Board of Directors
April Grabanski, Vice Chair, Teacher
Erica Higgins has been the band and orchestra director at Eagle Ridge Academy since February of 2013. She is also the department chair for the music department for the 16-17 school year. She earned a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Akron in 2009, where she was a graduate assistant for the music education faculty. For two years she was the band director at Heritage Middle School in Newark, Ohio. While in Newark she also served as the color guard instructor for Newark High School marching band, receiving superior ratings from each caption at the OMEA state competition in 2008. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Toledo in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. Erica enjoys time at home with her husband and one-year-old daughter. She is honored and humbled to serve on the Board of Directors at Eagle Ridge Academy, and is excited to continue to build a bright future for the school.
Mateen Ashtiani, Parent
Mateen Ashtiani is a Software Architect working as a Knowledge Consultant for Ambient Consulting LLC. For the past 20 years, he’s worked on many projects for several Fortune 500 clients such as US Bank, 3M, Aon, Best Buy, Express Script, etc. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from San Diego State University in California. Mateen and his wife, Maryam, have two children and reside in Eden Prairie. Currently one of their children attends Eagle Ridge Academy in the School of Rhetoric. He is a true believer in strong education and committed to helping our younger generation achieve their goals. In his spare time, he likes to read, bike, hike, travel, and volunteer for several non-profit organizations.
Tiffany Goedjen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics in 2004. She then went to get her teaching license and start work on her Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota. She completed her teaching license in 2005 and received her Masters of Education in 2010. Tiffany has been teaching math at Eagle Ridge Academy in grades 6 to 12 since 2010. In her spare time, Tiffany spends time with her two young children Calvin and Katherine and her husband Kurt.
Ashley Hudak graduated from The College of Saint Benedict with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a concentration in Communication Arts and Literature. She has been a part of Eagle Ridge since 2012 and the 2nd grade team since then. Ashley has a strong focus on Classical education and has been involved with many Eagle Ridge Academy programs. When not performing school duties, she enjoys spending time hiking and travelling.
John Schwirtz, Community Member
John Schwirtz has been associated with Eagle Ridge Academy since the fall of 2004, when he entered the school as a 7th grader. As an ERA student, he was active in Student Senate, Mock Trial, and Junior Classical League. After graduating from ERA in 2010, he attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota where he studied in the Great Conversation program and eventually majored in Political Science with a concentration in Middle East Studies. His senior year, John served as president of the St. Olaf Student Government association. He currently works at Exosite, a Minneapolis-based Internet software company. A vocal proponent of classical education since his days in high school, John is excited to use his perspective as a young alumnus to partner with the board and the broader ERA community to ensure the success of its mission.
Wade Sutton, Teacher
Wade Sutton, M.Ed., currently teaches 7th and 8th grade English in the School of Logic at Eagle Ridge Academy. He earned his last degree at UMD. After working for two years as a substitute and supervising group homes for developmentally and physically disabled adults, he began teaching full time in 2004 in a private school in Mexico. He then taught for eight years in a rural public school before finally finding a home at Eagle Ridge Academy. Wade enjoys and values elevating the voices of practicing educators within their own profession, maintains a professional blog, and has recently begun to write for EducationPost. He was a member of the 2012 VIVA Minnesota Teachers Writing Collaborative that produced the report, 360 Degree Leadership: Evaluating Minnesota Principals which engaged him in larger, education policy. He and his wife, Pamela, are parents of four students at ERA in the School of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric (2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th grades). While primarily a parent and husband, Wade also enjoys seeing his students engage in learning and questioning, elevating the education profession, world travel, rebuilding his 1973 Fiat 850 Sport Spider and woodworking.
Jane Wegener, Teacher
Jane Wegener has been a Humanities teacher at Eagle Ridge Academy since the 2010 – 2011 school year. She has also taught a variety of writing elective courses and has founded and directed the Eagle Ridge Academy Improv Club. In 2010, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and English/Language Arts from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Since beginning her career at Eagle Ridge Academy, Jane has grown to love Classical education for how it challenges students to take their education beyond the classroom and to grow in virtue as students, citizens, and individuals. She looks forward to serving the school and its mission as a member of the Board of Directors. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, cycling, and going to sporting events with friends.