The right choice for our students, families and community.
I was born in Red Lake, MN and I am a enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Ojibwe). I have four children, my two oldest are now out of school, while my younger two are in fourth and third grades in Minneapolis Public Schools.
I have worked in Human Services as a MFIP Program Manager helping families overcome barriers to become self-sufficient. Some of these barriers include affordable housing, transportation, food-hunger, domestic violence, substance abuse. I have a keen understanding of the challenges that families face.
Read the articles below to understand my positions on some important issues.
I am proud to have earned the endorsements of so many respected organizations and community members:
Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL)
Frank Hornstein, Minnesota House of Representative, Southwest District
Susan Allen, Minnesota House of Representative, Southwest District
Karen Clark, Minnesota House of Representative, Southwest District
Linea Palmissano, City Council Member, Southwest District
Lisa Bender, City Council Member, Southwest District
John Quincy, City Council Member, Southwest District
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59, members are Teachers and Education Support Professionals
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation
Kim Ellison, Minneapolis School Board Director
Rebecca Gagnon, Minneapolis School Board Director
Mary Rynchek, Retired MPS District 6 Principal and Teacher
David West, Media Arts Teacher Southwest High School
Lois Hall MD, Kenny parent, pediatrician, former member of District Teaching and Learning Committee, District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), 2020 Strategic Planning Committee and volunteer
Amy Hasbargen, PTA Chair, Site Leadership Council, District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) and Burroughs parent
Ahndi Fridell, Former MPS District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) Chair and Southwest parent
Karen Knapp, Former District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) member, Lake Harriet parent
Nonie Kouneski, Southwest High School Social Studies Teacher
Jennifer Bertram, Social Worker at Outreach and Policy Program Coordinator Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, University of Minnesota
Nancy Ledesma, Retired Washburn Teacher and current substitute teacher
Caroline Hooper, Southwest High School Social Studies Teacher
Joe Musich, Retired MPS Teacher
Gwen Spurgat, School Site Leadership Councils, Southwest parent
Jim Thomas, MPS Teacher
Bob and Judy Bjorke, Retired MPS Teacher, MPS Social Worker
Satish Kalale Iyengar, volunteer and Southwest parent
Karen Bair, theater arts volunteer, Barton and Washburn parent
Jacob Horner, Barton parent
Sarah Pitts, Lake Harriet parent
Val Olsen-Rittler, Southwest High School Social Studies Teacher
Eli Kaplan, MPS parent, helped develop graduate competency for South Open.
Dan Bettino, SPPS Spanish Immersion Teacher
Karen Ba, Southwest parent
Kristin Benson, Teacher and Lake Harriet parent
Kendra Waldauer, Teacher and Southwest parent
Anja Curiskis, Kenny parent and volunteer
Ann Smith, Parent Teacher Association, Lake Harriet parent
Pia Payne-Shannon, Teacher Mentor
Gretchen Lieving, MPS employee and Southwest parent
Amy Mimick, Parent Teacher Association, Lake Harriet parent
Elizabeth & William Rahn, Mainstreet School of Performing Arts-MSSPA (formerly Fair School) parents
Lisa Gardner, Director, Institutional Funding and New Business Development - PRI, LH parent
Rachel Jevne, Southwest High School Social Studies Teacher
Casey Briskin, English Teacher Southwest High School
Anj Petsch, Former Site Leadership Council member, Lake Harriet parent
Jesse Petsch, Lake Harriet parent
Karen Thill, Licensed School Nurse at Emerson and Southwest parent
Allison Stevens, Former School Site Leadership Council member, SW parent
Rhonda Bonnabeau, MPS Employee, former school Site Leadership Council, LH parent
Kori Hennessy, Barton parent
I believe in properly funding neighborhood schools in every part of the city, and won’t support a budget that leads to over-crowded classrooms. Parents should not have to raise outside funds to support basic school services. We need less money spent on administrators at the district office, and more resources sent to the schools in every neighborhood. Better schools in every part of the city will not only help the students, but it will also help strengthen the city.
Thanks, Minnesota Federation of Teachers Local 59, for the Endorsement! I am proud of earning and humbly accept the support of the MFT Teachers & Educational Support Professionals. I'm looking forward to working with MPS staff and teachers towards our shared values and goals for student success.
It was exciting that the MFT invited parents and delegates to their screening event this year. It is great to see the community investing in our schools!
Here is a link to the candidate answers to the MFT questionnaire: http://www.mft59.org/index.php/school-board-referendum-and-elections-information/mft-2016-school-board-candidate-questionnaire
Of course our students need math, language arts, social studies and science, but the education of a child is so much more. I support educating and helping to form all aspects of our students. Our students need adequate lunch breaks and recess. Our students need access to social workers, nurses, and other support staff. Our students need time to read for enjoyment. Our students need the arts, culturally relevant curriculum, and time for real world investigation. I understand the importance of educating the whole child.
My professional background is in Human Services working with families on MFIP/Public Assistance-families that face enormous odds and barriers OUTSIDE of the classroom which affects their learning INSIDE the classroom. These issues include housing-homelessness, transportation, employment, etc. I want to bring the experience that I have working with families and use that knowledge to build upon existing MPS collaborations to support these students and their families INSIDE the classroom. These are some of the multi-faceted issues causing the achievement/opportunity gap. I am committed to solving these issues by bringing my professional experience to the board.
We need a school board that functions well. I believe our schools are not only accountable to the public, but they must also be supported and informed by the public. We must encourage our school communities to accept authentic input from parents and I will insist that the school district do the same. As a parent of students of color, I see too many of us marginalized and disregarded by MPS. Taking community engagement seriously is a strong step towards achieving racial equity.
Over the last seven years as an involved parent with the Minneapolis Public Schools, I’ve seen how the administration has lost the trust of families throughout Minneapolis. We must demand the district provide more transparency and accountability in its decisionmaking, and genuinely engage the communities it serves. I support smaller classroom sizes, adequate budget to guarantee basic levels of programming for each school, and lessening the high-stakes testing atmosphere that redirects resources away from our students.
I believe in supporting our teaching and staff because I know they work hard for our students and care deeply about them. I believe their teaching skills are currently underutilized as they are being asked to follow too many scripted tasks and timelines. We need to work with them to develop the solutions we need for our students.
We need strong local community schools that will in turn build strong local communities. Local community schools anchor local neighborhoods that build strong ties with families, neighbors, and demonstrate a great benefit to all who live and work in these communities. As parents of elementary students who attend a K-5, Leah and I see and value the impact that our childrens' school has on the surrounding community.
There are many great things going on in our district that work and we can build on and be proud of. Some examples are the “Co-teaching” model at Lucy Laney that has shown results and the top-notch IB programs at so many of our high schools. Showcasing what works in all areas of the district makes us attractive to parents looking to educate their families. And for the families that have chosen MPS it provides insight to making sure they made the right choice in choosing MPS. Finally, for the teachers, these little celebrations show that we appreciate their hard work and skills.