Leadership Development Cohort (LDC)
The Facilities Department is excited to announce the launching of our 4th Leadership Development Cohort (LDC), which focuses on developing fundamentals of leadership in emerging leaders within our department. Every member of our team demonstrates leadership on a daily basis, so this is our way to develop those skills and long term build the leadership pipeline for our work. If you are seeking to gain practical leadership skills and experience, the LDC program can help you take the next step in your career. The cohort is focused on building foundational leadership skills and will develop participants understanding of their personal leadership style, working with others, and enacting systemic change. This year’s cohort will once again be co-facilitated by Kathy Wallace (Assistant Director of Facilities, Capital Improvement Program) and I, with lots of special guests to join in the conversation.
2023 LDC Participants
Alex joined SPPS in 2015 as a Facilities Service Worker and has worked his way up to recently being promoted to the Custodial Engineer 5 (Head Engineer) role at Central High School. He lives in Maplewood with his girlfriend and her dog, and in his free time he enjoys bonfires, walks in nature, and is currently working on getting his pilot’s license.
A graduate of Penn State’s 5-year Bachelor of Architecture program, Jennifer came to SPPS in 2022 by way of South Korea, Pennsylvania, and Maryland working in the architecture and commercial facility management industry - which has given her experience in educational, commercial, multi-family, corporate, and government building types. Jennifer is an avid archer, working on breaking the 280 (out of 300) point barrier when competing, and an enthusiastic baker.
Migel (Mike) has been part of SPPS since kindergarten, with the last 12 year in a Laborer / Heavy Equipment Operator role. Mike loves working with all of the different trades and teams in SPPS, and when he is not working he is spending time with his wife, four kids, and English Bulldog named Rocky at school and sports activities. In those brief moments when he is not either at work or at a kids’ sporting event, Mike loves to travel and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.
Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Jason has spent the last 20 years as a carpenter throughout the Twin Cities. Right before becoming an SPPS Carpenter 7 years ago Jason was part of the team that built U.S. Bank Stadium, helping build the concrete formwork as well as fixed and retractable seating. When not at work, Jason enjoys spending time with his family - his wife of 15 years and their two kids, aged 11 and 13 - and fishing.
Andy came to SPPS in 2019 as a Custodial Engineer 1 after being the Director of Maintenance at an assisted living facility, and is now the Head Engineer at Hidden River Middle School. When he is not working at the school, he is the sole employee at DiMartino RiPair & RiModeling and is completing his Associates Degree at Normandale Community College while also volunteering for a local non-profit. In his “free time”, he enjoys classic rock concerts, hiking our state parks and adding to his book collection.
Max has been with SPPS for about 2 years now and is currently the Night Engineer at Saint Paul Music Academy. Before entering the district he worked as a chef in various restaurants for over 20 years, perfecting many cooking techniques and managing every aspect involved with running a kitchen. Most of his free time is spent going to concerts or staying at home with his two cats, Guts and Mr. Coffee, and watching wrestling or creating art.
Derrich is the Night Engineer at Highwood Hills Elementary, having joined the SPPS Custodial Team in 2016 after 26 years in the construction industry. He has lived in Minnesota since 1988, which roughly coincides with when he met and married his wife! Outside of work, Derrich is an avid woodworker and fisherman.
Alex started his career at SPPS in 2021. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a BS degree in Urban Forestry. He has previously worked as a volunteer with the Conservation Corps. At SPPS he has taken on a lead role for the code crew team for fire safety corrections. He enjoys doing standup comedy, loves the outdoors and traveling.
Angie Otteson worked for Saint Paul Public Schools as an architectural design consultant at both Wold Architects and Engineers and TKDA before joining the district in 2023 as a Project Manager with the Capital Project Delivery team. She graduated from North Dakota State University (GO Bison) in 2005 with a Bachelors in Architecture and Environmental Design and is a licensed Architect in the State of Minnesota. She enjoys rock climbing with her husband and 11 year old daughter at various gyms around the Midwest.
Jonathan joined SPPS in 2022 as a Project Manager in Facility Planning after a career at architecture firms working on school projects. The variety of scales of thinking and the impact of projects in Planning are consistently motivating for him. Jonathan earned his Master of Architecture degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. He lives in Saint Paul where he enjoys planting trees and perennials on his small city lot and going out to hear live music. His adult daughter lives in San Francisco.
