Large thumb screen shot 2016 04 08 at 12.29.33 am
Biography

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

EDUCATION

Equitable Funding

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.

EDUCATION

Teachers Endorsem...

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

EDUCATION

Whole Child

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.

HEALTHCARE

Wrap Around Services

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.

EDUCATION

An Effective Scho...

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.

EDUCATION

Supporting Our Te...

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.

EDUCATION

Strong Classrooms...

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.

EDUCATION

Promoting and Vis...

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.

Events

View All

Press

  1. Southwest Journal

    School Board races st...