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The Minnesota State Academies announces our new MSAD Director and Assistant Director.


The Minnesota State Academies are pleased to announce the appointments of Ms. Anne Grace Donatucci as Director of MSAD and Ms. Jody Olson as Assistant Director of MSAD, effective July 17, 2017. This decision caps our long search process that began when Ms. Roxie Mitchell announced her retirement from MSAD in January after 37 years at MSAD in a variety of roles.  MSA cannot thank Roxie enough for her many years at MSAD. We remain most grateful for the leadership and contributions made by Roxie to MSAD throughout her career.

 Ms. Anne Grace Donatucci steps into the Director role with a wealth of experience in different areas of instruction and curriculum.   She has been at MSAD as a Student Development Coordinator for the past two years, supporting students taking classes at Faribault Public Schools, working on curriculum development, and implementing different types of teacher training. During this period of time, she also supported efforts to improve our test results and accountability. She also completed coursework and internship hours to become licensed as a Special Education Director.  Since January, Ms. Donatucci has served as our interim Director for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Elementary Departments.   Prior to her employment at MSAD, Ms. Donatucci worked at the Metro Deaf School as a teacher and obtained her principal’s license through classes at the University of Minnesota.  During her tenure at MDS, she also served as the vice-chair of their Board of Directors.   Ms. Donatucci has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master’s Degree in Special Education – Deaf/Hard of Hearing from the University of Minnesota.  Ms. Donatucci is also a certified ASL/English interpreter, holding NIC Advanced certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.   Ms. Donatucci grew up in Boulder, Colorado and currently resides in Faribault with her wife, Ronda Jo, and their daughter, Grace.

 Ms. Jody Olson has been at MSAD for a long time, starting when she entered MSAD as a high school student.  After graduating from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, Ms. Olson started teaching at MSAD.  During her teaching career, Ms. Olson also served in many different capacities, including serving as a team leader, sponsoring drama productions, coordinating summer programs, leading student organizations, and heading up our efforts to improve and organize our school museum.  As she continued teaching, she acquired her Master’s Degree in Special Education – Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing from the University of Minnesota.   After a short break from teaching, working at Camp Lakodia in South Dakota, Ms. Olson returned to Minnesota and acquired her Principal’s license, taking classes at the University of Minnesota.  During the last few years, Ms. Olson has served in different leadership positions at MSAD, including coordinating classes at Faribault Public Schools, supervising the Middle School and High School Departments, working to bring bilingual ASL-English educational principles into our programs, and most recently, serving as the interim Director for our Middle School/High School Departments.  Ms. Olson resides in Faribault with her husband, David, and has three adult children – Jacey, Tasha, and Nathan.

 Throughout the search process, we sought leaders who could bring our community together, were strong communicators, strategic thinkers, and have a keen understanding and appreciation of the principles and values upon which MSAD was founded. We believe Ms. Donatucci and Ms. Olson will continue to build on the excellence in education we expect of our school as well as the culture and community that we value as students, family members, and staff members. This will undoubtedly provide an enhanced educational experience for our students.   I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who played a role in this process, including the people who served on the interview committee, representing different stakeholders on the MSAD campus.  That includes all of the people who attended the meet-and-greet forums, responded to survey questions, and/or gave feedback. We could not have completed this journey without you. As Ms. Donatucci and Ms. Olson step into their new roles, we will be working together to make decisions and make plans as part of the transition into new leadership for the 2017-2018 school year.   I look forward to the positive future of MSAD and hope that you will join me in welcoming both individuals in their new roles at MSAD.


Terry Wilding
Minnesota State Academies