Board Members

group photo of DaVinci Academy Board of Directors
Board members from left to right: Jacob Stith, Sara Sweeney, Branda Maulik, Durowaa Agyeman-Mensah, Emily Uhl, Sana Soussi, Holly Fischer, Idara Uko, Melanie Persellin, Saurabh Bokil.

Melanie Persellin 

Board Chair and Parent
Term expires: June 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.

Sana Soussi

Term expires:

Bio coming soon…

Idara Uko

Term Expires: June 2024

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.

Sara Sweeney

Term Expires:

Sara Sweeney comes to DaVinci Academy with a diverse background of professional experiences. Before getting her K-6 licensure she was a preschool teacher and worked in business. Mrs. Sweeney holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Music from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a Master of Arts in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching for Concordia University St. Paul. Mrs. Sweeney is a passionate educator who loves to teach at DaVinci Academy. She has a passion for working in an environment where students come first and each student has equitable experiences.

Jacob Stith

Term Expires: June 2025

Jacob was voted into the parent position on the DaVinci Academy Board of Directors in February 2022. He graduated from Anoka Technical College with and Associates degree in Architectural Technologies. He is currently employed by Virginia Tile Company as a Territory Sales manager calling on commercial contractors, architects, designers, and national accounts in the states of Minnesota, North Dakota & South Dakota. Jacob currently has two children attending DaVinci Academy with a third starting kindergarten the summer of 2022. He is extremely excited to give back to the school community as a board member.

Jacob loves having the opportunity to give back to the school that has given his children and family as much as it has.

Emily Uhl

Term Expires: June 2023

Emily Uhl has served on the board during the 2021-2022 term and was recently reappointed in May of 2022 to serve the remaining parent term, seat F. Emily is excited to be given the opportunity to continue to serve the school community as a board member.

Emily Uhl is a litigation attorney for The Cincinnati Insurance Company and has practiced law for over 13 years.  Emily received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Buena Vista University, double majoring in Finance & Banking & Economics. She obtained her JD from the Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska.  Emily is married with 2 elementary age children that attend DaVinci Academy of Arts and Science.

Durowaa Agyeman-Mensah

Community Member
Term Expires: June 2025

Durowaa has served on the Board since September 2022. She is a proud graduate of DaVinci’s class of 2014 and credits her education at DaVinci for shaping her into a life-long learner. Durowaa received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College, double majoring in French and Gender, Women’s, Sexuality Studies. She was awarded the Grinnell President’s Medal upon graduation. She is currently the Office Manager & Special Projects Lead at Richie James Transport, Inc. and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant at various K-12 schools across the state.

In her spare time, Durowaa loves to play piano, write blog posts, and walk her toothless Pomeranian named Millie. She is eager to be a part of the DaVinci community again.

Brenda Maulik

Term Expires:

Mrs. Maulik chose to work at DaVinci Academy for many reasons! With a background in the arts, she experienced first hand the influence the arts can have in the academic success of learners. Science helps learners develop a love and appreciation of inquiry as well as an understanding of the world around them. Integrating both into all areas of instruction supports and encourages children to think critically, engage in learning in a creative way, and encourages them to try new ideas.

The DaVinci Academy Community Board had an open position for a Community Board Member (Seat C) and appointed Katie Rowles-Perich at the February meeting to complete the remainder of the term previously held.


Board Committees

Chair: Idara Uko
Vice Chair(s): Emily Uhl

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: Julie Kresh
Vice Chair: Emily Uhl

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 second Friday of the month at 1:00PM.

Chair: Dan Rhinhart

Vice Chair: Jacob Stith

The School Development Committee is a team of individuals committed to spearheading the schools’ fundraising efforts. The committee develops short and long-term strategic development plans which are focused on student and school success, and which align with the school’s strategic and financial plans. 

The team develops DaVinci’s “case for giving” and works together to ensure the proper management of donors and prospects.

Meeting Schedule: The School Development Committee 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