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.
Student Support Specialist
My first and most important role is as a mother of 4 amazing daughters and one very handsome brand new grandson, Henry Thomas. I have worked with children/adolescents for over 23 years in a variety of settings and have loved every single minute of it! I was born and raised up north ( the actual up north-lol) in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. I moved to the Madison area (currently live in Cottage Grove) about 12 years ago and while I haven’t ventured out a ton, I have truly enjoyed the caliber of people and opportunities this area offers. I received my bachelors in child development and human studies from UW- Superior and my teaching degree and Masters degree from Marian University in Fond Du Lac. I have taught in the Sun Prairie, Beaver Dam and Madison school systems and have learned so much from the families and students along the way. I am excited to be joining MG21 because the philosophy and teaching models align perfectly with my beliefs and values and I am beyond excited to be a part of this growing family. In my free time (what is free time..?) I love to read, take long walks, go fishing and first and foremost, spend time with family. I can’t wait to start this new journey of exploring with the students and helping them to uncover their greatness!
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!
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.
Since graduating from UW-Madison with her Master’s in Social Work in 2017, Andrea has been working as a School Social Worker in the greater Madison area. After an internship at Shabazz High School, Andrea has known she has always wanted a career working in a school that is a little different than what is typical. Andrea has a passion for mental health work and providing an environment that is safe, supportive and healing. She takes an individualized, student centered approach to provide services in the classroom, small group and one on one setting. She enjoys collaborating with families and other care providers to achieve the most consistent and responsive support for each child. Outside of school, Andrea is busy chasing after a busy toddler and settling into her new home on the east side. Some of her hobbies include foraging berries and mushrooms, eating with others, traveling and most recently creating a yard that will be beautiful and good for the earth!
Bio coming soon.
Isabel “Bel” Haynes
Upper Campus Teacher
Bel’s first foray into teaching was during her sophomore year of high school; her Latin teacher graciously let her serve as a teachers assistant for a Latin 1 class even though the role was usually reserved for upperclassman. Amidst designing Roman history jeopardy and hosting numerous “Translation Tuesdays”, Bel fell in love with education and never looked back. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a double major in History and Philosophy in 2018 while working as a tutor for nearly every class she took. After college, she worked as a tutor and independent living coach for young adults with learning difficulties for several years before returning to school to earn her Master’s degree in Secondary Education. Though her initial area of study was Social Studies, she gravitated towards teaching English and English as a Second Language and earned certification in all three subjects. She is thrilled to be joining the MG21 team and fulfilling her passions for teaching and supporting LGBTQ and neurodivergent youth. Outside of school, she loves to read, play games of all kinds, start novels that she probably won’t finish, and take long walks with her tiny gremlin dog Leeloo and her fiancée Sarah. She has also spent the last 7 years creating and exploring fantasy worlds with her best friends turned adventuring party in Dungeons and Dragons.
Middle Campus Teacher
Ben Hulbert is absolutely elated to be joining the MG21 family and believes that MG21 is the type of school he was always meant to teach in. Ben was born in Northern Wisconsin and raised in Appleton, WI where he was an alumni and first graduating class of The Renaissance School of the Arts. Ben moved to Chicago to pursue a degree from DePaul University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Spanish Language. After several years working in the Chicago food and wine industry, Ben jumped at the opportunity to enroll in an alternative certification educator program. Ben obtained his Master’s of Science in Education from Quincy University and began his career teaching in Chicago Public schools. He has since been teaching for 14 years and most recently, has spent the last 10 years as a Dual Language Immersion classroom teacher at Sandburg Elementary in the Madison Metropolitan School District. While at Sandburg, Ben quickly earned a reputation not only for his creative and relational style, but also his fearless approach in innovating within a large, urban public school system. Whether it’s building custom bikes and skateboards, designing hydroponic gardens or co-directing zombie apocalypse thrillers, Ben’s resourcefulness and DIY spirit make him willing to constantly push himself out of his comfort zone and learn alongside his students. Outside of school, he can be seen having fun with his two kids, Sam and Anna, his wife Kate and their super dog Ernie. In his free time you’ll most likely find him listening to records, playing music, fermenting something, playing Zelda or taking a bike ride. He thinks that pizza is a superior food and loves making and eating it, whenever possible.
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. 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.
After graduating from Monmouth College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2020, Echo worked as a Behavioral Technician where they had the opportunity to work with kids ages 1-6 on the autism spectrum. After getting married in August of 2021, they moved to Madison and worked at a doggie daycare for about a year before starting as a paraprofessional at Glacial Drumlin school. There, they had the opportunity to work with a variety of students with different needs and learn a lot about how the school system works. They also helped co-advise the GSA and loved being able to be a mentor and role model to LGBTQ+ youth. Echo is excited to take that experience to MG21’s Middle Campus and continue their work as a paraprofessional and wants students to feel heard and comfortable being themselves. In their free time, Echo enjoys doing lots of different arts and crafts projects, watching whatever TV series they are currently hyper fixating on, collecting plants, and biking or hiking at different trails around Madison. They also have a passion for working with animals and pet sit in their spare time along with currently working to become a dog trainer. At home, Echo has a senior chiweenie named Azaria that they rescued 9 years ago and 3 cats: Cora, Cleo, and Frankie.
Student Support Specialist
After graduating from UW-Madison with a degree in Special Education, Chloe worked as a special education teacher in Madison for two years, where she had the opportunity to work with students with a wide range of support needs. Chloe is so excited to join the MG21 team! She will be working with students in the Middle Campus, and will be splitting her time between MG21 and MGHS. Chloe takes a collaborative approach to teaching, and takes the time to build connections with each student. Chloe encourages her students to be strong self-advocates, and takes an individualized approach with each student depending on their needs. Chloe has a wide range of hobbies and interests, including studying Japanese, backpacking, playing video games / board games, traveling, DJing, and taking care of animals (she currently lives with Salem the cat, Kirby the axolotl and Goblin the leopard gecko). She loves experiencing new things and learning new skills.
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.
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.
Melissa “Mel” Zastrow
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.