The first time someone suggested I run for the SPPS school board I was flattered. The second time, and the third, I was flattered. I was honored. And I was full of excuses. Then, one evening with friends, I was called out. Every excuse I made, they countered. Every reason I wasn't qualified, I wasn't good enough, they had an answer to. They believed in me, and they believed in the job that I could do for the Saint Paul public school system. And that belief made all the difference.
As a former teacher, a proud parent, and a passionate supporter of my community school, I know what it takes to lead change in the SPPS system. And I know that it takes having all of the voices at the table - the teachers, the administrators, the parents, the students, the community, our local elected officials, and neighborhood leadership and businesses to bring about change.
I am a former middle and high school English teacher who put myself through undergraduate and graduate school by coaching A LOT of soccer, mentoring high school students, leading summer programs with Minneapolis Parks & Rec and St. Paul's Eastside YMCA, and working as a junior high English department secretary and educational assistant. These jobs paid little but expected much, and I was drawn to them. I sought them out because of the joy I found in working and connecting with kids. It surprised exactly no one that this work led me to teaching - something I found compelling, demanding, and awesome - in every sense of the word. When I left teaching to stay home with my daughter, now a six-year veteran of SPPS, I grieved the loss of that work. I missed it terribly as I set about building a different life. What I didn't know then is that our family's choice to enroll our child in our neighborhood school would reconnect me to that work, that joy, as both a parent and an organizer.
For the last five years I’ve been a member and leader in the Hamline Elementary PTA and during the last three years, I have also organized and facilitated a parent-led working group which brings together families, educators, community partners, and district professionals to build relationships, solve problems, and plan for the future in a collaborative, energetic environment. Our most notable achievements are charting our own path to become a full-service community school and laying the foundation for an ambitious, equity and student-centered school program redesign. This work opened opportunities to bring my experience and a school perspective to community organizations where I continue to serve and build community and family-supporting partnerships. I am pleased to serve on the Hamline University School of Education Advisory Board, the Mobile Menders Board of Directors and several community coalitions and committees. Through this ongoing work I have twice been recognized by the City of St. Paul’s Neighborhood Honor Roll program, in 2015 and 2018, for my efforts to build connections between schools and community.
And now it's time to start a movement; a movement to bring education into every conversation we have in our city. A movement to amplify the stories of our students and schools to inspire and mobilize our communities to invest in SPPS. A movement to create an exceptionally welcoming, responsive, and accessible district and board. A movement to truly welcome parents from across the city to be partners and allies in the education of our children. A movement that asks St. Paul to be vocal and unapologetic about our belief in our students. Every, single, one of them. Parents and communities from every corner of St. Paul love their kids and believe in their ability to succeed - they are hungry to build schools that welcome, support, and serve all kids. It's time to share power and build a foundation of collective, ongoing, and spirited investment in our schools. I can't wait to do this work with you.
HOW YOUR DONATION SUPPORTS THIS CAMPAIGN
Your donation lays the foundation for an engaging, accessible campaign. Beyond purchasing the yard signs, t-shirts, and literature we’ll need to share our message of inclusivity and empowerment throughout St Paul, your contribution will support family-friendly events to engage constituents where they are. By reaching out to families and communities from St. Paul's North End to the river, from the Eastside to the west, we will ensure all families are heard as they express their hopes and dreams for their children in SPPS.