Annika Tohlen – Academic Language Development
Hi! I’m Ms. Tohlen, one of Excell Academy’s ALD teachers. I’m originally from Portland, Oregon. My family is still out west and I love to go visit whenever I can. The opportunity to attend St. Olaf College first brought me to Minnesota. While there, I studied History, Women’s Studies, and Education. After graduating, I moved to a small town in Turkey where I began my experience of teaching Academic English. I am now proud to be in my third year as a part of the ALD team. The amazing sense of community at Excell, our smart, inquisitive, and big-hearted students, and the chance to continue to learn more about ALD families makes this the best job in the world.
I can’t wait to see my kiddos from last year and meet new friends this year, as we all work together to build our skills and prepare for our amazing futures
Mariah Gavin – Social Studies
Ms. Mariah Gavin attended Minnesota State University Moorhead and received a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Secondary Education in 2007. She has been teaching at Excell Academy since 2011. She loves teaching social studies because there is always something new to learn, as history is made everyday. In her free time, Ms. Gavin likes reading, traveling, hiking, camping, spending time with her family, and 2 cats.
Sharleen Blanco – Science
Mrs. Sharleen Blanco attended Minnesota State University Mankato and received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education K-6 and her Language Arts 5-8 license in 2012. She has been teaching at Excell Academy since 2013. In addition to being Excell Academy’s Science Specialist, she is also our schools Environmental Education Coordinator. As our EE Coordinator, she works to support staff and help our students become great stewards of our Earth.
She lives in Bloomington with her family and in her spare time she loves to read, garden, play tennis, and spend time in the great outdoors.
Katie Norton – Title I Reading
Mrs. Norton: Title 1 Reading Specialist
Hello my name is Mrs. Katie Norton, Title 1 teacher here at Excell Academy. I am looking forward to another fantastic school year. I love helping
students learn to read! I have been teaching Title 1 at Excell since 2009. I received my Elementary Education degree from the University of
Wisconsin La Crosse in 2003 and my K12 Reading Specialist Licence through St. Cloud State University in 2012.
I currently live in Blaine, Minnesota with my husband, daughter Rosalyn, son Benjamin and 2 cats Boomer and Boogaard. I enjoy playing softball,
golfing and camping. I also love to spend weekends at my cabin in the summertime. In addition, I am a huge Vikings football fan and had season
tickets for 11 years. Go Vikes!!
Erika Larson – Lead Teacher
Mrs. Erika Larson, formally Mrs. Larson, is a graduate from the University of Northern Iowa. She was married in the Summer of 2008. Mrs Larson loves children, the outdoors and dogs. She is a lead teacher at Excell Academy. Way to go, Mrs. Larson!!!
Ashley Kock – Reading Intervention Teacher
Hello! My name is Ashley Kock and I am a Reading Intervention Teacher at Excell Academy. This is my first year at Excell. Before working at Excell I was Special Education Para at an Alternative School. I also taught 1st Grade in St. Cloud and a split 1st and 2nd Grade Class in Minneapolis.