years on the West side of Chicago. After that, she spent six years teaching and counseling at the University of Chicago in a residential school for students with severe mental health issues. During this time, she earned her MA in Community Development. Ms. Suzanne then spent a year teaching English in Bangkok, Thailand. When she returned to Chicago she worked in Chicago Public Schools for four years while also earning an MA in Teaching students with exceptionalities-(Special Ed & Gifted and Talented.) Mexico City was the next adventure as she spent three years as the Director of Student Activities at The American School Foundation. Ms. Suzanne and her wife (Jen) returned to MN in 2015. They own a house in Midtown Phillips with their two cats, Yoda and Bear. For fun, Suzanne likes to cook, try new restaurants and food, play team sports, go cheer for the MN Lynx, and watch live theatre.

Tanya Wacholz

Seventh and Eighth Grade English Language Development Teacher

twacholz@hiawathaacademies.org | 612-876-1825

Favorite book: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Favorite hobby: Learning foreign languages

Ms. Wacholz is from Delano, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in History and German Studies. Ms. Wacholz speaks German, and is always seeking to learn new languages (Spanish and Chinese are what she is currently working on). After graduation, she spent the next five years in Berlin, Germany, where she worked as an english teaching assistant through the Fulbright program and took courses in education at the Freie Universität. In her current role as the English Language Development (ELD) teacher for seventh and eighth grade at Hiawatha College Prep, she loves seeing the creativity and humor of her students shine through!