The DaVinci Academy Board of Directors consists of parents, teachers and a community representative. All members are elected to the board, unless an opening occurs mid-term, in which case the board has authority to fill that position.

Our school charter provides the board with the following major duties and responsibilities:

  • Providing overall direction for the development and growth of the school
  • Selecting and evaluating the school’s key administrative staff
  • Establishing and approving all major educational and operational policies
  • Approving the school’s annual budget and overseeing all fiscal affairs
  • As needed, acting as a resource for school staff
  • Approving the school’s personnel policies and monitoring compliance
  • Approving all major contracts

The board has established various committees, which focus on key components of school operations. As circumstances warrant, committees are abolished or added to address specific needs or challenges. Parent, teacher and community member participation on any of the committees is welcomed by the board.

Board Elections

The DaVinci Academy Board of Directors annual election process has begun. The terms of three board positions are expiring this coming February, 2022:

  • Parent Seat D (currently held by Emily Uhl)
  • Community Seat E (currently held by Ojonimi Ocholi)
  • At-Large Seat H (currently held by Todd Paulson)

We now invite nominations of individuals to fill these positions.  The parent seat must be filled by a parent / guardian of a currently enrolled student.  The community seat must be filled by someone not otherwise affiliated with the school.  And the at-large seat can be filled by a parent/guardian, a teacher, or a community member.

All of these positions carry three year terms, commencing in February 2022.  The board asks that you seriously consider getting involved and participate in this rewarding opportunity.  Nominate yourself, or nominate someone who you feel has the competence and vision to provide skilled governance for our school.  Nominations are due by January 3, 2022.

Please find the nomination form here.  A description of the nomination and election process is below, along with a description of current board needs.  Our goal is to ensure that individual members of the board bring the necessary skills and commitment to continue our efforts to fulfill the mission, vision, and goals of our school.

In accordance with DaVinci Academy’s bylaws, our board of directors shall consist of at least five but no more than nine members, and will be comprised of at least two Minnesota-licensed teachers employed at the school, at least three parent/legal guardians of children enrolled at the school, and at least two community members who are neither employed at the school nor have children enrolled at the school.  The remaining two at-large members can be from any one of the three categories.
Each board member brings skills that they contribute towards governing DaVinci Academy.  As a result, our board membership includes a wide variety of professional backgrounds and competencies.  Details on each of our current board members are available on our school’s website,, under the Board of Directors tab.

Serving on the Board of Directors is an important role, one with high accountability to our family stakeholders, Friends of Education (our Authorizer), and the Minnesota Department of Education.  The time commitment varies and can be large, yet rewarding.  Such commitment is critical to the success of our school and the education of our children.

The election process will follow this sequence:

  • All nominees will receive an information packet containing detailed descriptions of the requirements of board service.  It will also contain a Candidate Questionnaire for each nominee to complete.  Nominees must submit this completed questionnaire on time in order to become an official candidate for election.
  • With the information from each candidate, the board will compile a Voting Guide that lists the candidates, their qualifications, and their views on school governance.  All stakeholders will receive the Voting Guide on January 18, 2022.
  • You will be invited to a Candidate Forum during the school board meeting on Monday, January 24, 2022 at 6:30pm.  This forum will provide an opportunity to meet and question all of the candidates who are running for election.  All candidates are expected to take part in the forum.
  • Voting will begin on Monday, February 7, 2022 and end at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 28, 2022.
  • Election results will be announced at the school’s Annual Meeting, which will take place on Monday, February 28, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.

This election is critical to the continued success of our school.  We are asking you, as members of the DaVinci Academy community with a strong vested interest in our school, to nominate potential board members (including yourself) using this “Call for Nominations” form.


