Krissy graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato and then worked for 5 years with patients the security hospital in St. Peter, MN before going back to school to earn her teaching license in special education at Bemidji State. While she was completing her course work for her teaching license, Krissy volunteered at Jennings for a year.
Krissy worked at Academic Arts High School for 7 years as a special education teacher and eventually director before leaving the school at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Krissy promotes teacher-powered schools and when she left AAHS, they were governed by a flat leadership model. She then worked for a year providing professional development to school teams throughout the country before joining the Jennings team as an advisor.
Learner centered education, teacher leadership and education policy are priorities for Krissy so in addition to promoting student and teacher voice and choice at school, she serves on many boards and committees to support these efforts. Some of the boards that Krissy serves on are: Avalon School, Education Evolving, Edvisions Cooperative, and Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP). She is also a member of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) government affairs committee as well as a member of the advisory panel for the Innovation Research Zone at the Minnesota Department of Education.
Working at Jennings Community School has been an incredibly rewarding phase of Val’s teaching career. From travels with students to Puerto Rico, Virginia, and New Orleans, to the introduction of a school-wide annual FEAST put on by the advisories, Val has witnessed the benefits of working as a teacher in a school that follows an experiential learning model. She also thoroughly enjoys leading student reading groups on books chosen by students, teaching creative seminars, and bringing in speakers who engage the student body. Having grown up on a dairy farm and participating in 4-H, Val learned how valuable learning can be when young learners choose their topics and dive deep into the project process. Val earned her degree in English Education from Northwestern College in 1991 and taught language arts in Eden Prairie for seven years before doing six years of student teaching supervision throughout the Twin Cities. While making her return to teaching, Val had a brief exposure to an alternative education classroom and was convinced that she needed to seek out a new type of school that would allow her to work in a smaller, more nurturing environment focused on helping students follow their passions at their own pace. Recently, Val completed a work-based learning certification through Bethel University and will also work as Work-Based Learning Coordinator at Jennings. She hopes to help students earn credit through participation in mentorship/apprenticeship programs, job shadowing, internships, and more.
My name is Kristyn Martin, and I have been involved with alternative education since 2003. I am a big believer that one size does not fit all and I have been able to learn from and work with some amazing educators throughout my career. I started at Jennings CLC in the Fall of 2008 and during my experience here I have been able to take students on a variety of educational trips and MAAP STARS events. I enjoy guiding student learning in a variety of subjects but I take special interest in the areas of Physical Education and Career/Work Base Learning. I have been a member of MAAP (Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs) since 2004, and I am currently the Central Metro Regional Director for MAAP and Officer Coordinator for MAAP STARS. I believe in the Community Learning Center model and Jennings’ commitment to it. Engage, Inspire, Grow!
Liz graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 2015 with a degree in psychology. Following graduation, Liz worked for Hennepin County, working with adults with severe brain injuries, helping them reintegrate into the community. Liz became connected with Jennings Community School in 2018 while working with various schools teaching healthy relationships/life skills education. Upon working with Jennings Community School, Liz knew it was a special place and found her desire to work with the students and staff full time. Liz has thoroughly enjoyed working in an experiential learning and more nurturing school environment. She looks forward to growing her own learning as she continues to work with students and staff at Jennings!
Before starting at Jennings Community School in 2014, Sara had a long career in Finance, Merchandising and Marketing at Target Corporation beginning in 1999. Since working for Jennings, she has developed a fundraising program, procured several program contracts for a healthier, cheaper school lunch program and water system, built a strong partnership with the St. Paul Midway Chamber of Commerce, as well as pursuing grant opportunities. Originally from the Roseville/St. Paul area, she is also a trained dancer and in her spare time is a Zumba instructor for the JCC in Highland Park. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History, and enjoys traveling, live music, water sports in the summer.
Aaron Bloom is from Plymouth, MN. He graduated from Wayzata High School in 2013, and got his Bachelors in Educational Studies from the University of Northwestern St. Paul with a minor in Psychology. Aaron Bloom is a teacher to Jennings with experience in the nonprofit and public school sector. Creativity is an essential part of Aaron’s teaching. This last year Aaron created multiple classes including one that involved a Vietnam War simulation at a local park. Currently, Aaron is studying to get his Masters at Metro State, and running local events in the Twin Cities.
Alicia Chavez-Mena has been in education for many years. She is a great asset to the team and looks forward to a great year. Alicia is in charge of attendance, truancy, recruitment, lunch duties, communication and translation (Spanish Speaking), and family and community outreach point person. She completed Developmental Design Training where she learned how to build equity, integration, and diversity in the school and community settings. She is a vital part of the staff, and she has created committees within the school that focuses on anti-bullying, equity and community involvement. During her short time at Jennings, she has created and implemented crucial learning opportunities and supports that live beyond the walls of the school.
Moti Lemu is from Saint Paul, MN. He graduated from college in 2015, with a degree in Business Administration. He then received his teaching license from Hamline University in Spring 2019. This is Moti's first year at Jennings, but he comes in with three years of experience working in the field of education. Moti's teaching philosophy is one that is student-centered and social justice oriented. Furthermore, he aims to advance student's critical thinking through a focus on problem solving, interpretation and evaluation.
Steven Bailey is from Blaine, MN. He has been involved in alternative education since 2015. Since 2015, he found a home at Jennings and couldn’t see himself working anywhere else. He enjoys the process of student learning in a variety of subjects but he takes special interest in the areas of Language Arts and Physical Education. Steven coached varsity basketball at Spring Lake Park High School from 2010-2019. He believes becoming Responsible Citizens, Productive Workers, Self Directed Lifelong Learners, and Creative Healthy Individuals is essential for our students as they choose their path in life. Steven is a firm believer in the Community Learning Center model.