Leadership TeamOperations TeamTeaching StaffStudent Support

Leadership Team

Caleea Kidder

Assistant Principal

ckidder@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 651-485-1148

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

Nadia Nibbs

Dean of Instruction

nnibbs@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-281-6653

Nicole Cooley

Principal | Hiawatha Collegiate High School

ncooley@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 920-740-3963 | Office: 612-547-9056

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.”

Ryan Williams-Virden

Dean of Students

rwilliams-Virden@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-251-3366

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.

Operations Team

Abdi Ali

Danny Smith

Alumni Coordinator

dsmith@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 312-869-1780

Natalie Trevino

Dean of Students

nheath@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 608-386-5907

Raquel McLaughlin

Director of Operations

rmclaughlin@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-578-8935

Rene Ruiz Olivar

Cafeteria Staff Lead


Teaching Staff

Alex Richtman

Ninth Grade Literature Teacher

arichtman@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 651-757-6238

Alicia Gruenwald

Science: Chemistry Teacher

agruenwald@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-310-4180

Amy Carlson

Math-Algebra Teacher

acarlson@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-220-5301

Andrew Pearce

Chris Mah

Ninth Grade Multicultural Literature Teacher

cmah@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 425-247-5176

Dana Hanson

Tenth Grade World Literature Teacher

dhanson@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-600-5451

Erica Miller

Gabriela Xochihua-Strickland

Spanish Language and Art Teacher

gxochihua@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-227-2887

Grace Peterson

Administrative Coordinator

gpeterson@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 651-246-4818

Jacob Frush

Pre-Calculus Math Teacher

jfrush@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-695-6123

Jen Swenson

Early College Seminar Teacher

jswenson@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-385-4426

Jessica Macken

Math: Algebra Teacher

jmacken@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 518-527-0962

Joe Kennealy

History and Social Sciences: World History Teacher

jkennealy@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-600-3094

John Connolly

Twelfth Grade Speech and Composition Teacher

jconnolly@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 630-878-2290

Jordan Humble

Science: Biology Teacher

jhumble@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-220-1769

Kelsey Clodfelter

Eleventh Grade Language and Composition AP Teacher


Lauren Bouchard

Special Education Teacher

lbouchard@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 609-204-1907

Lindsay DeLand

English Language Development Teacher

ldeland@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-345-1622

Marcus Berg

History and Social Sciences: Civics Teacher

mberg@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-770-2463

Maryan Yusuf

Special Education Teacher


Meg O’Connor

Ninth Grade Speech and Composition Teacher

moconnor@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-281-0996

Molly Naylor

English Language Development Teacher

mnaylor@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-440-1087

Morgan Mero

Student Behavior Specialist


N’Jai-An Patters

Social Science: Government and Politics AP History and Social Studies

npatters@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-805-8106

Patrick Hueller

Eleventh Grade Rhetoric and Composition Teacher

phueller@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 651-707-4688

Roberto Lazo

Spanish Language Teacher

rlazo@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 646-752-4572

Sarah Barott

Scott Kolman-Keen

Spencer Virden

Stephen Watkins

Special Education Teacher

swatkins@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 612-578-4815

Stia Jama

Dean of Specialized Instruction

sjama@hiawathaacademies.org | Mobile: 952-769-4686

Tyler Monroe

Ninth Grade Multicultural Literature Teacher


Student Support

Dylan Glines

Student Support Assistant


Emily Thorinski