School Board

CRC takes pride in the work that we do for our students. CRC teachers and staff are directed in part by our Board of Directors.

group picture of CRC board members in front of CRC sign and books.
Christine Besch (Board Secretary), Anne Vang-Lo (Executive Director), Cheng Mor Vang (Board Vice-Chair), Chue Lor (Board Member), KaMai Xiong (Board Chair), Sam Wakefield (Board Member)
Not pictured: Crystal Lee (Board Treasurer), John Sherman (Board Member)
KaMai Xiong – Board Chair

KaMai Xiong, a parent advocate at PACER Center since 1992, provide workshops, written materials, and individual assistance to Hmong and Asian families to help them advocate for their child’s learning needs. I also provide consultation for professionals on how to work with Hmong families of children with disabilities. Research on family engagement and my practical experience including being a father of 7 adult children show that a strong family- school partnership is the key to the educational success of children. As a board member, I will help Cross River Charter build such partnership so its students will reach their learning potential.

Cheng Mor Vang – Board Vice Chair

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Cheng Mor Vang is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota and attended Tartan High School, Oakdale, MN. Upon graduating high school, Cheng Mor enlisted into the United States Marine Corps where he completed Marine Corps Recruit Training, Marine Combat Training located in San Diego California.  In April of 2015 Cheng Mor received orders to the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit as an Administrative Specialist and deployed to support in Operation Odyssey Lightning in 2016 and later on in 2017 to support Operation Juniper Agies with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa 18.1.  Cheng Mor received the rank of Sergeant after serving 4 honorable years in the United States Armed Forces, Cheng Mor returned home to help his family and continue to run their family business’. Cheng Mor currently is a human resources representative at West Asia Home Care, LLC.

Growing up, education has always been emphasized in my family. My father has always stressed that education among the youth will help drive their future. I believe that school is where the youth finds more than education. The hope is that they can find role models, purpose, and companions who can impact their lives at an early age. Therefore, I am fortunate to be a founding board member and become a foundation to help mold the future of Cross River and their students.

Crystal Lee – Board Treasurer

Crystal is a proud Hmong woman, daughter, wife, and eldest child of refugee parents. She received her master’s in Higher Education from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is currently completing her PhD in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with a focus in Higher Education at the University of Minnesota. Crystal has over 8 years of experience in various facets of higher education, but she is particularly interested in high impact practices within education. Her research interests range from studying community college systems and students, the role of family in a student’s academic motivation, and understanding the engagement practices of first, 1.5, and 2nd generation students. At the moment she serves as the Assistant Director of the Louis Stokes North Star STEM Alliance at the University of Minnesota.

Christine Besch – Board Secretary

I am Christine Besch. I have been in education in one way or another my entire life; either teaching, coaching, or learning. I chose to join Cross River Charter as a founding board member because I truly believe that a school should meet the needs of all students and should also reflect the community which it serves. I am in the final stages of my pursuit of a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction and I look froward to supporting CRC with implementation of best practice and current research in all educational areas as we work together to support the students on their educational journey. 

John Sherman – Board Member

When my daughters were younger they benefited from having a broad range of options for their primary education.  I learned that each child is unique in pursuing learning. There is no one size fits all model for our children. Cross River Charter will be a school that will provide a challenge to each child.  I had the opportunity to serve for several years on the site council for the alternative school my daughter attended. It taught me the meaning of the guidance that “there are not other’s children.

Sam Wakefield – Board Member

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I am currently the science teacher, special education teacher and dean of students at Cross River Charter School. I started my career as a physical education and special education teacher in Fairfax, MN. I taught physical and health education at a charter school in Brooklyn Park for four years and was a dean of students/activities director for another four years at a charter school located in Otsego, MN. This is my 10th year in education, and I am excited to be part of Cross River Charter School.

I live in Hudson, Wisconsin with my family and Dog. My wife (Haley), 3-year-old son (Harrison), 1-year-old daughter (Crosby), and dog (Ruthie). We own a small sandwich shop in Downtown Hudson called The Subhouse. If I am not working, I am with my family, hanging out outside, or golfing. 

Chue Lor – Board Member