Campus in the fall
Melissa Stirn

Melissa Stirn

Director of Finance, Finance  |  763-279-4162

Melissa Stirn joined Perpich as finance director in 2023. Melissa brings a wealth of legislative budget and school finance experience to her role. For the 12 years before coming to Perpich, Melissa worked in and around the legislative budget process at both the Minnesota House of Representatives and at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Her first exposure to Perpich was in 2012 when she served as nonpartisan fiscal analyst for the Minnesota House of Representatives Capital Investment Committee. In that capacity she got to tour Perpich and learned about its unique niche as an residential arts high school and rich source of professional development resources for arts educators statewide.

From 2013-2016 Melissa served as the nonpartisan fiscal analyst for the House Education Finance Committee, serving under DFL and GOP committee chairs. There she honed her “big picture” understanding of school finance issues and participated in the complexities of drafting and negotiating two year omnibus policy and budget bills. She annually updated the “Financing Education in Minnesota” guide for legislators and local school officials and was a regular lecturer on school finance issues.

Melissa took a two year detour from the education finance realm during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions when she served as budget manager at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). It was a great chance to see the internal budget operations of Minnesota’s largest state agency – and second largest area of the state budget behind E-12 education (largest if you include all funds).

Prior to coming to Perpich, Melissa worked for four legislative sessions as the budget and fiscal notes coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education. Participating in the legislative budget process from the agency perspective, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, presented many unique challenges but was a fun and fast-paced endeavor.

Early in her career, Stirn served as financial advisor to school districts on bond issues, levy referendums, facility needs, etc. at Ehlers, a public finance consulting firm. She enjoyed the mix of deep financial analysis and hands-on communications with school leaders, elected officials, and the public.

Melissa received her bachelor of arts in political science from Gustavus Adolphus College and her masters of arts of public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Melissa brings her school finance expertise and legislative connections to the table in serving as Perpich’s finance director. She has two delightfully quirky, arts enthusiastic teenagers, so Perpich feels like “home.”