At the Center Our Staff Makes All The Difference

Mandi Buehl

Academy Program Director

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Mrs. Buehl has been teaching mostly science related classes since 2001–with a little math and technology thrown in for good measure. She graduated from UW Madison with degrees in Secondary Education for Chemistry and Broadfield Science, as well as a Masters in Educational Psychology. She started working with the Online Academy in 2014, where she enjoys teaching and writing an even greater variety of classes. In her free time she spends time with her family reading, playing games, and being outside.

Contact the director: 608-291-7019 |

Lydia Bertram

Ms. Bertram has been with the Center since 2016. Her background and experience include teaching social studies and computers, as well as five years as a Library Media Specialist. She holds degrees in Secondary Education for social studies and history, as well as a K-12 certification in Library Science. She is a passionate lifelong learner who spends her free time exploring new technology, reading about the past, and researching anything that strikes her interest. She hopes to inspire the same enthusiasm for learning in all of her students.

Susan Freiss

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Susan Freiss loves teaching! As a social justice educator, she seeks to draw out children’s perspective and voice while building their reading, writing, and higher-order thinking skills. She has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, is a reading specialist and a National Board-certified teacher.

Andrea Maxworthy O’Brien

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Andrea Maxworthy O’Brien is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, with a specialty in literacy and children’s literature. Currently she is the chair of selection committee for the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. In addition, she is a former middle school language arts teacher, who is currently certified as an elementary education (1-8) teacher and a reading teacher (PK-12). As a passionate book and movie lover, Andrea believes in the power of stories to change lives, create community, learn about the world around us, and entertain. Recently, she worked as part of a team to write a book which will be published this fall, Adoption Matters, aimed at social workers, psychologists, classroom teachers, and others who are part of the adoption story. Dr. O’Brien finds it amazing and exciting to have come full circle to work with middle school students again.

Christina Moehn

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Christina earned degrees in English and Spanish from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. She then studied education at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, where she received her Masters of Arts in Teaching. After teaching for six years in K-6 grade classrooms, she served as a dean of instruction, coaching and developing the teaching practices of classroom teachers, in Milwaukee, WI. Christina started teaching for The Center last year and is ecstatic to start year two. When Christina is not teaching online, she is reading, hiking, training for marathons, and spending time with her husband and toddler twin daughters, Sophie and Zoey.

Alison Staples

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Alison Staples began teaching at the Online Academy in 2014. Her favorite part of teaching is meeting and working with students at the face-to-face meetings, whether that be in person or via Zoom. She received an MAT and a Graduate Studies Certificate in Gifted Education from the University of Southern California where she was dual certified in both Wisconsin and California. She received undergrad degrees in International Relations and Spanish, including attending universities in Chile and Mexico. She also teaches piano, guitar, ukulele and organ lessons at her music studio. She strives to work in an environment that positively impacts young people while empowering them to bring about change in themselves and the world they aspire to create. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her three teenage kids, eating chocolate, reading and training for marathons.

Jennifer Kilburg

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Jennifer Kilburg taught classes with the Online Academy during the 2017-2018 school year and is thrilled to be back for the upcoming school year. Her experiences include teaching math, language arts, and social studies at the middle school level, teaching English to adult learners, and working with gifted elementary and middle school learners in enrichment programs. Jennifer has a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and is passionate about the power of literacy. When she is not teaching, Jennifer enjoys hiking with her dog, playing all types of games with her family, spending time on the lake, and cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers with her husband and twin sons.