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Staff & Students

Who We Are

Our vision is to develop and offer year-round, community-based, extracurricular programming that meets the needs of youth in our community.

our staff

Meet our educators and support team

Mike Todd, Executive Director and Educator

Mike Todd has been teaching science since 2005. His innovative teaching methods engage his students in student-driven, community-based Environmental Impact Projects that work to transform the environment, community member mindsets, and the students’ sense of place. He has engaged his students in managing and reconstructing prairie, creating a more sustainable community, and sustainable food system projects through collaborations with local farmers and the Lexicon of Sustainability. He has earned a BS in Electrical Engineering, a BS in physics, a Masters of Science in Neuroscience, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching all from Iowa State University. He was awarded a Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Education in 2013, an Excellence in Science Teaching award from the Iowa Academy of Science in 2014, many conservation awards over the years, and won the 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for Iowa.

Mike Lazere, Board Vice President and Educator

Mike has lived in Ames with his wife Lynn and daughter Zoey since 1996. Zoey went through Ames schools and graduated from ISU in 2020.

Mike was a secondary science teacher for 28 years, including 16 years in the Ames schools working with TCA founders Mike Todd and Collin Reichert. He has been teaching elementary age and preschool students since 2019, and is currently teaching at Ames Community Preschool Center (ACPC).

One of the reasons that Mike left teaching in the public schools was his frustration with traditional educational systems that do not engage students in meaningful learning. He is enthusiastic about TCA because it is based on educational principles that allow for student choice and promote deep learning and self discovery. He has been one of TCA’s biggest cheerleaders for years and is very happy to be on the board!


Andi Todd, Administrative Assistant

Andi is very enthusiastic about the educational experiences that the children in our community experience through our programs. Her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education combined with her degree in Health Information Technology along with her experience in both fields made her a perfect fit for our work at The Community Academy. As our Administrative Assistant she assists with our bookkeeping, our task management, and our human resources needs. In addition to her work with The Community Academy, she works at Mary Greeley Medical Center as a medical coder.


It is the policy of The Community Academy to provide equal educational and employment opportunities and we will not illegally discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, and actual or potential parental, family, or marital status or socioeconomic status in its programs, activities, or employment practices. The Community Academy will take affirmative action in recruitment, appointment, assignment, and advancement of women and men, members of diverse racial/ethnic groups, and persons with disabilities for job categories in which any of these groups of people are unrepresented.

Get In Touch

We are located at a space reserved for local non-profits, The Collegiate Methodist Annex

Mail: 130 S. Sheldon Ave Suite 306, Ames, IA 50014

Email: info@thecommunityacademy.org

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