Board Members’ Bios

Elections will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2017 (school carnival)

Annual Meeting/World’s Best Workforce Forum June 6, 2017


Katia Colon-Holmers: Katia Colon-Holmers grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and was a student of Minneapolis Public Schools in North and Northeast Minneapolis. From the age of 15-25, she worked for the City of Minneapolis as a youth worker at Northeast and Beltrami Parks. Following college graduation, she taught middle school and third grade in Newark, N.J. as a Teach For America Corps Member, then went to work as a TFA Program Director (instructional coach) with middle and high school math corps members in Philadelphia and Camden. In 2008, she moved back to Northeast Minneapolis and worked as a Recruitment Director for Teach for America and a then as a founding Program Director with the newly opening TFA Twin Cities region supporting all Secondary, Bilingual Elementary, and Special Education corps members in their development as teachers. She currently works at Lighthouse Academy of Nations Charter School in South Minneapolis as the Lead Teacher/Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She oversees all school operations, including the master schedule, all professional development, teacher coaching, and everything that affects the school climate. Katia will an extremely valuable board resource in the area of community outreach and in designing our curriculum and instructional program.


Jessica Waletski: Jessica is a parent of three boys, two current and one future Northeast College Prep students. Her oldest son was in the very first Kindergarten class at Northeast College Prep. Jessica grew up in Minnesota and she graduated from St. Cloud State University with a BA in International Relations and Political Science; she also holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Jessica is currently a Sr. Financial Analyst at Thomson Reuters. As a board member, Jessica hopes to be a representative advocating for all NECP parents as well as use her business experience in board matters.


Joanna Schneider – Board Chair: Joanna is both a board member and a founding first grade teacher at Northeast College Prep. She graduated with honors from Winona State University in 2007 and holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and Middle School Social Studies. Before joining the NECP staff, Joanna taught for several years at Hiawatha Academies in South Minneapolis as both a first and second grade teacher. She comes to NECP with a strong background in the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and has an avid interest in developing students who are both academically-minded and socially responsible. Prior to joining the NECP board, Joanna served as a board member at Hiawatha Academies for four years. Her experience as a classroom teacher allows her to bring practical insight from the daily workings of the school to board level decisions. She is also able to discern how board policies impact the lives of students, families, and staff members.


Courtney Thompson-Carter – Treasurer: Courtney graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 2004, and then became a member of the Teach For America Corps in south Texas, teaching 7th and 8th grade English for two years. Courtney then attended the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, graduating cum laude in 2009. After graduation, she began working as an associate in the Business Litigation group at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., where she is now a 4th year associate. She has also worked for individuals on a pro bono basis. Her background in teaching and her legal expertise will greatly help NECP in these key areas of start-up.


Mohamed Idle: Mohamed grow up in Mogadishu, Somalia and  was a student and soccer player for one of the most successful high schools in Mogadishu Somalia (Jamal Abdi Nasir High School, Mogadishu, Somalia) after the civil war in early 1991 his family went to Yemen where he attended Sana’a University and studied PE. Mohamed was a PE teacher in Yemen before he moved to Minnesota and worked with a nonprofit organization that Provides Supported Employment, Housing and Recovery services for people with Mental Illness. Mohamed was Supervising adults with mental illness then Mohamed started his own business. Mohamed is a small business owner and during his free time he volunteers with New American youth soccer club where he is program coordinator/parent.


Bill Graves: Bill is the founding president of The John and Denise Graves Family Foundation. Prior to his work with the foundation, Bill worked in the technology and creative consulting sectors as a business analyst, writer, producer, and resource manager. He lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Fern.


Joe Cole – Secretary: Joe is a founding teacher at Northeast College Prep. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a bachelors degree in English literature. After graduation he served as an Americorps volunteer reading tutor in California and then a Peace Corps volunteer English teacher in the People’s Republic of China. Upon completing his terms of service he returned to UCSB to attain a masters degree in Education. After teaching for many years in southern California he moved to Minneapolis and joined the NECP staff.


Jenna McKenney: Jenna is both a board member and a founding teacher at Northeast College Prep. She taught second and third grade and is now teaching art and mindfulness to grade K-5. She graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2010 and holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and Middle School Science. Before joining the NECP staff, Jenna taught for several years at Hiawatha Academies in South Minneapolis as both a second grade and Kindergarten teacher. She comes to NECP with a strong background in in Responsive Classroom and is Yoga Calm certified. She has a passion for challenging students to become life long learners, critical thinkers, and socially responsible citizens. Her experience as a teacher at NECP allows her to share insight from a student centered approach.