Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Five candidates vie for two Minneapolis School Board seats

Posted on 23 July 2018 by calvin


Five candidates have filed for two open at-large seats on the Minneapolis Board of Education.

According to state law, no more than two candidates can appear on the general-election ballot for each open seat in districts that hold a primary.

Doug Mann, Sharon El-Amin, Kimberly Caprini, Josh Pauly and Rebecca Gagnon filed between May 22 and June 5 for the two seats, which represent the entire district. One will not advance to the general election in November.

Kimberly Caprini
According to North Minneapolis lifelong resident Kimberly Caprini, the most urgent issue facing the district is trust and the need for extra support for students with the most significant needs.

“My mission is to rebuild parent trust in Minneapolis Public Schools,” stated Caprini. “I will work to provide parents and community members with opportunities to be heard.”
Caprini has volunteered in the Northside schools for over 12 years, at Jenny Lind Elementary, Olson Middle School, Northeast Middle School, Loring Community School, and Harrison High School. She has also been involved in the Family Community Involvement Committee, the Northside Schools Collective, and is a member of the district’s World’s Best Workforce 2020 Advisory Committee.

Her advocacy work has included fighting to keep Loring Elementary open and to reopen Franklyn Middle. She has advocated for access to swimming lessons on the Northside, and for middle school athletics.

Sharon El-Amin
A 27-year resident of Minneapolis, Sharon El-Amin envisions schools that are fully funded and a safe learning environment to provide the best experience for youth from Pre-K through 12th grade.

She has owned El-Amin’s Fish House for 15 years, gaining valuable experience managing budgets. As a member of Masjid An’Nur in North Minneapolis, she has volunteered as the social coordinator, cooking meals for over 100 people on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

The mother of three is currently the President of Minneapolis North Polar Parent organization and a member of North High School Site-council. She was a member of Neon’s Board of Directors for three years. Awards she has earned include: Start-Up Business of the Year 2002, 2010 Small Business of the Year, 2010 Longevity & Sustained Impact Award, and the 2010 Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained Nominee at Women Venture.

Rebecca Gagnon
In the seven years that she’s served on the school board, Rebecca Gagnon has focused on fiscal stability, equitable access to educational opportunities, and policy work that removes barriers to academic success and addresses institutional racism. She believes that using an equity lens and accountability are foundational to all of her work.

Gagnon is proud to have been part of a board that has achieved a structurally balanced budget FY14 and FY15, revamped district discipline practices, passed policy that applies an equity and diversity impact assessment to decision-making, and increase quality authentic stakeholder engagement. The board has also done long-range enrollment planning, reduced administration, and redirected more resources to schools while hiring a new superintendent.

Gagnon says she views herself as a mom first. She has raised two graduates of Minneapolis Public Schools, and her youngest is an eighth grader at Justice Page Middle School.

Doug Mann
A school board candidate in every election cycle since 1999, Doug Mann believes that education is right not a privilege.

If elected, Mann would eliminate “watered down curriculum tracks” by evaluating ongoing impacts of ability grouping practices on student outcomes. He is also challenging the district practice of issuing layoff notices more than the projected need to layoff teachers, and thereby shrink the pool of newly hired teachers by retaining more of them.

Mann served on the Minneapolis NAACP Branch Education Advocacy Committee from 1998 to 1999, the Minneapolis Parents Union Board of Directors from 1998 to 2001, and the NAACP MN-Dakota Conference Education Advocacy Committee in 2003.

Mann is the father of a South High graduate.

He is a licensed practical nurse and earned an associate degree and practical nursing diploma from the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Josh Pauly
A first-generation college graduate who came from a single-parent household, Josh Pauly credits education for changing his life trajectory. He wants to provide those same opportunities for all the students in Minneapolis.

He spent three years at Sanford Middle School teaching 8th-grade Global Studies, 6th-grade Minnesota Studies, and 6th-grade AVID. Pauly believes he would bring a unique perspective to the school board as someone who has worked in the district schools and understand the needs of students and the challenges teachers face on a daily basis.

He stepped away from the classroom to begin PeopleSourced Policy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic engagement organization whose mission is to increase access and community engagement in the local political process. He is also the Executive Director of Books on Wings, a nonprofit serving Minnesota youth who attend schools with free or reduced lunch rates of 80% or higher with the mission of getting culturally relevant books to students in grades K-3.

Pauly also serves on the Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association Board.