James Gagner

Position:
Principal & Executive Director
Email:

I am honored to be part of the Phoenix Academy Family. Each year, I look forward to meeting our students and their families. The success of your child depends on us working together, and it is a responsibility I take seriously. As the principal of Phoenix Academy, I embrace the opportunity to partner with you to provide our students with challenging, engaging and memorable school experience. As I enter my 28th year in education, I am fortunate to have had a variety of opportunities to prepare me for this one of a kind platform in my professional career. The bulk of my teaching experience was spent at the first grade level. After seventeen years of teaching, my career path led me into administration. I have spent time as a principal, executive director, and program coordinator. My Master’s Degree is in School Leadership through the University of Sioux Falls. With my Bachelors's Degree in elementary education from Southwest Minnesota State University. A few other items to know about me would be my service to our country as I enter my 30th Straight year of military Service. At this time, I am a proud member of the Air National Guards at the185th ARW, Sioux City Iowa. One weekend a month and 30 days a year, I go by Chief Gagner and not Mr. Gagner. I enjoy time as a sports official while refereeing to basketball and football. On a more personal note, I am the father of two beautiful daughters. Tiffany is married to my Son-in-law Eric Sackett and they both live in Temecula California. My daughter Ariel was silently born on the 17th of September, 2012. She is my little Angel. I love both of my daughters like crazy. I look forward to building strong relationships with parents, students, and community partners. I am committed to ensuring that every Phoenix Academy student is safe, loved and cared for when they reside in school here. Please know that my door is always open. Feel free to stop in, call, or email me to discuss any concerns, suggestions or ideas to help make this year the best year yet! I feel truly blessed to be part of such a special school community.

Delaney Walsh

Position:
Kindergarten Teacher
Email:

Hi! My name is Ms. Walsh! I graduated from St. Cloud State University and earned my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. This will be my third year of teaching and I am loving every moment of it. Outside of school, I love to spend time outdoors and with my family. I am looking forward to a great year!

Erica Parrish

Position:
1st Grade Teacher
Email:

I am so happy to be a part of the Phoenix family! I am looking forward to working with you and your child, and I know it will be another fantastic year in First Grade!

I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota in 2009. This will be my 8th year of teaching, and my 3rd year of teaching First Grade at the Phoenix Academy.

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching movies, camping, and traveling. I live in Forest Lake, Minnesota with my wonderful husband and fur baby (a cat ironically named “Kitten”).

Feel free to stop in, call, or email me anytime to discuss any questions or concerns!

Sonja Govednik

Position:
1st/2nd Grade Teacher
Email:

This is my 21st year in education. I have taught grades k-6 and have enjoyed all age levels. However, primary grades are my favorite. During my prior teaching career, I spent the majority of my time teaching Language Arts and Math Skills. I love being a teacher! This is my 3rd year at Phoenix Academy of Art and Science. This is an amazing family. The kids, parents and teachers are wonderful at Phoenix and definitely make being a teacher worth it!


On a personal note, I have an amazing husband named James who always makes me laugh. I also have three fantastic kids. Zachary who will always be my 18 month old little boy that watches us from above each day, Abbie who loves to play softball and Owen who loves to play soccer and football.


In my free time I am driving my kiddos to sports and school activities. But I always try to squeeze in time for a good book.

Heather Pemper

Position:
2nd/3rd Grade Teacher
Email:

I am so excited to be a part of the Phoenix Academy family. I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Scholastica in December of 2019. Teaching has always been my passion. My goal as a teacher is to instill a love of learning within each student. Currently I live in St. Francis, MN with my family. I am married to my husband Jacob. We have 2 wonderful children, Bethany (9) and Brayden (1). They keep us very busy and bring so much joy to our lives! I love spending time with my family and being in the great outdoors. Reading is also one of my favorite pastimes as well as spending time in my garden and canning all sorts of goodies. I am looking forward to a great school year!

Mary Stamm

Position:
4th Grade Teacher
Email:

I am so excited to be working at the Phoenix Academy of Arts and Science. I have spent the last seven years working as a substitute teacher so I am thrilled to be teaching everyday and having a class of students to call my own. I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in secondary education (Social Studies w/ an emphasizes in history) from St Cloud State University. I recently earned my Masters of Teaching degree in Elementary Education from Concordia University, St. Paul. This is my first year teaching 3/4th grade and I am having a blast.

On a personal note, I have an awesome husband named Jason and a sweet eleven year old daughter named Emma. My favorite activities include: watching my daughter dance, spending time with my nephews, having coffee with my mom, and hanging out with my fur babies (two dogs named Scruffy and Mika).

Amanda Shoquist

Position:
4th/5th Grade Teacher
Email:

Hello my name is Ms. Shoquist I teach 4th/5th grade here at Phoenix Academy. I started with Phoenix in 2019 as the special education teacher. I love that Phoenix is not just a school but a family. I just moved to Taylors Falls with my significant other Tyler, our 1 year old daughter Cora, a 3 year old labradoodle Rex, and 14 chickens. When I am not at school I like to take Cora to the park, go camping, and be around family. I am so excited for this year !!!

