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Grades 6-8

Meet the Staff

Malcolm Currie

6th Grade Social Studies and English/Language Arts, Middle School

Certification: B.A. History; M.A. Teaching; 5-8 Social Studies; 5-8 Communication Arts/Literature; 7-12 Social Studies
Education: Knox College; University of Minnesota Mankato
Bio: This will be my third year at STEP Academy, and my twenty-third year as a teacher (all in Minneapolis and St. Paul). My primary focus has been in working with students and families from East Africa and Somalia. I chose to come to STEP Academy because of this focus, and I stay because of this focus. I have developed a great appreciation for the community I have always served, and continue to seek to do my best possible work in support of them. With this aim in mind, I emphasize critical thinking and literacy in all of my teaching. It is my belief that this is the correct educational foundation on which to build a successful future, one student at a time.
Room: 206 / #1206

Brendon Watchorn

7th Grade Life Science, 10th Grade Biology, HS STEM course, High School

Certification: B.S. Biology
Education: Dordt University
Bio: Hi! My name is Mr. Brendon Watchorn. I studied Biology with at Dordt University in Iowa. My passion is for the biological sciences as they relate to the human body and the medical field.
Room: 209 / #1209

Bill Potts

6-12 Physical Education and Health & K-12 Developmental Adapted Physical Education, High School

Certification: B.S. Physical Education
Education: Saint Cloud State University
Bio: I’m a father of two teenage daughters with my wife of over 20 years. My oldest daughter is going to college at a Community College in the Twin cities and my youngest daughter is a Senior at Blaine High School. I have taught in the Twin Cities for over twenty years and believe Physical Education and Health are two of the most important classes for students. I enjoy the challenges everyday that our students bring to the classroom and look forward to teaching at STEP Academy.
Room: Gym / #1225

Anthony Garnett

Assistant Dean of Middle School, Administration

Certification: K-12 Mastery of Education Fine Arts
Education: North Dakota State University; Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Bio: I am a former All American Collegiate Athlete with a background that include coaching, teaching and recreation programming for grades Pre K-12. I've been working with youth since 1991. I have worked with both Charter and Public schools. I am a husband and father or 2. I enjoy athletics, movies, art and all genres of music.
Room: 204a / #1226

Tyler Short

Secondary Building Substitute, High School


Sydney Jones

MS ELA, Middle School

Certification: B.A. English; M.A. Education; 5-12 Communication Arts/Literature
Education: College of Saint Benedict; Saint Catherine University
Bio: I grew up in Minneapolis and I spent the last 3 years flipping a house and starting the process on a second one!
Room: 203 / #1203

Omar Fiqi

6-12 Math Intervention, High School

Certification: M. Ed. Mathematics; PGDIPL - Actuarial Science; B.S. Statistics
Education: University of Minnesota; University of Waterloo; King Saud University (Riyadh, Saudi-Arabia)
Bio: Fifteen years experience of teaching and tutoring mathematics for different grades (6-12). Collaborated and communicated regularly with families in making educational decisions and use family and community resources to support learning and collaborated with peers to develop, plan and implement best practices based on the needs/abilities of the students.
Room: 100 / #1001

Mariah Gavin

Special Education/DCD Teacher, High School

Certification: 5-12 Social Studies
Education: Minnesota State University Moorhead
Bio: Hello! I'm Ms. Gavin. I love to teach because I love to see my students succeed and I love to learn. Reading, writing, and social studies are my favorite. Outside of school, I love to garden, travel, go hiking, and camping. I like CrossFit too. I have two cats named Thora and the Dude.
Room: 91 / #1091

Emma Olson

SPED Coordinator, Elementary

Certification: K-6 Elementary Education; K-12 Special Education: Specific Learning Disabilities; K-12 Special Education: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders; K-12 Admin: Director of Special Education
Bio: It is my pleasure and honor to introduce myself as the District Coordinator of Special Education at STEP Academy. I am extremely proud and excited to once again serve this school community! I look forward to partnering with you in the education of your child. Feel free to contact me at any time. We are going to have a fantastic school year!
Room: Lower Level Office / #1184

Nasra Dahir

MS Social Studies, Middle School

Certification: B.A. Psychology & Education; M.A. Education; 5-12 Social Studies
Education: Ohio State University; Saint Mary's University
Bio: Hello my name is Nasra Dahir, this will be my 4th year at STEP Academy. Aside from teaching, I enjoy good documentaries and reading books.
Room: 201 / #1201

Rahima Ahmed

Middle School ELL Teacher, ELL

Certification: K-12 English Language Learner Education
Bio: I am Rahima Ahmed. I have been a teacher for over 15 years. Four of my children attend STEP Academy. I have been serving as a board member at STEP since 2019.
Room: 93 / #1093

Ali Balagot

MS Math Teacher, Middle School

Certification: B.S. Elementary Education & Middle School Math
Education: Minnesota State University, Mankato
Bio: This is my 5th year teaching at STEP. I love the community at STEP between the students, parents, and teachers; everyone is on the same team. I have a passion for helping middle school students learn to love math.
Room: 205 / #1205

Zinat Chowdhury

MS Science, Middle School

Certification: B.S. Biology; M.S. Cell Tissue Culture; M.A. Biology; 5-8 Science; 9-12 Life Science and Chemistry
Education: University of Dhaka; Saint Cloud State University; Hamline University
Bio: I am a science teacher from Bangladesh. I taught middle and high school science 2 years in Bangladesh. I have been teaching as a licensed middle and high school science teacher in the US since 2009.
Room: 204 / #1204

Jessica Chapman

7/8 Grade Reading Intervention & 12 grade ELA Teacher., High School

Certification: B.S. 5-12 Communication Arts and Literature
Education: Saint Cloud State University
Bio: I have been teaching for 9 years (6 at STEP!). I have taught 5th-12th grade in the past 9 years, and currently teach 7th, 8th, and 12th. I enjoy teaching all grades, but these have been my most favorite. I enjoy the energy and excitement in a Middle School classroom, and the maturity and motivation within a Senior classroom. I can't wait to teach in person this year!
Room: 202 / #1202

Marwa Borghol

Secondary Arabic, High School

Certification: B.S. Education; K-12 Arabic Education
Education: Al Mansoura University (Egypt)
Bio: Arabic language teacher for non speakers grades K12 in U.S. for about 13 years.
Room: 208 / #1208