Minnetonka Public Schools has named two new employees who join teacher-leader Erik Sill in leading VANTAGE, Minnetonka High School's thriving profession-based, immersive experience for juniors and seniors.
Carmen Uecker has been named Program Development Director and Roger Andre has been named Business Development Director for VANTAGE. They will be instrumental in building key partnerships for the growing program and in creating strong relationships in the community that will provide new learning opportunities and mentorships to our VANTAGE students. Uecker and Andre replace two members of the VANTAGE leadership team, Dick Hurrelbrink and Melissa Olson, who have moved on to pursue other opportunities.
"Andre brings a vast background in business and consulting, helping to bring our students more opportunities to apply their learning in real world situations and improve their leadership skills. His positive and proactive approach will accelerate VANTAGE to new level," said Minnetonka High School Principal Jeffrey Erickson. "Uecker's background, both as an educator and a business leader, along with her marketing skills, are stellar assets to the VANTAGE leadership team as it poised for an amazing year of student success."
Uecker previously served as Director of Communications for UnitedHealthcare, and before that, as Director of Alliances at Optum, overseeing strategic partnerships for the organization. She also has experience as an adjunct business professor and has led marketing, community engagement, and communications initiatives across multiple industries. She began her career teaching English at a middle school in Edina, MN and holds a master of arts in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor of arts in English from University of St. Thomas. She also earned a mini-masters of business communications and was certified as a digital marketing professional through University of St. Thomas.
Of her new role, Uecker said, "The VANTAGE program is impressive. It demonstrates the kind of innovation and thought-leadership for which the Minnetonka School District is known. Building relationships between schools, businesses, and the community allows our students to experience the professional world and to connect and learn in unique, meaningful ways, preparing them for success in school and after graduation."
Andre is the Founder of TouchPoint Consulting and has more than 25 years of experience helping clients improve performance and build new capabilities. His primary focus areas are customer relationship management, sales force management, marketing, customer service, eLearning, change management, channel strategy, and reengineering. Previously, Andre was employed by Personnel Decisions International, Deloitte Consulting, CSC Index, and International Systems Development Japan. He holds MBAs from the University of Chicago (with honors) and from Universiteit Leuven in Belgium (with distinction) and a bachelor of science in business from the Carlson School of Management, as well as a bachelor of arts in Japanese from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts.
Andre said, "Twenty years ago, my family and I moved here from California to take advantage of the outstanding public education that many Minnesotans take for granted. The VANTAGE program at Minnetonka High School is the perfect opportunity for me to give back, contributing my skills and experience to equip students for success. I look forward to taking this great program to new levels of excellence."
Erik Sill, as you may know, was an inaugural member of the VANTAGE leadership team and continues to be integral to the program's leadership and success. Sill has taught in Minnetonka for the past 11 years, where he has also been the advisor for Minnetonka High School's chapter of DECA, a non-profit organization dedicated to preparing students for business careers. Last year, he was named Minnesota Business Teacher of the Year by the Marketing Business Information Technology Educators organization.
"With this distinguished, dedicated, and experienced team, I believe VANTAGE is poised for continued growth and success," Erickson said.