Substitutes assume roles for maternity leave counterparts

Newborns for teachers brings new teachers to SPA

November 14, 2017

Teachers are humans too, and with the approaching end to the first semester of this school year, family duties call for US science teacher Christine Swichtenberg and physical education teacher Cari Jo Anderson. Anderson recently left on maternity leave, and Swichtenberg will leave when her baby arrives.

Minter takes over Fitness for Life


Mimi Geller

Kellan Minter is the new substitute teacher for fitness for life.

Kellan Minter, the newly hired end of year substitute for Anderson, started his position in early November. Minter attended Boise State University and has taught physical education at White Pine Elementary in Idaho. For Minter, student improvement is essential.

“I’ve always been drawn to sports and fitness. I enjoy the opportunity to impact young people in physical education by helping build confidence and equip them with skills that they can continue to use far beyond high school,” she said.

Minter’s interest in SPA was peaked after meeting the people within the community. From faculty and students to staff, he believes the climate at SPA is unmatched in diversity and locality.

“SPA has such a warm and inclusive culture. I love that SPA values diversity and strives to be progressive. After spending time with [Cari Jo] Anderson and meeting with some of the other staff, it was very obvious to me that SPA is a place that sets students and faculty members up for success. I am very excited to a part of such a wonderful school,” Minter said.

Minter assures that she will both teach students and be taught by students at SPA, and the task is one that he accepts with determination. He looks forward to challenging himself as well as his students.

Muncy to join science department


Mimi Geller

Sarah Muncy will replace Swichtenberg in the science department.

Sarah Muncy, who will replace Swichtenberg, currently teaches biology at Normandale Community College. Before pursuing higher education, Muncy first worked in customer service, until she realized she wanted to explore her love of science at a university. She went to North Hennepin Community College, the University of Minnesota, Stellenbosch in South Africa, Winona State University and the University of Nebraska. Muncy, who first went to the University of Minnesota before traveling to South Africa, returned with a newfound realization that she needed to pursue science within an ecology program which brought her to Winona State University.

Her devotion to the field of biology and science caught her eye when visiting St. Paul Academy and Summit School.

“You guys [SPA] has a really great program. This school has a reputation in the Twin Cities area for having a great science program and I heard things about it, so when a job opened up I thought, ‘let me check this out.’ I came and visited for a day and I was really impressed with what was going on, and I’m glad I’m here,” Muncy said.

I am looking forward to the students showing me many things, because you guys are really smart and you have a great education.”

— Sarah Muncy

Her educational pursuits gave her breadth in the field of biology. Muncy has conducted extensive field research in biology, particularly with cockroaches, and has always felt a strong connection with insects.

“I was always a little weirdo kid running around with jars, finding bugs, frogs, turtles, anything I could put into a jar for a week and then let it go. I was that kid. I loved worms, digging in dirt and would find myself asking ‘what’s under here?’ Flipping rocks was my favorite thing,” Muncy said.

Muncy’s teaching style is similar to that of an interpreter. She enjoys the thrill of teaching and conveying scientific realities to her students, who are often shocked at the seemingly unbelievable information. She hopes to be able to explain the unexplainable.

I being the conduit for such crazy information that sometimes students aren’t aware of. Being able to guide them, and let the students then take off on their own and pushing them in the right direction for what they want to learn [is why I teach],” Muncy said.

“I am looking forward to the students showing me many things, because you guys are really smart and you have a great education. I think you’re going to make me up my game a little bit, frankly. I think I need to bone up on some things so that you guys really have a great experience,” Muncy said.

The substitutes for Swichtenberg and Anderson will be finishing out the rest of the academic year and serve as advisors.

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