John Wheaton, Executive Director
"I like the idea that our work is significant and that we are making a difference. On a daily basis, I see the tangible results of the work we are doing in shaping young people on and off the court."
John Wheaton joined InnerCity Tennis in 2014 as Associate Director, a position that had him directing operations, tennis programming, and customer service at ICT's 11-court indoor facility, the Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center in South Minneapolis. As Executive Director, John will now oversee all business operations and programming for ICT, including Administration, Communication, Advancement, Tennis Center Programs and Operations, Community Outreach Programs, and Customer Service.
John began his professional career as an Account Executive in the Tennis Division of International Management Group (IMG), where he coached and managed pro tennis players and directed professional tennis events. While at IMG, John also served as Associate Director of the world-renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he worked closely with its founder and ICT Board member, Nick Bollettieri.
John formerly owned and directed the Wheaton Tennis Academy, taught as a Professor of Humanities at Crown College, and worked as an independent academic consultant. He earned a BA from the University of Minnesota, where he played on the men's varsity tennis team, and a JD from the Pepperdine University School of Law. He also serves as the Director of Tennis at Wayzata Country Club. John lives in Deephaven with his wife and four children.
Ann Wordelman, Associate Director
“I am excited about the opportunity to advance ICT’s mission of developing and unleashing the potential of youth by connecting with our generous and supportive donor community. Helping underserved youth and providing financial assistance to those in need is a passion of mine, and I am looking forward to meeting both current and new donors who share our commitment to youth.”
Ann comes to ICT with a successful background in non-profit volunteer development and corporate marketing. Her passion for education has led her to volunteer leadership roles with the Yale Alumni Fund and Harvard Business School campaigns, as well as the Edina Education Fund, where she was Co-Chair of the Board. She has also served as a Board member for the Yale Alumni Association of the Northwest. Professionally, Ann was employed most recently as an Associate Director in the Carlson Brand Enterprise at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, where she worked on projects for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Previously, Ann held marketing roles at General Mills, Medtronic Diabetes, and 3M.
Ann received her BA from Yale University, where she served as a tutor with the Youth Together mentoring program and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. Ann lives in Edina with her husband and two children. She developed her love of tennis while living in Southern California as a young mother of two, and continues to enjoy playing doubles.
Brady Schmidt, Communications & Marketing Director
"I can’t count all the smiles I have captured through the camera lens here. It is rewarding to capture the wonderful stories that this organization creates for our community and city.”
Brady Schmidt, ICT’s Communications and Marketing Director, oversees the development of the organization's communication, marketing and program materials, including print, web, photo/video and social media. Brady joined ICT in June 2006 as the organization’s first full-time communications staff.
Brady graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2005 with a BA degree in Communication Studies. He learned the sport of tennis during his employment at ICT and enjoys playing in his free time in both the Minneapolis parks and at Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center. Brady lives in South Minneapolis with his wife and 3 children.
Laura Meyer, Information Systems Manager, Junior Coordinator
"Four years ago I fell in love with tennis, two years later I started working here. I love the environment here; it's a place people can escape from the stress of the 'real world' and just have fun playing tennis."
Laura is our data diva and behind the scenes champion. She supports our vast need for responsive and orderly data. When not working at the front desk or in the back office, she can be seen hitting some powerful overheads in our Women's Daytime League!
Ben Ysarguirre, Maintenance
Ben is our night time janitor. You may never see Ben, but you see the evidence of his fine work of maintaining this facility.
Community Program Staff
Song Thao, Education & Outreach Program Director
"What I like about ICT is that everyone involved in the programs gives back to the community in one way or another," Song said. "We have adults volunteering as coaches, and players helping younger kids learn to play. It is a great cycle of service from people of all ages."
Song Thao began working at ICT in February 2014 as the Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) Coordinator, and was promoted to Education Manager in April 2015. In September 2015, Song was promoted to Education and Outreach Program Director. Song’s role is to effectively deliver ICT’s Outreach programs and lead the Outreach team. He is responsible for the development and implementation of ICT’s Super Saturday, Tennis in the Parks, ACE, Topspin, Head Start, and Autism programs.
