Education Specialist of K-12 Administration from Concordia University; Master of
Education (Social Studies) from University of Minnesota; Bachelor of Psychology
from University of Minnesota
Brad Swanson is the Executive Director of Minnesota Connections Academy and has an
education specialist degree in K-12 administration from Concordia University. Mr.
Swanson appreciates the unique benefits of virtual school and the safe space it
provides students. He shares more about his story and the welcoming community at
Minnesota Connections Academy below!
Learn How We Make a Difference
Why I Became an Educator
I always knew that I wanted to work with children but initially did not know in what
capacity. I do not have a traditional teaching background and my original career path
involved child psychology. Through research and volunteer work, I found that the best way to
utilize my child psychology background was through teaching. Once I settled on this path, I
was completely engrossed in everything teaching and I could not wait to work with young
My favorite part of the job is student success! Any time a student meets a goal, exceeds
expectations on an assignment, or simply shows their best self, I am happy. Being an
educator allows many opportunities to celebrate successes on a daily basis. We are fortunate
to work in a field where success means so many things to so many people. At Minnesota
Connections Academy, we get to be there all along the way.
My favorite part of the job is student success! Any
time a student meets a goal, exceeds expectations on an assignment, or simply shows
their best self, I am happy.
— Mr. Swanson
The Online School Experience at Minnesota
We provide a welcoming community by building relationships and seeking to understand every
member in our community on a personal level. Here, we want to know our students and their
families—and we care deeply about those relationships. In order to provide the highest
quality education, we have to know who are students are, what motivates them, what goals
they have, and what makes them happy. With that knowledge, we can provide a welcoming
community focused on student success. This philosophy extends to our staff as we work to
know each other at the same level. This allows us to enter into difficult conversations when
necessary, with the knowledge that we truly care about each other and our students and
We provide students with a safe place to express themselves, to explore their passions, and
to make decisions that have impact on their own future. We provide students with a safe
space to help them understand who they are. Knowledge about oneself is as important to a
bright and happy future as anything else that can be taught in a school and often students
need a place to do this without fear of teasing, shame, and the underlying unhappiness and
The Benefits of K-12 Online Learning
We focus additional effort on working with students one-on-one and the large group delivery
of instruction is more of a supplemental component of our program. We can take some of the
best things from brick-and-mortar education and embed them in a virtual setting while
providing a flexible educational environment for our students and families. We are not
restricted by walls, bells, and available desks. We can customize the school for an
individual student by building a strong relationship and relying on our years of collective
experience and expertise.
I love that we are here for our students when they need us. We know that we are an
alternative program and we embrace that. We support our students as individuals,
understanding that many have joined our school because their last school did not work out
for them. I appreciate that we have the capacity to support our students as individuals and
to meet their diverse needs. At times, their most pressing need is to heal or take a break
from more traditional school settings before returning at a later point. I love that our
students receive a high quality education from us regardless of how long they plan to stay.
We provide students with a safe place to express themselves,
to explore their passions, and to make decisions that have impact on their own future.
— Mr. Swanson