Thu 20

Policy Committee Meeting

January 20 @ 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm
Mon 24

Board Meeting

January 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Feb 17

Policy Committee Meeting

February 17 @ 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm


Board Members

Melanie Persellin, President, Parent Board Member
Term expires: 2023

Ms. Persellin has served on the Board since December of 2015, and was elected as Board Secretary on February 22, 2016.  Ms. Persellin is currently employed as a partner at the law firm of Jensen, Sondrall, Persellin and Woods, P.A., in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.  Ms. Persellin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and a JD from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.  Ms. Persellin has two children who currently attend the Charter School.

Lenny Ulloa Silva, Teacher Board Member
Term expires: 2022

Profe Lenny has served on the Board since May of 2019. Profe Lenny graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 2016 with a degree in Spanish and Secondary Education. He is from Valparaíso, Chile, where he completed most of his high school. Then he went to United World College of the Adriatic, an IB school, in Duino, Italy for 2 years before he moved to the United States in 2012. He student taught at the United World College USA in Montezuma, New Mexico and Willow Creek Middle School in Rochester, Minnesota. For the past two summers he has been at Concordia Language Villages working as a counselor and as a credit teacher. He loves tea and in his free time he likes to cook and hike. He taught at school in Forest Lake and now he is really excited to start another adventure at DaVinci Academy.

Todd Paulsen, At-Large Board Member
Term expires: 2022

Todd Paulsen has served on the board since May of 2019. Todd is currently a Sales Executive for Hawk Ridge Systems selling SOLIDWORKS engineering and manufacturing software and several 3D printers to businesses across the country. Prior to this current role, Todd was the Executive Director for a few colleges in Minnesota and Texas lastly Carrington College a Nursing School in Dallas Texas. Todd has prior board member experience as a community advisory board member for a Children’s Hospital and Duke University wellness center in Mesquite Texas. Todd graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University. He currently has 2 kids and 1 future attending DaVinci Academy. Todd lives in Blaine, is married, with 3 kids under the ages of 7. Todd recently started coaching Blaine Youth Hockey and if he gets spare time, loves to travel, downhill ski, bike-ride, grill, and spend time outdoors.

Katherine Borg, Board Member
Term Expires: 2022

Katharine Borg is a Kindergarten teacher at DaVinci Academy. She attended Northwestern College of St. Paul and graduated in 2009 with an AA/Bible degree.  Katharine then transferred to Bemidji State University online education program where she obtained her B.S in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Middle School Social Studies in 2012.

DaVinci Academy is a school that has a great community of support.  Katharine loves that she can collaborate with teachers within her team about student’s academics.  She appreciates the support and resources given to her to differentiate and meet her students at their levels and needs.

Idara Uko, At-Large, Parent Board Member
Term Expires: 2023

Idara Uko has served on the board since February 2020 and serves on the finance committee and the school development committee. Idara is an Engineering Director at Medtronic Plc where he works with high performing teams to deliver therapies and solutions that improve the lives of patients around the world. Idara previously served on the board of AXIS Medical Center, a non-profit clinic in Minneapolis providing primary care to underserved populations in Minneapolis. Idara obtained his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Management (B.Eng & Mgt) from McMaster University, Canada, a Masters in Applied Science (MASc) in Electrical Engineering from University of Toronto, Canada, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Minnesota -Carlson School of Management. Idara is married with three children ages 10, 7, and 4, with two kids attending DaVinci Academy.  Idara enjoys playing soccer, listening to podcasts, reading and has recently picked up hiking.

Dan Rhinhart, Parent Board Member
Term Expires: 2021

Dan currently works as an Educator Solutions Consultant at Edmentum. Prior to that, he worked as an International Account Executive for MakeMusic, Inc. Mr. Rhinhart attended Metropolitan State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in advertising.

Dan enjoys giving back to the DaVinci community and has participated in several volunteer opportunities, including the campus move, golf tournament fundraising, playground build, and some tile work in the teacher lounges. Dan has one child who currently attends DaVinci. In his spare time, Dan enjoys family time, cooking, DIY projects, golf, photography, and traveling.

