Student Services Staff
Ekpedeme AkpanDirector of Human Resources Human Resources
James AllenMusic Instructor High School
James Allen has a B.A. in music performance and a diploma of education. He joined the faculty in 1999 as a guitar specialist and also teaches jazz/rock theory, improvisation and history and styles. In addition to teaching at the arts high school, he is on the guitar faculty at MacPhail Center for Music. Allen has previously taught at a number of high schools and colleges in Minnesota and Australia. He has performed as a professional musician throughout the Twin Cities and the Midwest for the last 18 years both as a solo artist, a member of a number of bands and as a freelance musician. He is featured on several recordings, including a duo album with local jazz singer Vicky Mountain.
Pat BenincasaChair of Visual Arts Instruction High School
Chair of Visual Arts Instruction
Pat Benincasa was adjunct faculty in the foundations department at the College of Visual Arts for six years until its closing in June 2013. She also is on the faculty of St. Mary's University of Minnesota Graduate School of Business & Technology, where she teaches advertising design. In her current work about Rust Belt cities, Benincasa paints with industrial materials on sheet metal. She recently received an Award of Excellence from the American Juried Art Salon and was one of four artists selected for an artist residency and exhibit at the Toronto School of Art. She has a M.F.A. and M.A. from Wayne State University in Detroit and K-12 licensure from St. Catherine University, St. Paul.
Joćo BichinhoSocial Studies Instructor High School
Social Studies Instructor
João Bichinho received a B.A. in history from New England College, New Hampshire and an M.A. in teaching from Mankato State University. He has taught at Perpich since 1992. He previously taught at the American International School in Lisbon, Portugal; Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul, and - while on leave in 2008-09 - at Quest Academy (a charter school) in St. Louis Park. He is originally from Mozambique, and has also lived in South Africa, Portugal and England.
Peg BirkInterim Executive Director Administration
Linda BrobeckBoard of Directors
Rebecca BullenChair of Media Arts Instruction High School
Chair of Media Arts Instruction
High Schoolrebecca.firstname.lastname@example.orgRebecca Bullen has worked with the Perpich Center for Arts Education since 2009. Her position has included media arts teacher, education specialist and during the 2013/14 school year she worked with Crosswinds Arts and Science School to develop its visual and media arts program.Bullen has presented at local and national conferences including Arts Educators of Minnesota, TIES, the Religious Educators Association and most recently, a media literacy session at the 2014 National Arts Educators Conference. In 2012 she received the Robert Rauschenberg Power of Art Award and in 2013 she traveled to New York with one of her media arts students to celebrate her gold key Scholastic Arts Award at Carnegie Hall.Prior to joining the Perpich faculty, Bullen worked with the non-profit organization TVbyGIRLS as associate director, youth program co-director, producer and instructor. Her job included writing media arts curriculum, teaching and designing workshops for a diverse community of youth.Bullen has a BFA in media arts and interactive design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and more than 15 years of experience in film and media production. Her roles have included producer at Twin Cities Public Television, associate producer for numerous nationally recognized independent documentary features and local commercial work.
Suzanne BurshAdministrative Assistant Outreach
Suzanne Bursh is lead administrative specialist and budget coordinator for Perpich Arts Outreach. She has helped to host numerous Perpich agency events, workshops and receptions. She studied elementary education at the University of Minnesota and pursued culinary training in hotel and restaurant cooking at the St. Paul Vocational and Technical School and baking at Dunwoody Institute.