2022 LDC Participants
Calvin Conner has been with SPPS in multiple roles since joining the organization in March of 2021, starting as a Nutrition Services Assistant through Indrotec before switching to custodial to take advantage of the opportunity for a long term career. – a move both he and his partner made at the same time. Calvin originally hails from Chicago, but joined the United States Army at 19 years old to work as a Military Police Corrections Officer and spent 2 separate years deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Calvin has a flare cooking and is a huge fan of movies, especially of the horror genre.
Charlotte Krech is a Facilities Service Worker who has been with Saint Paul a little over a year. Shortly after joining the SPPS Custodial crew, she took the helm of the custodial training program and became actively involved with training temporary staff from Indrotec and new SPPS hires. Before working for Saint Paul, she took care of her children during the day and was a Hospice CNA at night. She and her husband of 13 years have three children who are 11, 9, and 7 years old, and when not at work she spends the majority of time going to their hockey practice and games. Her hobbies include food preservation and gardening, reading, and art.
Dwaine joined SPPS in 2011 as a floating engineer and is currently the Head Engineer at the 360 complex (Administration Building, Bridge View, Focus Beyond). He attended Itasca Community College where he wrestled and acquired an associate’s degree. Prior to coming to SPPS, Dwaine worked as an engineer / security staff at Cambridge-Isanti School District and installed residential siding for 15 years. Dwaine has 2 grown children and resides in Zimmerman with his wife of 23 years.
Jesse started with SPPS two years ago as a Nutrition Services Assistant through Indrotec at Nokomis Montessori South and Rondo Elementary and has been a Facilities Service Worker at Creative Arts Secondary School for a year now. Jesse has a degree from The School of Arts and Enterprise, and when he is not working enjoys cooking, sleeping, and watching horror movies with his three cats (Patchy the Pirate, Anna Nicole, Norma Jean) and his fiancé, Calvin.
Krista started with SPPS in November 2019 as a Facilities Service Worker and is now a Custodial Engineer 1 working at Saint Paul Music Academy. She always enjoys a challenge and is excited to see what her SPPS future holds. Krista lives in Como Park with her 4 year old Pitbull named Tank and loves to travel and the outdoors.
Nathan joined SPPS in the fall of 2021 as the Data Coordinator with the Administrative Services team, with his primary focus on making sure TMA runs as smoothly as possible for everyone in Facilities. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business degree at the University of Minnesota, along with a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas. He has previously worked for several companies in the Twin Cities, including Target Corporation and Thomson Reuters. He enjoys all types of sports and spends much of his spare time in the spring and summer umpiring Little League games. He lives in Bloomington with his wife, 3-year-old son, 1-year-old daughter, and two cats.
Scott received his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Metropolitan State University and has been working for SPPS for over 15 years, first as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional before joining the custodial team. He is currently the Head Engineer at Global Arts Plus Lower. Prior to working for SPPS, Scott worked in the field of broadcast journalism and video production as a photographer. Scott lives in Saint Paul Minnesota with his wife and four sons – ages 9, 12, 14, and 17 – and in his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, going for walks with their dog, photography, and watching movies.
Tom started with SPPS in 2019 as a Facilities Service Worker, floating between all of our buildings, before being promoted to a Custodial Engineer 2, and he is now the Head Engineer at Highland Park Elementary. Before SPPS he was a painter and concrete finisher living in San Diego, CA. Tom was a hockey player and graduated from the University of Wisconsin as a dean's list student with double Bachelor of Science degrees in teaching K-12 Physical Education and Health as well as two minors in Outdoor Education and Special Education. Tom is married and has a 3-year-old daughter. He spends his summers with his family at the lake house and camping around the Midwest while the winters are spent on his backyard hockey rink.
2021 LDC Participants
After losing his job of 17 years, Jeff was put in contact with Kevin Martinson. After getting an idea of what SPPS could offer, he jumped at the change to join the team. Jeff has been working for SPPS nearly 4 years now. He began as an Facility Service Worker (FSW) at Highland and is now the Head Engineer at Nokomis Montessori South. Jeff likes to be challenged and test his personal limitations. He is looking forward to learning, growing, and improving his skills to help create a better tomorrow wherever this career path may lead. When Jeff is not working, he tries to be the best husband and dad he can be for his family, who always keeps him plenty busy with household projects and playtime fun.
2019 LDC Participants
Applying to the Program
Participation in the Leadership Development Cohort is open to all members of the Facilities Department by application. Selection to be part of the cohort will be by the Facilities Director, with attention given to ensure the cohort represents all aspects of the Facilities Department - with an emphasis on people who do not formally supervise others. Applications for the program are now closed, but applications for next year’s cohort will open in the late summer.