Caleea Kidder is the founding Dean of Students at Hiawatha Collegiate High School. Caleea was born and raised in St. Paul, educated in the Saint Paul Public Schools, and then attended the University of Minnesota, where she earned a B.A. in Spanish Studies and Child Psychology. She then earned a M.Ed. in Youth Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago, only to return home to Minnesota to serve the communities she calls home. Caleea has worked with youth as a mental health professional as well as through coordinating a college access program for Latino adolescents. Caleea believes that young people thrive when surrounded by supportive consistent adults, and she’s excited to be able to interact with young people on a daily basis. Outside of work, Caleea enjoys playing and watching basketball, trying out new recipes and playing with her children, Osca, Mabel and Willie.
Ellen Vanden Branden
Principal | Hiawatha Collegiate High School
Nicole Cooley is the founding Principal of Hiawatha Collegiate High School. She began her career in education teaching middle school in St. Louis through Teach for America. She then moved to Chicago, where she worked as a teacher and administrator at Gary Comer College Prep, a campus of Noble Street Charter School, the highest performing high school charter network in the city. While there, she led both students and teachers to unprecedented successes, most notably, 100 percent graduation and enrollment in college. In 2013, she joined the Hiawatha Team as Director of Teaching and Learning. When asked about her work, she shared “I feel amazingly grateful to be part of a network wherein one hundred percent of students will not only graduate from high school, but will be academically and personally prepared to experience both the success and challenge that will exist for them in college.”
Dean of Students
Ryan Williams-Virden is the Dean of Students at Hiawatha Collegiate High School. He was born and raised in Northeast Minneapolis. Ryan earned a B.A. in Social Studies from Hamline University and proudly represented the Hamline Pipers playing intercollegiate baseball. As a young student – and the first from his working-class family to attend college, Ryan became deeply involved and passionate around social justice and equity issues. After completing his Education licensure he taught social studies over the next nine years. Concurrent with teaching, he earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Metropolitan State University with a focus on issues of Race, Class and Gender. Ryan also has a Master’s of Education degree from the University of Illinois, with a focus on Diversity and Inclusion. Ryan is dedicated to being a driving force pushing education to realize its revolutionary potential.
Rene Ruiz Olivar
Cafeteria Staff Lead
Ninth Grade Teacher
Eleventh Grade Language and Composition AP Teacher
Special Education Teacher
Student Behavior Specialist
Ninth Grade Multicultural Literature Teacher