Mary & her familyAs a middle child of a tight knit family of 13, I learned early on the valuable lessons of collaboration, commitment, and the common good. I supported myself through high school and college, earning a degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Catherine as a single mother, and then a Master’s Degree in Information Media from St. Cloud State University.

My husband Tim, an avid sports fan and outdoorsman, works in the transportation field. Elianne, my eldest, is Executive Director at Take Action Minnesota, focusing on racial and economic equity issues across Minnesota. Louisa, spreads her multiple chef skills across the TC and my son Elie, works as an assistant to Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene.

Through my family and work, I know that when we worked together, everyone benefits. I have wholeheartedly applied these life lessons to civic leadership and community engagement. I am an educator and have a passion for learning. I have worked in the public education system for over 20 years, first in inner city schools in Minneapolis as Library Media Specialist and currently at Robbinsdale Middle School. I was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in 2014, having been nominated by my peers for my leadership, dedication, and ability to build trustworthy relationships with staff and students. I am a proud member of Education Minnesota and the Robbinsdale Federation of Teachers, I have served as a building union steward and participated in the process of  teachers negotiations. I was also  chosen to participate in leadership training through the University of Minnesota’s Union Leadership Program, and have served on the Education Advisory Committee with the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.

In New Brighton, I sat as the Chair of the New Brighton Parks, Recreation and Environment Commission after serving as a commissioner for six years. Always pining for a local farmers market, I teamed up with a handful of like-minded New Brightonians and we began a very successful New Brighton Farmers Market that serves a broad reach of communities. These community connections have helped me to have a deep understanding of local issues surrounding transportation, connectivity, and the environment. Through the New Brighton League of Women Voters, I collaborated on the research and drafting of the impressive policy paper entitled The Impact of Neonicotinoid on Honey Bees, which makes a cogent case for environmental protections to prevent further colony collapse disorder and agricultural losses.

I care deeply about the state of our education system and diversity in our communities. I am ready to find practical alternatives to the current barriers that interfere with the best education we can give our students. I believe it is time that our children experience a more holistic education program that better prepares students to enter the modern workplace. I am also committed to policies that address the insurmountable burden of student loans for our college graduates. I understand the vital need to make higher education more affordable and accessible. I am passionate about finding the right solutions to supporting our communities of color and encouraging a dynamic and diverse culture of inclusion. My own family is of American Indian heritage and my children are proud of their Lebanese heritage.

My unique life experiences coupled with  leadership positions in our community provide me with a strong understanding of local and regional challenges and the experience to work with diverse stakeholders to find practical solutions to issues.

I’m excited to serve, this is an exciting time for our communities and our State. Let’s do this together!