About Our School

What is a folk school?

The folk school tradition traces its origins to Scandinavian countries, with NFS Grundtvig of Denmark coining the term 'schools for life' as part of his philosophy of education, and of his vision for strengthening and empowering communities. Our folk school focuses on an unplugged, deliberate approach, with an emphasis on intergenerational learning that is fun, collaborative and restorative.

MMFS Mission

Our mission is to enrich lives and strengthen community by inviting all people to discover the joy of creating together from a folk school tradition.


MMFS Vision

Our vision is to make a better world by building community, encouraging curiosity, and celebrating the gift of beauty in all we create.


MMFS Values

    • We value a culture that supports learners and teachers.

    • We invite all communities to gather in the joy of making.

    • We believe in the restorative value of our natural environment, and in our responsibility to protect it.

    • We strive to be a positive presence, seeking to nurture, support, and champion the communities we serve.

Our Board

Andy Wallace. Owner of construction company for 20+ years, long-time local volunteer for a variety of organizations.

Jane Norbin. Retired from Ramsey County after more than 20 years, with roles that included Public Health, Homeland Security, and Health Policy management. She also founded and managed two community non-profit organizations.

Julie McGarvie. Returned to the area as an adult after growing up in Chisago County. Always interested in the arts, professionally she has focused on strategic communications and creative production for arts and cultural organizations.

Kathy Marker. Recently retired from YMCA organization as Day Camp Project Manager and Director of Volunteers, long-time community volunteer.

Matthew Smith, Treasurer. Local resident and volunteer, currently County Manager of Dakota County, prior to that was Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Revenue, and Director of Finance, City of St. Paul.

Nanc MacLeslie, Secretary. On the founding Board of Marine Community Library, professional skills in marketing and communications, singer and musician who has often performed for local non-profit benefits.

Robin Brooksbank, Board Chair. Community volunteer, former city council member and board member for a variety of non-profits, retired co-owner of manufacturing company.

Reports and Forms

Our Shared Stories

Sawmill in Marine MIlls courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

History of Marine Mills

Founded in 1839, Marine Mills was the site of the first commercial sawmill in what would become the state of Minnesota.  As lumbering became less of a dominant economic force, Twin Cities residents became increasingly interested in the area for its natural beauty and access to the St. Croix River.  In an effort to emphasize the area's  pastoral beauty, the city name was changed to 'Marine on St. Croix' in 1912, as 'Marine Mills' was felt to be too industrial.