Alina CampanaTurnaround Arts: Minnesota Director Outreach
Jan CareyBoard of Directors
Board of Directorsjaneen.email@example.comJan Carey is a retired academic librarian, career educator and arts advocate. She holds a B.A. in speech communications and theater arts, along with a Minnesota secondary teaching license and an M.A. in information media, both from St. Cloud State University. Post-graduate work includes courses at the Umbria Institute, Perugia, Italy and Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Oxford, England.In 2011, Carey completed a 29-year career in education with Hibbing Community College. Throughout her career, she was a state leader and advocate for library issues and systems, while advancing her passion for the arts in her community. Also during her career, she served as Hibbing chapter president of MN State College Faculty (MSCF), MSCF contract settlement campus coordinator, MSCF State Board of Directors, and MSCF State Executive Board.As an arts advocate, Carey coached and judged MSHSL one-act play contests and speech tournaments for more than 35 years. Currently, she is an evaluator for the Hennepin Theater Trust “Spotlight Musical Theater” program.Carey served and currently serves on several boards. Locally, these include the American Association of University Women, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Arrowhead Regional Theater, Encore of Hibbing, Fairview Range Hospital Auxiliary, Hibbing Public Library Board of Trustees, Mesabi Concert Association, MN Discovery Center, North Country Library Cooperative, Northern Lights Music Festival, Organs in Revue and Respite Care."The arts are my passion. To serve and support arts organizations and educational institutions that foster and build arts programs is, for me, life's most enriching experience."
Tom CarlsonEnglish Instructor High School
Tom Carlson teaches literature and writing. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in teaching from the University of St. Thomas and has completed coursework toward licensure in secondary administration at St. Mary's University. Carlson received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to participate in a month-long summer institute in Ashland, Oregon, focusing on Teaching Shakespeare through Performance. During the spring of 2012, he was the recipient of an EdMN Foundation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Technology grant, and has integrated iPads into his classroom instruction. His students have performed on KFAI through the W.A.V.E. program and on the stage at the Walker as part of Teen Art Council's "Bad Art Night."
Kevin ClarkEnglish Instructor High School
Kevin Clark earned a B.A. in German and speech communications from Westmar College and taught English in Francophone West Africa (Chad and Senegal) with the Peace Corps. Upon completion of his foreign service, he attended the University of North Dakota, where he completed graduate coursework in German literature with a minor in French. He helped to create, and currently teaches, a course with the University of Minnesota/College in the Schools program in communications. Clark was a leader for a trip to Berlin and St. Petersburg with the Perpich Arts High School Study Tour class in 2008. He also has led Perpich class trips to China in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He received a Fulbright Award in 2013 to travel to Germany for studies there.
Joshua ClausenElectronic Music Instructor High School
Electronic Music Instructor
Clausen is a Minneapolis-based composer, music producer and educator. He is a co-founder of Slam Academy, a small business dedicated to community education in the electronic arts. Clausen has composed works for the Renegade Ensemble, the Antithesis Project, AVIDduo, Keith Kirchoff and Kyle Hutchins and has recently been awarded commissioning grants from the Jerome Foundation and MacPhail Center for Music. Clausen’s work has been presented at numerous festivals and conferences of new music including the International Computer Music Conference, Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest and the Spark festival. Clausen earned a B.M. (theory) and M.A. (composition) degrees from Concordia College and the University of Minnesota, respectively.
John ColburnLiterary Arts Instructor High School
Literary Arts Instructor
John Colburn, who teaches seniors in literary arts, is an editor and co-publisher for Spout Press as well as an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University. He has an M.F.A. from the University of Minnesota. He has published a book of fiction, "Invisible Daughter" (firthFORTH Books, 2013) and a volume of poetry, "Psychedelic Norway" (Coffee House Press, 2013).
Nathan CoulterBoard of Directors
Board of Directors
Nathan Coulter graduated from St. Olaf College in 2008 with a BA in music education and a BA in political science. He now serves as legislative assistant to state Sen. Melissa Halvorson Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington), who serves on both the education policy and finance committees. He teaches Sunday school at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.
Daniel CrapoResidence Coordinator Resident Services
Dan Crapo started volunteering with youth at a community center in 1996. Since then he has volunteered, both part-time and fulltime, in various youth organizations. He has lived and worked in the Twin Cities since 2012 and is from Indianapolis. He received bachelor's and master's degrees of divinity from Cornerstone University. He enjoys bicycling, hiking, playing soccer, coaching kids' sports and reading anything by Wendell Berry. He is married with two sons.