Song started playing tennis in his junior year for Harding High School in St. Paul. He took his first lessons the following summer with Saint Paul Urban Tennis (SPUT). He then worked for SPUT for 10 summers throughout his college and his early professional years. He often talks about tennis as coming full-circle for him.
Song graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008 with a degree in Studio Art. He went on to earn his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2011. Before joining ICT, he spent three years as a middle school art teacher at Hmong College Prep Academy in St. Paul. He is a practicing artist and certified USPTA teaching professional. Song is married and lives in Brooklyn Park, MN.
Dilcia Pederson, Programs Manager
"I like working for ICT and Reed Sweatt because I get to teach children a sport that they can play for the rest of their lives."
In addition to conducting youth programs each day, Dilcia coordinates scheduling with all of ICT’s Community Outreach programs, registration of our Super Saturday program and the hiring of our Summer Tennis in the Parks instructors each year.
Dilcia, a Minneapolils South High School graduate, began playing tennis in ICT’s Summer Tennis in the Parks Program in the 1990s. “Dil” is now an Elite USPTA pro (ten years plus) and regional tester for aspiring pros. In the fall of 2014, Dil coached the Washburn High School JV Girls team.
Dylan Kelly, Program Delivery Specialist
"I like how tennis teaches you that dedication and concentration can help you achieve your goals."
Dylan Kelly joined the InnerCity Tennis staff full time in 2015, working part time at the tennis desk and part time as a coach in ICT's Cities Academy program. Dylan grew up in the InnerCity Tennis program as a player. He was a Summer Tennis in the Parks instructor for many years and was promoted to a coordinator position in the summer of 2014. He played college tennis at St. Scholastica and very much still enjoys watching and playing the game as well as inspiring the next generation of young players.
Omar Warfa, Volunteer Coordinator
"I enjoy the challenges and surprises that come with teaching and motivating such a large group of children and youth."
Omar joined the InnerCity Tennis team in the summer of 2014 after moving to Minnesota. He is tasked with recruiting volunteers for all of ICT’s School and Community Outreach and Super Saturday Programs.
Having worked, interned and volunteered in the nonprofit sector throughout his time in high school and college, Omar developed a life-long passion for community-engagement, philanthropy and advocacy. Although he is new to the game of tennis, his openness to learn and experience new things is inspirational to our team. Omar graduated from San Diego State University in 2013 with a degree in Conflict Resolution and a minor in International Studies.
Laura Myers, Education Coordinator
“I appreciate that ICT combines tennis and education to show the importance of social, intellectual, and physical well-being. It is rewarding to motivate kids in learning more about the world around them.”
Laura Myers began working at InnerCity Tennis in June 2016 as the Education Coordinator. Laura’s role is to plan and deliver lessons and activities for ACE and Topspin. She strives to create a sense of empowerment and creativeness for the students in a safe learning environment. Her tennis experience involves informal matches as a kid with her family and she is excited for the opportunity to grow her tennis skills even more at ICT. Laura graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and History.
Tennis Desk Staff
Tina Haapala, Operations Manager
"I've worked here almost 18 years and am still only the 3rd most senior member of the staff! Ironically, I still do not play tennis!"
Tina is the “glue” that holds the entire facility and its operations together. Not only does she know your registration number the moment she hears your voice on the phone, she is on top of every detail of your Reed Sweatt experience.
Janet Czaia, Customer Service Manager
Mary Baker, Women’s Daytime League Coordinator
"My favorite thing about Reed Sweatt is that it continues to be open to the public. Its rich history for me reaches back to 1952, my very first tournament. I love the mix of customers and being able to serve them!"
Mary Baker's experience with Reed Sweatt and formerly Nicollet Tennis Center spans five decades. She is a championship player, a keeper of the human history of this organization and a consummate professional manager of our Women's Daytime League.
John Ribnick, Permanent Court Time Coordinator
"Working here has helped my world view. I have witnessed parts of hundreds of matches and almost all players are scrupulously fair, and in the vast majority of cases, give their opponents the benefit of the doubt, frequently calling shots in which are an inch of two out. Seeing this and looking beyond it to most people in general; they do try to be decent and fair minded, and the news we are bombarded with about bad people clouds our vision of people's 24/7 efforts to do the right thing."
