Academy of Whole Learning is governed by a working Board of Trustees composed of AOWL parents and committed community leaders. They are responsible for the development and implementation of policies and programs that will enable the school to reach its educational, operational and financial goals. People who volunteer to serve on our board come from a variety of backgrounds, yet are all united in their passion for the mission of Academy of Whole Learning and its students.
2018-2019 Academy of Whole Learning Board of Trustees
John Higgins – Chair
John is CEO of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, a medical research and technology company. Prior to Ligand, John was a senior executive at other biotech companies and an investment banker in New York City. He is currently a Director of BioTechne, a publicly traded company headquartered in Minneapolis, and he has served on numerous other boards of public and private companies, including serving as Chairperson for CoMentis, Inc. and BlueZones. John received his A.B. in economics from Colgate University, and was a member of Colgate’s Board of Trustees. John joined the AOWL Board in 2017, and his son is a high school-age student at the school.
Becky Gibson – Vice Chair
Becky is a Director at Lifetouch-Shutterfly, an organization dedicated to capturing and preserving life’s precious memories. Her expertise includes employee development, finance management, sales and business development. Prior to Lifetouch-Shutterfly she worked at the Mayo Clinic.
Becky earned her MBA from the University of St. Thomas and MSW from the University of Michigan. Becky joined the board in August 2016 serving roles of Treasurer and Vice Chair. She is passionate about the mission of the Academy of Whole Learning and dedicated to the mission.
Ashley Sparks – Treasurer
Ashley joined the Academy of Whole Learning Board in September 2014. She is an Audit Manager at Boyum Barenscheer where she uses her professional insight to help clients in various non-profit organizations and industries achieve their business goals. She received her BS in Accounting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her specialty areas include business consulting, audit and review services, and business and individual tax. Ashley serves as the Treasurer and is on the Executive Committee.
Allison Barosko – Parent Liaison
Allison joined the Academy of Whole Learning Board in 2017 and serves as the parent liaison. She earned her B.S. in Arts Administration from Northwestern University. After working for many years as a Human Resources Manager, Allison is currently a Family Advisor for the NICU at Children’s Minnesota. She has three children; one in high school in Minneapolis Public Schools and two in elementary school at AOWL.
Wyayn Rasmussen – Executive Director, Staff Representative
Dr. Wyayn Rasmussen is in her eighth year advocating for the mission and vision of the Academy as Head of School. Wyayn earned her Masters of Education in Special Education and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Bethel University, a Masters of Art in Organizational Management from Concordia University – St. Paul, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Oklahoma. Growing up in southern California, Wyayn enjoys many outdoor sports, including running 4 marathons and countless half-marathons. She recently added cross-country skiing and cycling to her efforts. Wyayn serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Independent School Forum, as an Accreditation Chair for the Minnesota Nonpublic Schools Accrediting Association and is an active member of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce Executive Director’s Sounding Board. Wyayn has 4 grown daughters and lives with her husband, Gef, and Labradoodle, Kova, in Plymouth, MN.
Rob is honored to have joined the Academy of Whole Learning Board in July 2017. He currently serves on the Governance Committee. After working many years in finance and accounting he co-founded tgbBRANDS and led their operations. He currently works as a business consultant specializing in developing start-up companies. Rob earned a BS in Accounting/Finance from St. John’s University.
Patty joined the Academy of Whole Learning board in September 2017 she has served on the Development Committee and is currently the chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee. Patty is a Trade Marketing Manager for Crystal Farms Cheese in Minnetonka where she is responsible for assisting the marketing team manage their P&L and the sales team meet their sales targets using trade spend. She previously worked for GNP Company, Kellogg’s, Best Buy, and Target in various roles including sales, category management, and pricing. She earned her BS in Finance from the Carlson School of Management and her MBA from Bethel University. She joined the board because she is passionate about the mission of AOWL. She hopes to be part of spreading the word about the school and helping AOWL to reach even more students.
Teri Crosby retired in 2003 from her IT consulting job concentrating on developing Information Systems before being asked to create and teach the credit processing system for U.S. Bank. Teaching became a passion for Teri and before her retirement she traveled the world training others in Information Technology Development. Teri holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.
After retirement, Teri has concentrated on family, philanthropy, community improvement, and travel. She has served as an active member of two family foundations, volunteered in many capacities including tax preparation, Loaves and Fishes, special needs TA, and has worked 15 years on an auction committee for the annual Second Harvest Heartland Dish Cuisine for Change spring event.
Since her 2002 marriage to Robert, an adult diagnosed with Asperger’s in 1987, Asperger’s awareness has become a strong passion for Teri.
Margie joined the Academy of Whole Learning Board in 2018. Margie currently is the President of Go! Marketing, a Product Management and Marketing Consultant group which assists companies develop brand, channel and P & L strategy for service products. Prior to this role, Margie spent over 25 years in a variety of Product Management positions leading business lines for several large financial institutions including Metris (now HSBC) and CPP Group (Am Trust). She earned a B.A. in Advertising and Marketing from the University of North Dakota. Margie has two children, one in High School at AOWL, and another in Minnetonka Schools.
Jan has spent her career with Lifetouch Photography and currently manages their give back initiatives. She has helped lead eleven Memory Mission trips locally and globally. She works closely with school educators throughout North America building schools in the Dominican Republic and recently help rebuild a school after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. She recently received the National PTA Life Achievement Award in recognition of her devoted and distinguished services to children and youth. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State University. Jan has two grown children and lives with her husband, Ken in Edina
Pat is the Assistant Provost for Global Education at Augsburg University. His portfolio includes study abroad programming, student and faculty exchange, and oversight of staffing and financial operations in Minneapolis and abroad. Prior to Augsburg, he served as the Director of Operations at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) and the Chief Operating Officer at Global Volunteers. Pat earned a BA in history from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in international economic development from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. He currently serves as the chair of the AOWL Finance Committee.
Ross has been on the Board since 2018 and serves on the Finance and Facilities Committees. He is a Business Resiliency Advisor at Cargill, a privately held global company bringing food, agricultural, financial and industrial products to people around the world. Prior to Cargill, Ross held a variety of Resiliency and Finance leadership positions at Best Buy, UW-Stout and Northwest Airlines. He earned his B.A. degree in Mathematics and Statistics and an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota. Ross has a daughter that attends Mounds Park Academy and son at AOWL, so he knows the value the school brings to kids with autism spectrum disorder or related learning differences.
Bob Tift, Ed.D.
Bob joined the AOWL Board in 2018. He serves as a Partner with Partners in Mission, a Catholic school consulting firm based in Boston, MA. Bob’s consulting expertise is in leadership coaching, governance and board development, and strategic planning. He spends a majority of his time recruiting executive leaders for Catholic schools. Prior to serving in this role, he served for 30 years in public and private school education, most recently as President of Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Bob’s career began in the Minneapolis Public Schools where he served as a special education teacher and administrator. Bob is active in many local activities such as serving on the boards of Catholic Charities and the St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP) and serving as a Fire Commissioner.