Board of Directors


Carol McFarlane, Board Chair, Community Member - Carol is a former White Bear Lake school board member and retired State Representative for our region. She served on the Minnesota House Education Finance and Policy and Workforce Development Committees. Carol’s family also owns a small business in the area.  Carol is the founder of our community group, Friends of Level Up Academy.


Dyan Handeland, Vice Chair, Community Member - "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela.    Dyan believes that passion in education can drive change, and she is proud to serve a school as passionate and forward thinking as Level Up Academy.  She has previous school board experience in the Los Angeles private sector. Dyan s a member of the National Association for Gifted Children, the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented, and the Homeschoolers Alliance.  Dyan also serves on the planning committee for the MN Boychoir, and volunteers her time for various projects related to the arts and to children throughout the Twin Cities and Los Angeles. She and her husband, Robert, are a photography team whose work is published regularly and has been featured on Oprah, A&E, VH1, Bravo, and many other platforms.  She looks forward to applying her skills as a business owner, artist, and especially as a mother to Level Up Academy.


 Christy Andacht, Board Treasurer, Community Member -  After being transferred to Minnesota from Atlanta, GA, Christy and her family settled in White Bear Lake.  Christy served as the office manager for LUA's first school year and is proud to be a founding staff member. In 2016, she was named Executive Director at H2O for Life, a local non-profit that provides service-learning opportunities for schools in the United States. Christy and her husband, Jim, own a small event planning business in Stillwater.  She brings over 20 years of event planning, financial management, and general administration experience, and she looks forward to applying her skills at Level Up Academy. 



Lori Ahlness, Secretary, Community Member -  Lori Ahlness is an educator with experience in both public and private education.  She is a former Secondary School social studies teacher, and also has 14 years experience as an Early Childhood screener.  Lori has her master’s degree in Teaching, and completed graduate-level course work in education administration.  Lori is also a retired officer of the military reserves, a Boy Scout merit badge mentor, and has led Venturing Crew and Explorer’s groups. She is excited to be involved with Level Up Academy's board of directors, and looks forward to contributing to the success of LUA's personalized learning mission.



Jenelle Nelson, Parent Member - I feel privileged to be part of the first charter school in the White Bear Lake area. I believe our school has the leading edge with teacher-driven classrooms, personalized learning, and powerful educational technology tools that set the pace for our young scholars.  I am grateful to have my children in a small, forward thinking, and loving school.



Jennifer Squires, Educator Representative  – Jennifer has taught elementary education for five years.  She graduated with her bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State University.  She is currently a first grade teacher at Level Up Academy and has experience in Kindergarten, Third Grade, and Title I.  Jennifer feels fortunate to continue her work in the dual role of teacher and board member.


Amelia Walker, Educator Representative  – Amelia has many experiences in education including teaching at various elementary grade levels, as well as experience in curriculum sales.  She is happy to join the Level Up Academy school board team and invest in the future of Level Up Academy.

Level Up Academy School Board Meeting Documents

Level Up Academy School Board meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month (unless noted otherwise in the meeting dates link below).  The board meetings begin at 6:00 PM and are held in the Middle School Room (see school address below). For more information, please email 

Board Policies

Meeting Dates 

Meeting Minutes

Worlds Best Workforce 

Annual Report

Board Packets, Including Agendas and Financial Documents

Public Comment Information for Board Meetings

Request to Address Board Document

Other documents available upon request.


Board Committees

Finance Committee

Committee Chair, Carol McFarlane, Christy Andacht, Lori Ahlness, Jennifer Squires

Meeting: TBA

Personnel Committee

Committee Chair, Christy Andacht, Jennifer Squires, Dyan Handeland, Jenelle Nelson

Meeting: TBA

Facilities Committee

Committee Chair, Christy Andacht, Dyan Handeland, Amelia Walker, Jenelle Nelson

Meeting: TBA

Policy & Procedure Committee

Committee Chair, Lori Ahlness, Ameila Walker, Dyan Handeland, Jenelle Nelson

Meeting: TBA


We are authorized by Innovative Quality Schools (IQS).  On June 9, 2015 IQS declared Level Up Academy "Ready to Open." You may contact IQS Managing Director, Thomas Tapper at email address, You may contact IQS Director, Milo Cutter at email address, 

IQS Annual Report

Innovative Quality Schools, (IQS)

P.O. Box 40219

St. Paul, MN 55104


The Minnesota Department of Education

The Minnesota Department of Education has assigned public school district number 4233 to Level Up Academy. 

Level Up Academy Payments