John has worked at Nicollet Tennis / Reed Sweatt for 35 years and coached at Southwest High School for 10 years along the way.
Gayle Groebner, Front Desk Staff
"Working at Reed Sweatt has been a very rich experience for me. I’ve enjoyed meeting our customers from all walks of life and being part of the family atmosphere we create."
Gayle has over 20 years of experience at the front desk. She is a self taught tennis player that learned to play as a teenager when her small farming community built a singles court near her school. Gayle helps coordinate our Friday night Mixed Doubles leagues.
Kristen Lexcen, Front Desk Staff
"I really enjoy the people at InnerCity Tennis. Tennis truly is a lifelong sport and it's really neat to see so many people enjoying it at all ages."
Kristen graduated from Bemidji State University with a degree in Physical Education, Developmentally Adapted Physical Education and Coaching. She has spent the past 6 years teaching and has had the pleasure of coaching numerous sports at the middle, high school and college level.
Andrew Siegfried, Front Desk Staff
“I learned to play tennis at Reed Sweatt. In fact, my whole family has played here over the years! It’s neat to be able to now work with some of the same people who taught me how to love the game of tennis!”
Andrew learned how to play tennis through attending Saturday and after school programs at Reed Sweatt. He played high school tennis at Minneapolis Southwest all four years, 3 years on varsity and was Captain his senior year. Andrew was a Summer Tennis in the Parks Instructor for InnerCity Tennis who is currently a sophomore in college studying Computer Science.
Anthony Siegfried, Front Desk Staff
"I grew up playing tennis at ICT, and now its fun to be able to help others learn to love the game!"
Anthony learned how to play tennis at Reed Sweatt by participating in the Saturday and after school programs. Currently a senior at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Anthony has played tennis on the boys team since 9th grade, and as a varsity player the last two years. He is looking forward to his senior season on the courts in the spring of 2016.
Anthony has been a Summer Tennis in the Parks Instructor for ICT and also an Instructor for the Minneapolis Park/Rec summer kids programs. He looks forward to starting college in the fall of 2016.
Tennis Professional Staff
Kathy Alex, Head Coach of 12U Development
I am so excited to be working at InnerCity Tennis. The mission to give back to the community and to give kids a chance no matter what their economic or social position, is what I’m all about!
Kathy is ICT’s Head Coach of 12U Development. She has decades of experience coaching junior and college tennis, and enjoyed an illustrious playing career, competing for the UCLA Bruins and playing on the pro tour.
Kyle Buchmeier, USPTA Teaching Professional, Women's Daytime League
“The atmosphere at InnerCity Tennis is great and the people I get to coach are a lot of fun. I enjoy working with players in such a friendly, welcoming space."
Kyle has worked at ICT since 2011, formerly teaching at Wooddale Tennis and Health and serving as Head Coach at Woodbury and Winona Cotter High Schools. He captained the Winona Sttate Men’s Tennis Team for three years.
Callee Conda, USPTA Teaching Professional
"I love the family focus here! I grew up in a tennis family, so this organization has been a natural fit for me. Young children, youth, adults and seniors - we do it all here!"
Callee has coached at ICT since 2011 after working at Longview Tennis Club in Duluth and at three Park and Rec programs. She played #1 singles and served as captain for both Hibbing High School and St. Scholastica College.
Wessel Kemp, USPTA Teaching Professional
"It was the spirit behind ICT that attracted me, the heart of the employees and staff, combined with the dreams of those that come to play the game."
Wessel grew up in South Africa and played Division I tennis at Oral Roberts University. He has served as a High Performance coach at ICT since 2013 working with some of the top players in our program.
Bill Stark, USPTA Teaching Professional, Adult Coordinator
"I truly love tennis. I love coaching and teaching the game and the challenge of become a better coach and player."
Bill has taught at Reed Sweatt since 2011, which follows more than 30 years of coaching experience, including 17 years at Lifetime Fitness Bloomington and Lakeville. He is a certified USTA umpire and has served as the Head Boys Tennis Coach at Lakeville North High School since 2005.