Joseph Worwa

Position:
6th Grade Teacher
Email:

Joe is a 6th Grade Teacher at Phoenix Academy. He graduated from Minnesota State University with a degree in marketing and received his teaching license from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He enjoys spending time with his family and likes to play golf and guitar. His favorite subject to teach is math and he enjoys traveling and learning new things.

Amanda Schloer

Position:
Online Learning Coordinator
Email:

Hello, I am so glad to be here at the Phoenix Academy! This is my eleventh year in education. I love working with kids and watching them grow. I am currently the 7th grade class Advisor.

I am a mother to five children and I also have three bonus children.I have a great boyfriend Brent, who I grew up with here in North Branch. I moved back to the area about three years ago.My family and I love to fish, hunt, go pontooning, be outside, camping, and go for motorcycle rides.
My Favorites:
Season: Fall
Sport: Soccer
Drink: Coffee or V8
Restaurant: Newt's or Olive Garden
Color: Cyan
Hobby: I love to Read and craft

Amanda Fredlund

Position:
Special Education Teacher
Email:

I am Ms. Freddy, one of the Special Education teacher’s here at Phoenix Academy. This is my second year teaching. I have worked in education for 8 years! I have fallen in love with how close the staff and students are at the Phoenix Academy of Art and Science and I am so excited to see what this year brings! I graduated from Southwest MN State University in 2019 with my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and am currently re-enrolled as a student at SMSU earning my Special Education licensure. I just moved to North Branch at the end of September! Outside of school, I love spending time with family and learning new things outdoors.

Lauren Gilkerson

Position:
Special Education Teacher
Email:

Sarah Johnson

Position:
Music And Theater Teacher
Email:

I am Sarah Johnson, music and theater teacher at Phoenix Academy of Art and Science. This is my third year at Phoenix, and my 12th year teaching music overall. I grew up in Richfield, MN and graduated from Richfield High School. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree at Gustavus Adolphus College, and I am currently working on earning my Masters Degree in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas.

I am currently living in Cambridge, and make frequent treks to the cities to visit my family and friends. My mom still lives in Richfield, and my brother and his wife live in Arizona. In my free time I like to read, play my ukulele and sing, cook, and take my dog Dawson for walks.

I am really looking forward to a great school year!

Holly Pedersen

Position:
Art Specialist
Email:

I am Ms. Holly the Art Specialist here at Phoenix Academy. I have two children, my son Sevren (12yrs.) is a polite, quiet young man with a heart of gold, and then there is the miniature version of me whom I named Zayda (10yrs.), she is spunky, very eccentric, and has an eclectic personality!

I have an AMAZING mom that made sure that my love for the Arts flourished, I went to City of Lakes Waldorff Art Academy as a youngster, had some amazing experiences there (best school I ever went to until I started teaching at Phoenix Academy). At 14, I started volunteering at Nursing Homes, which made me realize that I love helping others. I went to school for my MA, worked in hospitals, nursing homes and homes for disabled adults.

I have always loved art, which is why I started my own art business ( I don’t really sell much, I just make things and tend to give them away---I’m a starving Artist so to speak ;-) ). I also love Horses (I don’t have any though… but I have chickens so that’s almost the same thing!!!), swimming, figure skating, camping… I am always in the mood for coffee—the more shots of espresso the better, I like most chocolates (stuff with coconut in it is yucky), and my favorite color is Teal!!!

That’s all the important things about Ms. Holly!!!

Lori Haigh

Position:
Distance Learning Coordinator
Email:

Ashley Harless

Position:
Paraprofessional
Email:

Brittney Anderson

Position:
Paraprofessional
Email:

Dave Nelson

Position:
Facility & Maintenance
Email:

Dionna Guider

Position:
Lunchroom Assistant/Before & After School Coordinator
Email:

Heather Mench

Position:
Technology Coordinator/Paraprofessional
Email:

Katie Piehl

Position:
Front Office Manager
Email:

Kelly Flores

Position:
Food And Nutrition Director
Email:

Somehow I started my career early on in life not knowing this is where I would be! Since I was fifteen I worked in kitchens, restaurants and grocery stores. Not only was I good at cleaning and washing dishes, I have always had talent with cooking and baking. To say all of this, I am so grateful that I get to manage the Phoenix Kitchen! Also, being a mom of two girls, I understand the importance of making healthy meals a priority so that they have the potential to be their best in school!

Maggie Holmes

Position:
Paraprofessional
Email:

Maggie Holmes is a North Branch graduate and seven year Army National Guard veteran. She and her husband have two children, one that will be entering her second year at Phoenix Academy. Maggie has an AAS Degree in Child Development from St. Paul College and has run her own in home day care for the past nine years. She enjoys anything outdoors including camping, archery and skydiving.

Sue Hefta

Position:
Paraprofessional/Before School Care Assistant
Email:

38460 Lincoln Trail, Suite 1
North Branch, Mn 55056
Office Hours: School days from 7:30 am - 4:00 pm
Tours given by appointment. Please contact the front office to schedule a tour.
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Authorized by: Minnesota Guild of Public Charter Schools (www.guildschools.org)