Executive Director & Teacher
Rebecca, a teacher for 30 years and co-founder of MG21, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and teacher certification from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently working on her Master’s in Educational Leadership at Concordia. She is certified in history, broad field social studies, charter schools and alternative education. Rebecca was a 2010 Kohl Education Foundation Fellow award winner. She has long been an advocate of student activism and loves the opportunity to work in a student driven, project based school. Rebecca serves as the Executive Director of MG21, as well as a teacher and advisor. Rebecca is married with two adult children. In her free time (which there is not a lot of) she enjoys walking her dog Cassidy, camping, kayaking, reading and fishing.
Upper Campus Teacher
Dr. Michelle Bartman has been teaching high school science since 2003. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education and a Ph.D. in Comparative Biomedical Sciences from UW Madison in 2012. She previously taught Human Anatomy, Biotechnology, Biology, and an EMT course at McFarland and Baraboo High Schools, and is passionate about sharing the amazing world of science with her students. Outside of school, Michelle loves spending time with her friends and family, including her husband, Fred, and her 2 young children, Teagan and Molly. She enjoys reading crime, science, or literary fiction books and cooking a variety of healthy and tasty dishes. She also enjoys being outdoors, and spends her time camping, hiking, biking, or hanging out at home on her deck. Michelle is excited to join the staff of MG21 and all the new adventures and possibilities that will come!
Special Education Assistant
Alyanna is proud to be a part of the MG21 community. She believes it is a rewarding community to be involved in because it allows not only students but staff to be exactly who they are. They motivate, support and empower each other. Being able to be in an environment that is uplifting and inspirational is so graceful. The support she gives is given back to her 10 times more than she could ever have imagined. She has a true passion for working with our youngest learners! Helping each child progress in all areas of their development—academic, social, language, and motor—is a challenge that she is honored to accept daily. She strives to create a community of learners that nurtures this growth in a positive, fun environment. She worked in the dental field for over 15 years and decided she wanted to follow her true passion and is rewarding. She is a single mother of three fantastic young men who are 20,15, and 10 years old. They are all in Monona Grove schools. They love to watch and play sports—hockey, football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and swimming! She also enjoys reading, cooking, music, relaxing at the beach or outside, and spending time with friends and family. Building a strong foundation in life is important to her and brings her so much joy and positivity.
Upper Campus Teacher
Gene considers himself to be a jack of most trades and a master of some. He’s been a soldier, spending 3 years in the U.S. Army, an Airman in the U.S. Air Force, spending 7 years installing and maintaining sensitive communications equipment all over the NATO alliance. He’s been an artist, a musician, an avid softball enthusiast but most importantly, he’s a teacher. He got his teaching degree from UW-Madison back in 1992 and after a brief stint in grad school, getting a Masters degree in Fine Arts, he taught for 3 years at West High School. He then transferred to Malcolm Shabazz High School, where he taught for 20 years before retiring to create a business making eco-friendly, metal free caskets. His interest and desire to teach never waned. He loves the challenges and the joys of being in the classroom again.
Upper Campus Teacher
Joel grew up in the Chicago area (go, Bears!), but calls many places “home.” He received a BA in English at St. Ambrose University, where his study abroad experiences in Ecuador and Peru changed his life. He then went on to teach in the Peace Corps where he served in Turkmenistan from 2008-2010. Much to his surprise, Joel returned to the U.S. wanting to be a teacher. He received a teaching fellowship from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he lived and taught in the Bronx and uptown Manhattan while earning a Masters degree in the Teaching of English. After falling in love with the Dominican culture his students had shown him in NYC, Joel then went to teach at an international school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where he ate a whole bunch of mangoes, and learned to dance a mean bachata. It was at that point he and his now wife, Summer, decided to head back to the good ol’ midwest to be closer to their families. Joel loves spending time with his wife and two sons, Justice and Caspian. He loves biking, paddleboarding, crooning on his guitar and eating too much ice cream. Joel is thrilled to be a part of a school community that gives voice and ownership to students, and empowers them to follow their own unique interests and passions.
Stacy grew up in New Jersey, went to art school in Baltimore and got a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at the UW-Madison. She left her job of many years doing graphic design at Overture Center to care for her elderly and sick father. Since then she started a business, EarthSilks, dyeing silk using plants, earth and sawdust. This coincides with her passion for learning about plants, “weeds” and herbs as food and medicine. She has a deep respect for alternative education and volunteered at Malcolm Shabazz High School for many years. She believes in life long learning, a just society for all and in looking at life creatively while searching out ways to grow and change. These are all values that MG21 embraces. She is thrilled to be part of the MG21 staff.
Alexandra “Alex” Mentele
Middle Campus Teacher
Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 with degrees in Russian Language and Civilization and Languages and Cultures of Asia, Alex immediately felt called to wander and started dabbling in the world of international teaching. Beginning in Kyiv teaching English to adults, she continued to adventure across the globe and has since taught both elementary and middle grades in Kyrgyzstan and Croatia. She enjoys taking an incredibly active role in her school and has experience engaging with students through arts and drama, exploration of the natural landscape and surrounding culture, and investigations into what exactly makes our world tick. Originally hailing from Eau Claire, Alex’s biggest passions include biking, podcasts, exploring the great outdoors with her vivacious Krygz mutt, Margot, and playing board games with her English-Scot partner, Stuart.
Sherry was born and raised in Green Bay and earned her degree at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She began working in the Monona Grove School District in 2001 as a Homebound Teacher. She’s worked extensively with students of all ages and is trained in Life Space Crisis Intervention and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. As luck would have it she now splits her time between Homebound and MG21. She is the master of laughing, socializing, and working one-on-one with students. She loves to hike, travel with her husband, spoil her grandkids, and talk on the phone more than text. She’s in her glory all summer while in her garden rearranging plants and chasing butterflies with her dog Coco.
Julie grew up in Sheboygan, WI. She moved to Madison to attend college and has lived there ever since. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and a Reading Teacher’s license. Her teaching experiences have been diverse, ranging from teaching 2nd grade, student teaching in England, and working with adolescent boys in a residential drug treatment program. She has divided her time between MG21 and the high school for the past 5 years. She has also been an adviser for the GSA – which is a club for LGBTQ+ students and their allies – at the high school for the last two years.
When she is not working, Julie enjoys spending time with her husband, two teenaged kiddos, and dog Athena. She also loves reading, going to concerts, gardening, biking, swimming, paddleboarding, and traveling. Some of her favorite places to travel have been the Redwood forest in California, Ireland, and South Korea. South Korea is of special importance to her; it is the birthplace of her two adopted children.
Middle Campus Teacher
Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mel has studied tropical biology in Costa Rica, taught English in coastal Ecuador, worked on an organic mushroom farm, taught at both Jefferson Middle School and a Montessori school, and married one of the greatest people she knows, Josh. They live with their dog Maggie and three chickens just a bike ride away from school. Outside of work, she is an avid gardener and a wilderness backpacker and is most content outside, immersed in nature. Her pile of books never gets smaller, only grows taller- she loves lounging in a hammock while reading. Mel is passionate about learning and exploring this world. She enjoys projects (especially completing them!), watersports, trying new recipes, writing stories, and exploring new places. She considers MG21 home and feels fortunate to be part of such a beautiful community.