CHRISTINA SAUNDERS | Executive Director

Christina comes to ACES from KIPP Minnesota where she was the Special Education Coordinator for three years. A native Minnesotan, she ventured out east after high school and graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Public Policy and Law. Following college graduation, she became a New York City Teaching fellow in the South Bronx. She taught both elementary and special education, and went on to be a founding member of the School for Environmental Citizenship, also in the South Bronx.

ZONG VANG | Education Program Director

Zong brings to ACES over 9 years of experience as a Program Director for Community Education Programs in Saint Paul. She enjoys working with both families and students to achieve their full potential in becoming future leaders. She holds a B.A. in Secondary Education Social Studies with a minor in Special Education from Concordia University in St. Paul.  She currently resides in Woodbury, MN with her husband and two boys' ages 7 and 9. She loves the Twin Cities for their historical value, and is proud to live in a place that has given generations of immigrants' opportunities to flourish and live their dreams.

MISHA EVERTZ | Curriculum and Data Coordinator

Misha grew up through the St. Paul Public School District before heading west to Whitman College, graduating in 2013 with a degree in biology and geology. She joined ACES during her term as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation after coordinating the tutoring program at Ramsey Middle School. Currently, she provides student and programmatic support as the Curriculum and Data Coordinator.

STEVE PALMER | Grant Manager and Development Associate

Steve began with ACES as a Site Leader at Green Central School and quickly rose through the ranks. His youth experience includes two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation at Ramsey Junior High, coordinating volunteer tutors to work with students struggling with reading and math. He also spent a year teaching English at a university in Southern China after graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2010, conducting lessons on everything from basic grammar to the history of rock music.

EMMA CRUMLEY | Development Associate

Emma joined ACES in summer 2016 after spending a year working for Gopher Athletics in the Golden Gopher Fund. She brings her interest in athletics and fundraising in her new role as Development Associate. Emma graduated from St. Olaf College in 2014 with a degree in Exercise Science where she also  spent four years playing soccer and running track. In her spare time, Emma enjoys taking pictures and coaching youth soccer.

ANNY VANG | Operations Coordinator

Anny began working with ACES in 2011 as a freshman at Hamline University with an interest in tutoring. She never left and has worked her way up, first as an Academic Coach, then as a Site Leader, and now as the Operations coordinator with roles spanning from program support, to accounting, to HR. She graduated in 2015 with a degree in Economics. Outside of ACES, you can find Anny babysitting her nieces and nephews or spending time with family.


Jonathan brings aboard a passion to help those in the community. As a native of Los Angeles, California he brings experience working in both the non-profit realm as well as experience in professional sports franchises with the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jonathan graduated from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Public Relations.  He believes that each student has the full potential to do anything they set their mind to and is excited to be a part of an organization like ACES.

KRISTA MEHRL | Site Leader

Krista, a converted Minnesotan, grew up in a southern suburb of Chicago. As an education major at the University of St. Thomas, Krista started out with ACES in 2012 as an Academic Coach hoping to develop her classroom skills. She graduated in 2015 and currently holds a license to teach 5th-12th grade Social Studies. Krista is able to combine her love for kids and sports as she edits and implements curriculum as a Site Leader.


Claire graduated with a culinary degree in 2007 and has spent time working in both restaurants and bakeries around the country. Seeking a career change, she began with ACES in early 2015 as an Academic Coach and is now working as a Site Leader in Minneapolis. In her spare time Claire enjoys biking around the city, listening to live music, and crafting.