• Parent Representatives

    • Gerard Cramer DVM, DVSc, Board Treasurer As someone who has been involved in agriculture for all of my life in a variety of capacities, I feel I have many different points of view I can bring to the AFSA board.  As an AFSA parent, I have 2 children attending the middle school and our oldest will be attending the high school next year. It truly has been inspiring to see my children develop a love for science and learning while having fun at school. I also have a perspective as an educator as I work as an Associate Professor in Dairy Production Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota.  In this role, I teach veterinary students about food animal veterinary practice with a focus on dairy cattle. I am also a scientist and do research on dairy cow lameness.  Prior to my position at the University of Minnesota, I worked as a veterinarian, plus owned and operated a small dairy farm in Ontario, Canada. I have a passion for agriculture and teaching and I feel that my knowledge and skills will give me an opportunity to provide valuable input to the AFSA board and community from a variety of perspectives within the agricultural industry.

     

    • Melissa DeGidio - Hello! My name is Melissa DeGidio. I am originally from Fergus Falls, MN, where I grew up in a small town/farm up-bringing. I graduated high school and went on to college at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. I graduated with a B.A. in Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Education.  After college, I moved to the Twin Cities and settled into the MinnState college system as a College Lab Assistant for the Biology, Chemistry, Natural Science, and Health Science departments at Minneapolis College and Saint Paul College. I now work as the Simulation Center manager for Saint Paul College. I am an active union steward for my campus and serve on the Executive Board and Policy Committee for our local.  I love to bike, travel, garden, cook, and read in my spare time. I am a proud parent to a 2nd grader who attends AFSA elementary. I am looking forward to being a part of the school board and serving the school. Thank you!

    Community Representatives

    • Julie Cox - works at General Mills and currently holds the position of ITQ Director – Meals & Baking Organization Unit. Julie has been with General Mills for 19 years and has had worked across ITQ in Management and Product Development. Prior to joining General Mills, Julie worked for Cargill in both Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids, IA. Julie has a M.S. degree in Food Science from Cornell University and a B.S. degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota. Julie has enjoyed a career full of learning and discovery, to commercialization, working with highly talented Scientists and Engineers, and Business partners and leaders. Julie and her husband Don live in Maple Grove. They enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends, and time at the lake in Lakeshore, MN on the Gull Lake Chain.

     

    • David Smith - Board Chair - David Smith is a Professor in the Food Science and Nutrition Department at the University of Minnesota. He works primarily in the area of dairy products and teaches various courses in food science, also, he advises about 100 students in both nutrition and food science majors. He has been on the AFSA School Board for over six years and is currently Board Vice Chair.

     

    • Kate Plaisance - Kate is the Nutrition Science Director for Cargill Animal Nutrition and Health. She leads a global team of research scientists responsible for the development of laboratory technologies that support new product development, improved ingredient understanding and rapid quality analysis for the internal business and customers. Kate has been with Cargill for 15 years in many R&D roles. Before joining Cargill she worked for the USDA/ARS Plant Science division at the U of M investigating herbicide resistance in weeds. Kate is passionate about promoting Women in STEM, and volunteers her time for U of M CLA Career Services events and as well as supporting scholarship funds.

     

    Teacher Representatives

    • Katie Crowley - Katie Crowley is an Agricultural Teacher and FFA Advisor at AFSA High School where she has served for 1 year on the school board.  She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and has been with AFSA for the past 7 years.  Katie was raised on a dairy and crop farm in Hugo, Minnesota and is dedicated to promoting agriculture through various roles including serving as a MN FFA State Officer, Princess Kay of the Milky Way, National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador and being a member of the Washington County Farm Bureau.  She continues to strive to provide hands-on learning opportunities for her students and educate herself on the most current agricultural practices by attending conferences and training through the National FFA Organization, the Farm Bureau, the MN and National Association of Agricultural Educators and Briggs and Stratton just to name a few.  Katie is proud to be a member of the AFSA family and would be excited to serve as a member of the school board!

     

    • Jodi Stumpner - Hi!  I’m Ms. Stumpner, but students call me “Stump.”  I am starting my 6th year at AFSA and am excited to be teaching the entire K-7th in Agriculture and Innovation Studios. Whether it is the eccentric students that light up the classroom or the level of collaboration with staff to plan exciting, hands-on experiences for our kiddos, there are tons of reasons I am loving the energy here at AFSA! Working with staff & students of all ages, focusing on listening to everyone’s voice, regardless of how quiet, has opened my eyes to reflect on what I love. If there ever was a calling, this is what I am called to do. Throughout the COVID-19 changes, the dedication, support and caring nature of the entire staff has shown me the incredible team that AFSA has. I believe the educators and employees of AFSA deserve to have a supportive School Board. I want to be a part of a team that has supported our community in the ways AFSA has. I want to bring my range of experience to the School Board and provide a voice for the teachers and staff while supporting both the community and AFSA.  

     

    • Brady Jones -  Hi!  I’m Brady Jones and I am excited to serve on the school board!  I have taught Chemistry, Physics, and a variety of odds and ends at AFSA since 2014.  I think that AFSA is a truly unique school where students are able to stand out in a supportive environment.  I enjoy working with students in hands-on contexts and love all of the opportunities that AFSA provides. From Farm and Community Service Day to the Potato Hug to O-terms/J-terms we see students learning and demonstrating their knowledge outside of the classroom.  One of AFSA’s biggest strengths is the outstanding group of educators and staff that are able to build strong relationships with just about any student that walks through our doors.  I grew up on a small, family farm just south of the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  I received my B.A. in chemistry from Carthage College and my M.S. in Chemistry with a focus on organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota. I got my teaching licensure through a pilot program offered through Hamline University.  During my time on the school board, I hope to be a voice for all of the AFSA staff and the AFSA community as a whole.