- 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.
- Peg Mickelson - Board Vice Chair Hi! My name is Peg Mickelson and I am an AFSA parent. My 2 children attend AFSA middle school and high school. I have a deep respect and appreciation for AFSA and its values, curriculum, community involvement and enrichment activities such as the many clubs and interests our kids can explore at school. I am particularly impressed with the caring and intelligence of the teachers and staff at AFSA. I would like to support AFSA in moving forward with its vision and goals. In my professional career as a leader of technology/engineering groups, I have gained the ability to lead and to follow; to participate and to listen; to ask questions and to answer them; to be thoughtful and to move quickly; to collaborate and to decide. Here are some professional and personal experiences that fit well with the responsibilities of an AFSA school board member:
AFSA Parent: I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in supporting several clubs and activities at AFSA including: Destination Imagination Team Manager; LEGO League parent volunteer; sharing information with students on careers in technology for the last 2 Career Days; leading and participating in fundraising events for DI and for the Close-Up DC trip to Washington DC; being part of many parades and Culvers’ nights.
Engineering Director at Merrill Corporation in St. Paul: At Merrill, I apply agile development processes to get goals accomplished with speed and quality. I lead a high-performing team that is engaged, driven and dedicated to continual improvement and growth. In this role, I am an ambassador for Merrill at tech conferences and meet-ups. I have spoken on panels about Merrill’s transition to a tech company and have also organized speakers to come to Merrill. I am an active member of a leadership group that assesses projects, sets and shares priorities and delivers on goals.
Founder, Merrill Women in Tech (WIT) group: I founded the women in tech group to grow leaders and support career development for engaged employees at Merrill. WIT doubled in size in its first year and has become a valued networking group as well as an important recruiting tool for Merrill. Multiple books groups and volunteer events have grown from WIT. This year, I added a leadership committee, grew executive sponsorship and will be bringing WIT to other Merrill locations.
- Garry Hellmich - Garry serves as Sr. Director for Quality and Regulatory Operations for the Baked Goods Platform at General Mills, Inc. He currently leads a team of quality professionals that support great brands like Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Gold Medal and Bisquick in the retail and foodservice industries. Garry has been with General Mills for over 25 years. Prior to joining General Mills, Garry worked for the Quaker Oats and Kroger companies. In addition to his role on the AFSA School Board he also supports youth leadership development by volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America and at the National FFA convention.
- Dave Stimpson - Dave and his wife Marsha have lived in Vadnais Heights for 16 years after raising two children in Shoreview, where he was a resident since 1979. As a lifelong advocate of education, Dave served on the Mounds View School Board for 13 years serving as chair for 3 years. Co-founder of the 621 Foundation Family Fun Run, Dave became active in the 621 Foundation that funded special projects in the Mounds View School District and is still active is this organization. Dave attended Mounds View Schools, Anoka Ramsey and the University of Minnesota. Dave and his family attend Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview, his son, Jeremy resides in Lino Lakes and his daughter resides in Eagle, Idaho.
- 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.
- Kate Bald - Kate Bald is a mathematics teacher here at AFSA. She has a BA in mathematics and MA in teaching from the University of St. Thomas. She worked in both banking and computer technology before deciding her true passion was in education. Joining the AFSA community in 2008, she began work as an educational assistant and organizing after-school tutoring for students. After two years in that role, she began teaching math. After teaching math at the high school for five years, Kate was excited for a new challenge. She is currently in her third year teaching math at the middle school. Kate is happy to have had the opportunity to grow with AFSA and looks forward to many more great years here.
- 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!
- Peter Zurn - Board Clerk - Peter Zurn has been a part of the AFSA community for the past four years as a social studies teacher, Special Education case manager, resource classroom teacher, and educational assistant. Peter received a Bachelors of Science Degree in Secondary Education, Social Studies, with a minor in History from Minnesota State, Mankato. Since coming to AFSA High School, he has enjoyed working with the diverse student population and AFSA's unique culture. Peter strives to help students succeed in and out of the classroom, become active and engaged citizens, as well as stewards of the environment. Peter is interested in joining the AFSA School board to learn more about school policy and processes. Peter believes he would bring an analytical, and detail-oriented approach to the School Board. Peter hopes to affirm his committment and perform his civic duty to the AFSA community through being a member of the school board. Peter is married and has two children; a daughter who recently turned two, along with a two-month-old son. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, coaching basketball, and escaping up north to the cabin to fish and enjoy the outdoors.