My name is Tasha Carpenter and I am a mother to a 10th grader at UMA and a kindergartner at Cornerstone Montessori. I am from Canada and have lived in Minnesota for 27 years. I currently work as an office manager at a chiropractic clinic for 12 years.

My passion is my kids and speaking up for them. I believe in the cliche saying “children are the future”. It is our duty as parents to provide children with all the tools to live a good life and to be good people. Respecting one another is very important as well as respecting the land we live on. Diversity is another passion of mine. I would like to help facilitate the inclusion of all cultures into daily life at UMA.

My name is Melissa David. I came to Minnesota via Texas over 20 years ago now, but it’s still unclear which state will claim me. I’ve lived in Minneapolis throughout that time, and while I love the city, the schools were unable to serve my youngest. So now we’re at UMA! My kids are 13 and 16. Both are autistic. I am also a clinical social worker. I serve adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses and youth with serious mental health struggles. I also train first responders and law enforcement in managing and deescalating mental health crises. As you can see, mental health is a passion for me, and being engaged in my communities is a priority. When my family toured UMA, we were struck by how it felt and looked welcoming to multiple identities, and I’m excited go join this community and actively contribute to it as well.

Bryan is a 12-year resident of St. Paul, MN. Born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, he holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Purdue University and a MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Bryan has worked at Cummins Inc. for 28 years, holding various roles in engineering, sales and management. He currently works as a Strategic Account Manager for Cummins in its Homes and Small Business generator market.

While living in Columbus, Bryan was part of the Planning Commission for the City of Columbus from 2006-2012. Bryan was elected President of the Planning Commission in January of 2009, and held that position until February of 2012.

Bryan is married to Mary Kate, and has two children, Brandon (13) and Natalie (12). Brandon is currently a student at Upper Mississippi Academy.

Bryan and Mary Kate struggled for years to find a school where Brandon fits in. After trying several schools in St Paul Public Schools and an online charter school, Brandon found his place at Upper Mississippi Academy. Bryan wishes to use his experience and expertise to ensure that UMA continues to be that home for Brandon and all of the other students that struggled to fit in the public school environment.

Bryan is a descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (Michigan) and has a special passion for Indigenous studies. He will champion the Indigenous education effort when and where possible.

Upper Mississippi Academy

Upper Mississippi Academy is a public charter school providing high-quality education for students in grades 6-12 in the St. Paul-Minneapolis metro area. Located in downtown St. Paul, UMA’s experiential, collaborative environment encourages dynamic teaching and learning through an interdisciplinary and multi-dimensional instructional approach.



p. 651-528-8091, opt. 2
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School Bus

p. 651-251-8080