2020 School Board Election

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

  • 2 Parent seats (currently held by Melanie Persellin and Andy Wallschlaeger)
  • Community seat (currently open)
  • At-Large seat (currently open)

We now invite nominations of individuals to fill these positions.  The parent seats 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 2020.  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.

Please download 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.

CURRENT BOARD STRUCTURE
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, www.davincicharterschool.org, under the Board of Directors tab.

CURRENT BOARD NEEDS
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.  One of the board’s primary strategic objectives right now is the expansion of our program in our new building to serve many more students. In the coming years a plan for a high school will also be explored.

BOARD DIRECTOR SELECTION PROCESS
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 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 22, 2020.
  • You are invited to a Candidate Forum that will take place at the school during the school board meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 6:30 p.m..  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.  Please download the Voting Guide.
  • Voting will begin on Monday, February 3, 2020 and end at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 24, 2020.
  • Election results will be announced at the school’s Annual Meeting, which will take place at the school on Monday, February 24, 2020, 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.

Thank you for your consideration,
Melanie Persellin
President, DaVinci Academy Board of Directors

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.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Mon 06

Board Meeting

April 6 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Wed 08

School Development Meeting

April 8 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Wed 08

Finance Committee Meeting

April 8 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

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Board Members

Board Positions Open

Melanie Persellin, President, Parent Board Member
mpersellin@davincicharterschool.org
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.

Andy Wallschlaeger, Vice President, Parent Board Member
awallschlaeger@davincicharterschool.org
Term expires: 2023

Mr. Wallschlaeger has served on the Board since February 2014 and was a member of the Policy, Human Resources and Facilities Committees.  Mr. Wallschlaeger is currently employed as a board certified Pathologist Assistant and Teaching Specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  Mr. Wallschlaeger received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota, and holds Fellowship status with the American Association of Pathologist Assistants (AAPA).  Mr. Wallschlaeger has two children who currently attend the Charter School.

Joe Thomas, Treasurer, Parent Representative
jthomas@davincicharterschool.org
Term expires: 2022

Mr. Thomas has served on the Board since February 2018, and serves as treasurer and chair of the finance committee.  Mr. Thomas is currently employed as a Senior Financial Analyst with Land O’Lakes.  Mr. Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree from Metropolitan State University, and is actively pursuing his Masters through Bethel University.  Mr. Thomas has three children who currently attend the Charter School and he is an active basketball coach for a couple of the schools basketball teams.

Lenny Ulloa Silva, Teacher Board Member
lulloasilva@davincicharterschool.org
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.

Rohan Grama (Venkatesh), Community Member Representative
rvenkatesh@davincicharterschool.org
Term expires: 2022

Mr. Grama has served on the Board since April 2019, and serves as chair of the HR committee. Mr. Grama is currently employed as a Senior Purchasing Manager with Cummins Inc. Mr. Grama received Master of Business Administration from St Thomas University and Master of Science from Western Michigan University. Mr. Grama lives in Blaine, MN with his wife and two daughters and in his free time loves to experiment his newfound cooking skills.

Todd Paulsen, At-Large Board Member
tpaulsen@davincicharterschool.org
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
kborg@davincicharterschool.org
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
iuko@davincicharterschool.org
Term Expires: 2023

Board Committees

Chair: Joe Thomas
Vice Chair(s):

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

Chair: Rohan Venkatesh
Vice Chair: Lenny Ulloa Silva

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.

Agenda:

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Meeting Minutes:

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Chair: Andy Wallschlaeger
Vice Chair: Todd Paulsen

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.

Chair: Michelle Maciej
Vice Chair: Melanie Persellin

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

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

Facilities Committee
Chair:
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

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