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Biography

I am an educator and union activist.

My passion is helping young people understand mathematics and grow into happy, healthy, productive adults. I taught seventh and eighth grade math at Jackson Middle School in Champlin for eleven years. 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.

Currently, I am the president of Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota (AHEM) – the teachers’ union for the largest school district in our state. 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.

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 am a member of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce and co-chair the education division of the Anoka County area Beyond the Yellow Ribbon project to support military connected families.

To maintain some 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 Jaclyn; 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.