I am an educator and union activist.
My passion is helping young people build critical thinking skills and science and grow into happy, healthy, productive
adults. I am in my thirteenth year teaching math and science at Jackson Middle School in Champlin. I earned my teaching degree
at Saint Cloud State University and my masters degree in curriculum and instruction at St. Mary’s University. As much
as I learned there, my students and colleagues taught me even more about guiding young people to learning.
Caring about my students led to caring about the education policies that affected them every day. Before becoming
a teacher, I’d managed local campaigns for state legislature, worked as sales representative for Ryerson Steel, served
as the president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women, and supported our family’s machine
shop as a lathe operator. Those seemingly disparate experiences helped me see the value of collective action and the opportunities
for using the workplace as a platform for effecting positive change in a community. Shortly after I began teaching, I joined
my colleagues’ organizing efforts by serving as our local union’s Elections Chair, Governmental Relations Chair,
and then Vice President.
I served as the president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota (AHEM) –
the teachers’ union for the largest school district in our state from 2010 to 2014. In that capacity, I strengthen our
profession by supporting the work my colleagues do every day. By ensuring that educators’ have a real voice in how their
classrooms operate, the public policies that affect our schools, and how they are compensated and evaluated, we make better
decisions about our schools that lead to better lives for our students. During my tenure as local president, our district
faced the largest federal lawsuit regarding anti-LGBT bullying. Our educators', students', and communities' efforts to respond
to that challenge resulted in improved classroom policies and helped ultimately lead to major improvements in Minnesota's
anti-bullying laws. To continue that work, I serve on the Minnesota Safe Schools Technical Advisory Council.
Once you see the value of connecting with your local peers, it’s natural to reach out to the larger community.
To connect with my brothers and sisters in labor, I serve on the boards of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, the Minneapolis Regional
Labor Federation, and Education Minnesota. To connect with other activists and organizers, I am a member of TakeAction Minnesota
and the Safe Schools Coalition. To connect to my local community, I helped create the Anoka County area Beyond the Yellow
Ribbon project to support military connected families and serve on the board of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.
To maintain balance in my life, I am blessed to have a supportive, talented family that lives nearby.
I love spending time with my husband Roger; father Ron; stepsons and daughters-in-law Jesse, Nikki, Brian, and Michelle;
grandson Devin; nieces and nephew Ashley, Travis, Jaimie Catherine, Jamie Sue and their parents Jay and Sue. I
am also working on running a 10K this year and am a big supporter of local improvisational comedy.