Originally from Columbia, Missouri, Darius Husain attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota where he graduated Cum Laude with a major in Psychology and a minor in Experiential Education. After a one year appointment as SJU’s Psychology Department Coordinator, Mr. Husain was offered the position of School Counselor at Face to Face Academy. While working full time as the School Counselor, Mr. Husain pursued his Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling through the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Professional Psychology.
In the Fall of 2007, Mr. Husain was promoted to the dual position of Program Director and Executive Director. His tenure has corresponded with the Academy being named a “High Quality Charter School” (2014, 2016, 2017) by the Minnesota Department of Education, Newsweek identification of Face to Face Academy as one of America’s Top High Schools in the category Beating the Odds – Top Schools for Low Income Students, and the honor of the Wilderness & Outdoor Program as a “Best Practice” by the Minnesota Department of Education and for “Environmental Sustainability” by the St. Paul City Council.
Mr. Husain has written about and presented on a variety of educational topics including: strategies for increasing math and reading proficiency, best fiscal practices, environmental education, and addressing compassion fatigue among staff in urban schools. Darius believes it is an honor and privilege to be the head administrator of this educational community and he inspired daily by the students and staff that surround him.
Ms. Plum received a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota in 1996. She has been teaching at the Academy since 1999 as the Language Arts instructor and was recently approved to offer college credits to Academy students through the College in the Schools program. Her Academic Director duties include assisting the Academy’s School Board, leading the teaching team’s professional development, and preparing the testing cycles for the students. She also enjoys connecting with members of the community and inviting them to speak to Academy students about their unique experiences.
Mr. Bakke was born and raised in St. Paul on the Westside. He graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall High School in 1990, Brown College in 1995, Inver Hills Community College in 1996, and Augsburg College in 2008 for Special Education. He carries a licensure in EBD and SLD . Before working in schools, Bryan was a Union Floor installer for 8 years, then went back to school to be a teacher. He knew it was something he wanted to do while coaching varsity football. “Teaching students is very enjoyable to me and seeing a student work hard to graduate is very rewarding.” Bryan wears many hats at Face to Face Academy: a Special Education teacher, School Board member, one of the Lead-Teachers, Transportation Director, and Head Coach of the Face to Face Academy Mountain Bike Team. He has created new elective classes over the years like: Rock ‘n Roll History, Independent Life Skills, College and Career Prep class, and his favorite, Bike & Ski Club. Skiing, mountain biking, and music are Bryan’s passions; it’s no surprise he has incorporated these into classes so that he can introduce them to Face to Face students.
Breanna Dodge (Instructor, 6-12 Life Science, 12/19/2016-present)
Ms. Dodge received a B.A. in Biology from Metropolitan State University in 2012. She returned to school in 2014 and receive her Master’s in Teaching from Bethel University in 2016. Her student teaching was completed at Hmong College Prep Academy in St. Paul and she was a long term sub at Spectrum High School in Elk River for six months. As a former intern at the Minnesota Zoo, Ms. Dodge’s special interests are in the areas of animal science, anatomy and ecology.
Mr. Meyer received a B.S. in Secondary Education from University of Wisconsin, River Falls in 1998. He had a double teaching major in Social Studies, emphasis on history, and Communication. Jason has a MN Department of Education teaching license for social studies 7-12 and speech 7-12. He has led the Speech Team at Eden Prairie High School since 2000. Jason started working at Face to Face Academy in November of 2001 as a social studies teacher.
Loan Nguyen MSEd (Instructor, 5-12 Mathematics, 7/01/05-present)
Ms. Nguyen received her B.S. degree in Mathematics in June 2005 from the University of Minnesota and completed her Master Degree in the Fall of 2011. She completed her student teaching at Southwest High School in Minneapolis and worked previously as a math and reading tutor.
Chana began working at Face to Face Academy as a social worker in the fall of 2013. She earned her Masters of Social Work from Augsburg College the previous spring. Prior to that, she has over a decade of youth work experience in a variety of settings, including after-school programs, residential centers, shelters, and summer camps. Chana is passionate about fostering a love for life-long learning in young people through creative expression, being in the great outdoors, and self-exploration.
Mr. Roark received a B.S. in Secondary Science Education in 1993 from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Prior to coming to Face to Face Academy, he taught Biology I, Biology II, Zoology and Botany for six years at Tahlequah High School, Biology I and Physical Science one year at Wagoner High School, and Biology I and Physical Science one year at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, MN. Mr. Roark has been teaching at Face To Face Academy since September, 2001.
John Vasecka (Special Education Teacher 11/3/2014-present)
Mr. Vasecka received his B.S. degree from Bemidji State University in 1988. He later completed the SLD Special Education Licensure program at Minnesota State University-Mankato in 2002. Prior to working at Face to Face Academy, Mr. Vasecka worked in the Columbia Heights Public School District for 10 years as a tenured special education teacher. He taught special education for 7 years at the high school and 3 years at the middle school.
Lucy Voller is an artist and art educator living in Minneapolis, MN. She has a BA in both Studio Art and Art Education from the University of Minnesota in Duluth. She has taught in a variety of different settings, and actively participates in the vibrant art community of the Twin Cities. Lucy’s personal artwork includes mixed media collages, jewelry and paintings. She is eager to teach, learn and grow with the students and staff of Face to Face Academy!
Tim Zwiers LICSW (School Social Worker, October 2010-present)
Tim earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Calvin College in 2006. He worked as a school social worker in New Mexico for three years before moving to the Twin Cities to continue his education at the University of Minnesota. Tim graduated from UMN in August of 2010 with his Master’s Degree in social work.
Paul Gerten (Teacher/Wilderness Program Facilitator, 1998-present)
Paul began his teaching career at Face to Face Academy in 1998, the first year F2F was an independent charter school. He taught Social Studies and took students on outdoor trips. In 1999 Paul took a job at Minnetonka High School in their Mini School alternative education program. In addition to teaching Social Studies at Minnetonka, he averaged 30 days a year on trail with students, and coached hockey. In 2006 Paul returned to Face to Face to lead trips for their Wilderness Program. With the support of the program, trips and amount of gear grew. In 2016 he returned to the classroom to teach Current Events and Wilderness skills classes. This year Face to Face is looking forward to longer trips to more distant locations.
Kathyrn (Kelly) Richey LICSW (School Social Worker)
Kelly was a teacher for 14 years, teaching Social Studies in a high school Alternative Program. After earning her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work, she transitioned into school social work. From 2010-2013 Kelly worked part-time at Face to Face Academy as a school social worker. Although she took a full-time position in the district where she had been a teacher, Kelly continues to return to Face to Face each year during the summer session. She feels passionately about the work that the Academy is doing for youth in the community, and is proud to be a member of the Face to Face family.
Rachel Samuelson (Social Worker)
Rachel is one of the Social Workers at Face to Face. She started out as an intern in 2015 and was hired on part-time in the Fall of 2016 as an Educational Assistant. Rachel received her Master of Clinical Social Work degree from The University of St.Thomas/St. Catherine’s University here in St. Paul. She has worn many hats but has continuously worked with children, adolescents, and their families. ” I hope you and your student will enjoy being part of the Face to Face family as much as I do.”
Joe Aliperto & Brian Robinson (Financial Officers/Dieci School Finance)
Jennifer Heieie (Special Education Director/Indigo Education)
Carol Zempel PhD, LP (School Psychologist)