Luke V. Olson

Luke V. Olson

Education

Mankato State University, EdSp, Curriculum and Instruction, 1998
University of Minnesota, MEd, Mathematics Education, 1993
University of Minnesota, B. S., Mathematics Education, 1985

Professional affiliations

Education Minnesota, Pension Task Force, 2017
South St. Paul Teachers’ Association President, 2016-2018, Vice President, 2014-2016
Education Minnesota, Member, 2000-present
Minnesota Federation of Teacher/American Federation of Teachers, 1990-1992, 1995-2000
Minnesota Education Association/National Education Association, 1992-1995-President SSPEA 1994-1995
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics/Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Teaching experience

South St. Paul Public Schools, 1990-present
St. Thomas Academy, 1985-1990

Why do you want to serve on the TRA Board of Trustees? What do you believe are the biggest issues facing
the teacher pension system?

Having worked with colleagues in my district, and having recently served on the EdMN Pension Task Force, I saw the need for 1) Educating our members regarding what TRA is, what it does for us as a profession, and how it helps each of us as individuals; and 2) Protecting a Defined Benefit pension.

Of course the first role of the Board of Trustees is to provide structural and practical guidance and policies so the staff can carry out the legally mandated duties of TRA.

Along with setting practical policies, I strongly believe that a defined benefit pension is far superior to a defined contribution plan, and I believe it is the duty of the Board to to ensure that a defined benefit plan stays in place, including solid financial decisions from the investment team, and support from the Legislature. Many people oppose these types of plans. Most who oppose these rights do so out of a lack of understanding of what TRA, or any defined benefit program is, why it exists, and why plans like this were once almost a given in our country, and why they should continue to exist. The Board, and each member of the Board, should be a strong advocate for keeping TRA fiscally strong and politically protected for retirees, those near retirement, and new teachers just entering the education field. Developing and keeping a positive and trusted working relationship with the Legislature is an ongoing duty of the Board, and those who serve thereon.

Thirdly, working with staff and the Minnesota Board of Investments to navigate the increasingly volatile investment market so as to ensure long-term financial stability, with the goal of reaching 95-100% full-funding levels.

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