Ojonimi Ocholi, Vice Chair
Term Expires: 2022

Nimi Ocholi is a Senior Director for Product Security at Medtronic with over 14 years in the Medical Device Industry. More recently, he has helped the Neuromodulation & Cardiac Rhythm Management and Heart Failure businesses in managing ongoing challenges related to Product Security of Medical Products. Nimi is actively involved in several industry forums including the Health Sector Coordinating Council – Joint Cybersecurity Working Group and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation committee. Nimi grew up and benefited from strong education in Lagos, Nigeria and London, UK. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and security training from the SANS Institute. He currently lives in Blaine, is married with 2 kids. Nimi loves to travel, loves to play sports and is an aspiring kids soccer coach.

Samantha Bickford
Term Expires:

Samantha has served on the board since September 2021. She was a member of DaVinci’s 2014 graduating class and is now at Harvard University as an online student. Samantha will be graduating with a BA in business administration and minor in economics, and she plans to continue her education locally before getting an MD and MBA. She currently works as a Sales Representative. Samantha has returned to DaVinci seven years after graduating due to her passion for learning and education. She credits much of her success in high school to DaVinci’s dedication to developing student’s ability to learn and the personalized learning strategies that were available during her time at the school. Samantha is excited to once again be a part of the DaVinci community.

Emily Uhl
Term Expires:

Emily Uhl has served on the Board since September of 2021. Emily is currently employed as an attorney at law for The Cincinnati Insurance Company in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Finance & Banking from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA, and a JD from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, NE. Emily lives in Blaine, is married, with two children who currently attend DaVinci Academy. She enjoys quality time with family, traveling, and reading.

Board Committees

Chair: Idara Uko
Vice Chair(s):

Manages the finances of DaVinci Academy with the highest integrity and ensures professional accounting practices are followed.

Meeting Schedule: The Finance Committee meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 12:30PM.

Chair: Lenny Ulloa Silva
Vice Chair:

Reviews and recommends appropriate and supportable compensation and bonus programs for teachers and staff that are in DaVinci Academy’s best interests and aligned with its business mission and strategy to reward and retain quality employees.

Meeting Schedule: The HR/Compensation Committee meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 3:15PM.

Chair: Todd Paulsen
Vice Chair:

Documents and tracks current policies and practices, reviews and recommends changes to existing policies and practices, and drafts and recommends new policies and practices, as needed.

Meeting Schedule: The Policy Committee meets on the third Thursday of the month at 1:45PM.

Chair: Katie Borg

Coordinates all fundraising and grant application activities conducted at the school to ensure those opportunities are maximized.

Meeting Schedule: Student Council will meet the second Wednesday of the month at 3:30PM.

Communication Committee
Facilitates quality communications within DaVinci Academy and from the school to stakeholders and the general public.

Facilities Committee
Vice Chair: Andy Wallschlaeger
Reviews, prioritizes, and recommends budgetary and other actions to the administration and the DaVinci Academy School Board in order to maintain and enhance the school’s buildings and grounds. This includes, but is not limited to, the recommendation of additions and upgrades to facilities, development of budgets necessary for short- and long-term facility maintenance, and review and selection of facility maintenance-related bids and contracts, and prioritization and recommendation of large equipment purchases.
This is an Ad-Hoc group committee specifically working on the school expansion. They are not currently seeking additional members.

High School Ad Hoc
Chair: Holly Fischer
Takes a leading role in assisting the administration and the DaVinci Academy School Board in developing a plan to expand the school to include grades nine through twelve. This will initially include assistance in hiring a high school coordinator to oversee the project and in creating a vision for the future high school program.
This committee was disbanded when it completed its task.

School Director Search Committee
Chair: Doug Hiatt
Coordinates all activities associated with identifying, interviewing and recruiting potential candidates to fill the school’s open School Director position.
This committee was disbanded when it completed its task.

Technology Committee
Chair: Mike Hebert

Curriculum/Technology Committee
Chair: Michelle Ingram