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.


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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.

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, Community Board Member
Term Expires: 2024

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.

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.

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.

Emma Fisher, Board Member
Term expires: 2025

Emma Fisher joins the board in 2022 with a 25-year background in nursing, with 15 of those years in the Intensive Care Unit. She has two children who receive special education services at Davinci Academy and has a keen interest in helping the special education community. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and owns and operates an e-commerce business. Emma enjoys travelling, spending time with her family and trips to England. Her favorite aspect of DaVinci Academy is the diversity and is one of the reasons she wanted her children to join the school.

Jacob Stith
Term Expires: 2024

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: 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.

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: Julie Kresh
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 second Friday of the month at 1:00PM.

Chair: Katharine 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