NSA Educational Leadership Team

Samantha Chavez

Front Desk Reception

Kate Maki

Special Projects/Operations Coordinator

Ms. Kate returns to the NSA team this year to assist with enrollment, busing, communication and other important projects. She is a parent of a 4rd grader and is a tireless cheerleader for all things NSA. One thing we all appreciate about Kate is that she gets things done! She will bring her straight-forward, positive, can-do attitude and sense of humor to help keep NSA running smoothly.

Kendra Hunding

Lead Teacher

Ms. Kendra Hunding will resume her role coordinating the environmental education and science program, and some other less interesting administrative duties. This year she is focused on NSA’s math program to assist and support students and teachers in mathematics teaching and learning. A recovering math-phobic, she now loves to share the wonder and beauty of mathematics with kids and teachers.

Zach Fjelstad

Special Education Teacher

Mr. Zach has a Masters’ Degree in Special Education from St. Cloud State University. He lives with his family on a farm in Wisconsin with some chickens and goats. Mr. Zach believes that students should leave school as problem solvers, productive workers, motivated learners, and healthy human beings.

Scott Hessian

Literacy Specialist

This will be “Mr. H.’s” 5th year at NSA. He has been the K/1 Barn Owls teacher for his first 4 years at NSA. He is looking forward to working with his students from last year but also kids in all the grade levels in his new role. Mr. H. lives in St. Paul with his wife and children and a Great Dane named Winston. He enjoys travel and hiking around the mountains in Montana.

Katie Camacho

Special Education Teacher

Eleanor Menso

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Menso is a new face at NSA this year. She is graduate of St. Catherine University and in addition to her elementary teaching credential she also has a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) certification. She has worked as a 1st grade elementary science specialist and did part of her teaching field work at Northrup Urban Environmental Learning Center in Minneapolis. An avid swimmer, Ms. Menso has also worked as a lifeguard, swim coach and assistant camp director.

Katrina Nichols

2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher

Ms. Nichols looks forward to a return to the classroom this fall to lead the Tree Frogs. It is her 5th year at NSA, having begun her career with us as the 4/5 Otter teacher for 3 years and a successful stint as our Literacy Specialist last year. She spent some time traveling to Canada’s rugged Northeastern coast this summer. Her life mission is working toward a kinder, fairer, freer, greener world, and she's thrilled to be coming back to NSA for a 5th year of doing just that. 


Phill Menge

2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher

Mr. Menge returns to lead the Leopard Frogs. He grew up in Arden Hills, Minnesota, and now lives in Saint Paul. He is a graduate of Hamline University and loves music and has played guitar since he was in elementary school. He also enjoys hiking, reading, watching cartoons, traveling, drawing, and swimming.

Kristin Raveling

4th and 5th Grade Teacher

 Ms. Raveling (pronounced: Ray-veling) returns to the Otter class this year, bringing with her, expertise in both science and outdoor education from her years as a naturalist teaching at the Minnesota Valley Wildlife refuge and as an instructor on Big River Journey. She is the mother of a teenage daughter, and is an avid birder.

Lisa Greenberg

Special Education Director

Samantha Chavez returns to the NSA front desk this fall in a full-time capacity. It will be her friendly voice you hear on the phone most days. In addition to running the front desk, Ms. Sam will be NSA’s Health Coordinator, responsible for medical paperwork, medications and of course band-aids and ice packs. She will work together with Ms. Kate and Ms. Hunding to keep NSA running smoothly.




Ms. Katie started her journey with NSA as a Special Education paraprofessional but found that she wanted to extend her work with kids with special needs and began a master’s program at St. Mary’s to become a Special Education Teacher.  She transitioned into that role last January and now rounds out NSA’s Special Education Teaching Team. She has an undergraduate degree in Field Biology and Conservation and has spent many hours in the field primarily focusing on water quality.  She spends her summers with the Mississippi River Green Team in Minneapolis mentoring high school students where she was certified as a Pollinator Ambassador with the U of M bee Squad and the Monarch Joint Venture.