Physical Education and Health
Creative Learning Lab
Reading Intervention Teachers
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!!
Hello! My name is Ashley Kock and I am an ADSIS Reading Intervention Teacher at Excell Academy. This is my fourth year at Excell. I have also worked as a Special Education Para, First Grade Teacher, and Split First/Second Teacher.
Hello, my name is Sharleen Blanco. I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education and Middle School ELA from MN State University, Mankato. This is my seventh year at Excell and I currently teach Reading Intervention to our students in K-8th grade. I have also worked as an English Teacher in MS, Kindergarten Teacher, and a Science Teacher for students in 2nd-8th grades.
I live with my two teenage boys and our rescue dogs Ginger and Rocky. I treasure every moment with my kids as they are in their junior and sophomore years in high school now and growing up fast.
Prior to pursuing a second career in education, I worked in the medical field, commercial real estate, marketing, construction management, and with adults that have learning challenges. In the spring, when not teaching, you’ll find me outside in nature managing a staff of 12-15 adults at my greenhouse. I enjoy working with adults, but LOVE working with children!
Teaching is the hardest yet most rewarding profession I have had. Even on the most challenging days, I feel so blessed. I enjoy helping students find their authentic voice and seeing the possibilities around them. Some of my prior students have gone on to pursue degrees in publishing/media, the medical field, law enforcement, teaching, research, and as counselors. I believe strongly in identifying your passion and writing (and as needed) rewriting your own story. I am never too busy to take a moment to catch up with a prior student; they are why I am here after all.
I value communication and making strong connections with my students. I look forward to seeing prior students and meeting new students this year.
Academic Language Development
Hello! My name is Ms. Zoubek and this is my fifth year as an ALD teacher at Excel. Born in Wisconsin, I am an enthusiastic Packer fan. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 2008 and finished my master’s degree in TESOL in January 2017. I have taught English as a Foreign Language in both South Korea and Taiwan. I have also completed a year with the Minnesota Reading Corps as a kindergarten-focused reading tutor. I love our students and am looking forward to helping them develop academic language. In my spare time, I enjoy tennis, biking, running, hiking, and any other activities related to being outdoors.
Hi there! My name is Mikayla Melendez and this is my second year teaching at Excell Academy as an Academic Language Development teacher. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and attended Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion as well as Main Street School for Performing Arts. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Race and Ethnic Studies and Educational Studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. I enjoy singing in choir, traveling, reading, hanging out with my cat, and spending time with friends and family. I am always excited to work with our outstanding students and staff! There’s no school like the amazing Excell!
Lead Teacher/Library Specialist
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!!!