Fun fact: In one year during college he was both the Golden Eagle Atheletic Department winner in soccer and acted in an original adaptation of "Wuthering Heights."
Anne DennisonLibrarian Library
Anne Dennison graduated from The College of St. Catherine with a master's degree in library and information science. She joined the Perpich Library staff in the fall of 2010. Previously, she taught English in Bratislava, Slovakia for two years and worked at Hennepin County Library. She loves reading young adult literature and playing drums.
Lori DirckxAccounting Technician Finance
Julia DonnellyBoard of Directors
Board of Directorsjulia.firstname.lastname@example.orgJulia Donnelly graduated from Perpich in 2001 in literary arts. Upon graduation, she attended the College of St. Catherine and the University of Minnesota.Donnelly has a degree in political science and has spent the last 10 years in policy making, both in Washington, D.C. and Minnesota. Currently, she serves as political and legislative director for the Operating Engineers Local 49, a building and construction trade union.Her time at Perpich helped form her world view, fostered her passion for social justice, and taught her to always speak up. Donnelly is extremely proud to be a Perpich alum and carries her love for the school into her role as a board member.
Karla DonnerFront Desk/Attendance Clerk High School
Elaine DrivasSpanish Instructor High School
Elaine Drivas teaches Spanish at the arts high school. She received an undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She participated in a junior year abroad program at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. She received an M.A. in teaching (secondary Spanish) from the University of St. Thomas. She also has licensure in bilingual education and ESL from Hamline University. Before coming to Perpich, she taught middle school in Minneapolis Public Schools.
Nathan DuffyDirector of Technology IT
Craig FarmerArt History Instructor High School
Art History Instructor
Craig has been teaching art history at the high school level since 1992. He started his teaching career at the Field School of Washington, DC. He recently participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities’ "Empires of the Wind" Workshop in San Diego. In the summer of 2015, he received a College Board Scholarship to attend an Advancement Placement Art History Exam Redesign Workshop in Miami. Since 2008 he has been an adjunct instructor in The University of Minnesota’s Curriculum and Instruction Department. Craig holds a B.A. in art history and history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an M.A. in teaching from the University of St. Thomas. He was the graduation speaker for the classes of 2002, 2011, and 2015.
Bob FreySocial Studies Instructor High School
Social Studies Instructor
Bob Frey began teaching at the arts high school in 2002. Prior to teaching, he worked in the Twin Cities legal community. He has a B.A. in political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He completed coursework for his teaching certification at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. He's performed in Minneapolis as a singer-songwriter since 1993 and continues to write, play and perform.
Jody GentzStudent Records Coordinator Student Services
Student Records Coordinator
Jody Gentz has worked at Perpich Arts High School since June, 1997. She began as the attendance clerk and two years later began helping with admissions work. She was shortly promoted to records coordinator and began to work closely with admission process.
Todd GoetzeAccounting Finance
Jody GramsBoard of Directors
Daniel GriffithsResident Hall Director Resident Services
Resident Hall Director
Daniel Griffiths is best described as a LIFER when it comes to working with students. Griffiths--or as high school students and student leaders from over 10 different countries around the world call him, "Mr. G"--brings with him 20+ years in student development in a variety of domestic and international, private and public arenas.
His passion is to reach and empower students and their supporting entities with the necessary assets to lead powerful and productive lives of influence in the world. He has an M.A. in leadership with an emphasis in student identity development, and is the founder/CEO/author of P.A.R.T.Y. Inc. Research and Consulting, a major leader in student identity theory and development practices.
Kathy GrundeiEducation Specialist - Arts Integration Outreach
Shannon HanniganLiterary Arts Instructor High School
Literary Arts Instructor
Shannon Hannigan has taught literary arts to arts high school juniors since 1994. Prior to this, she worked in publishing and book sales, editing and photo composition. She completed the coursework for an M.A. in liberal studies, creative writing emphasis, at Hamline University, and earned a B.A. in English and secondary education at Macalester College.