Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Six running for three open at-large school board seats

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

In the St. Paul School Board race, two incumbents face four newcomers. There are three at-large seats available.

The Saint Paul school board consists of seven members elected to four-year terms. Elections are held at large on a staggered basis so that three or four seats are up for election every November of odd-numbered years.

Luke Bellville
Bellville is an attorney in St. Paul. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in philosophy in 2006, and his doctor of law (J.D.) from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2011.

John Brodrick
Broderick is a lifelong Frogtown resident. He worked as a teacher and coach for 16 years. Broderick has been endorsed by the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Teamsters Joint Council 32 and the DFL.
“Saint Paul Public Schools should always be, and have striven to be, friendly and welcoming places,” said Broderick. “Learning occurs best in an environment that is respectful and safe. As our city has been a destination for many individuals, I am proud that our schools have responded to the opportunity to make new connections, and have been successful enough that people have chosen to stay and to reunite other family members.
“All of us, in Saint Paul and in our schools, have benefited from Saint Paul’s immigrant community and tradition. Even those of us who are a generation or two removed from our own immigrant experience smile when we see graduation ceremonies, cultural events and hear proud parents and grandparents tell stories about their kid’s successes.”

Greg Copeland
Copeland has lived in the Cook/Payne Ave. neighborhood since 1992. The 60-year-old widower was the primary caregiver for his wife, Betty, for 16 years following a traumatic brain injury.

His first job after college was as a newspaper reporter covering public schools. Copeland has also been a contract compliance officer for community college-based job training program and a recruiter for a private industry-public partnership on-the-job training program. He formerly served as city manager of Maplewood, then Minnesota’s 18th largest city with a population of 36,000, over two budget cycles. He formerly chaired the Saint Paul Charter Commission, was vice chair of the Saint Paul Capital Improvement Bond (CIB), and chair of the Payne-Phalen District Council.

If elected, Copeland would reform the school board election process to ensure the east side and the west side have adequate representation. He would also initiate complete televising of all board meetings from beginning to end.

Jeannie Foster
Foster is a lifelong resident of St. Paul who had her first child at age 16 and then raised two kids alone through a cycle of abuse. “I want to challenge the notion that poor kids with many barriers can’t make it,” said Foster.

Foster is a Saint Paul Public Schools graduate, attending Hancock Elementary, Highland Park Junior, and Highland Park High School.

She has worked for 25 years in early childhood education, spending 18 years at the Wilder Child Development Center. In 2015, Foster was recruited by Community Action of Ramsey & Washington County to manage Family Services, where she is focused on producing outcomes in core Head Start priorities including family support, child development, education and parent involvement.

Foster would bring staff together and improve relationships with the administration; keep children and equity at the center of decision-making and help the system to be more responsive; and increase parent and family engagement so kids and families can better navigate the system to find success.

Andrea Touhey
Facebook: TouheyforSchoolBoard
Touhey is an education consultant and former teacher, who also lists policy maker, program designer and evaluator, instructional coach, educational researcher and data scientist under her qualifications.

If elected, she would survey student regularly about their experience within the district; ask teachers for regular input into the direction of the district; and engage parents through regular surveys.

She also supports building a career pathway for Educational Assistants to become teachers; ensuring students have preparation for, access to, and encouragement to pursue AP/IB courses; having students’ learning experiences be relevant to them; providing the structure for students to explore their interests through the AVID program; adopting a framework for technology integration that is focused on using technology to amplify and transform the learning experience; having a majority of teachers be National Board Certified; and protecting the learning environment of undocumented immigrants.

Marny Xiong
Xiong was born and raised in the heart of St. Paul in the Frogtown neighborhood. Her parents were refugees who immigrated to the U.S. from war-torn Laos, and they taught her that, to succeed in the U.S. and reach her highest aspirations, she needed to finish her education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and African and African American studies from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Xiong has been a community organizer for over ten years and worked on various campaigns to fight for racial and economic justice. Her experience includes the Vote No Campaign, Take Action Minnesota, SEIU Local 113 and serving on various boards, such as the Payne-Phalen Neighborhood.

“I am committed to collaborating with students, parents, unions, educators, and stakeholders to ensure equity for all students, increased enrollment, and education achievement for college success,” said Xiong.