University of St. Thomas, Ed. S., Educational Leadership & Administration, Spring 2018
St. Cloud State University, M.S., Educational Administration & Leadership, Fall 2013
St. Cloud State University, B.A., Mathematics & Linguistics, Spring, 2002
TRA Board of Trustees, 2015-current
TRA Audit Committee Chair, 2016-current
Education Minnesota Governing Board, 2016-current
Metro Area Council Treasurer, 2017-current
Education Minnesota-Osseo Negotiations Team, 2010-current
Osseo School District, 2004-present
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?
I’m a strong advocate for public pensions and am committed to representing you well on the board.
The threats from those who would like to take away and dismantle TRA are relentless. I will work to defend and strengthen our defined benefit pension; it’s critical as we continue to improve our ability attract and retain teachers and ensure dignified retirement for all educators.
I’m also proud to point to a number of successes:
1. Landmark Pension Legislation. It’s extremely unusual for any bill to pass unanimously, much less one dealing with pensions. But we did it! Our stakeholders stood together as advocates for this legislation, and I could not be more thankful for those groups and their hard work. I’m most proud of the fact that we, as a board using the principle of shared responsibility, worked toward a balanced and fair way to shore up the fund. For example, in a time when teacher salaries have been stagnant, we were able to limit the financial impact on active members.
2. Hired a new Executive Director. When former Executive Director Laurie Hacking announced her retirement, we were faced with the daunting task of hiring her replacement. After conducting a national search with a number of high quality candidates, Jay Stoffel emerged as the clear choice. He was best positioned to work with the legislature and pass the much needed legislation referred to above.
3. A shift in the way we communicate with members. Since I was first elected in 2015, I have been a tireless advocate for finding better ways to connect with members, particularly those in the first half of their careers. I believe that we as members need to understand and take ownership of our TRA benefit. Complacency is our enemy. And although we still have work to do, our staff has worked hard to refresh our logo and website, and find messages that better connect with our members.
Finally, I promise to keep exploring ways to help you retire earlier. The new legislation puts us in a much better financial position and I am optimistic. The bottom line is that educators should be able to retire when the time is right and shouldn’t be delayed by arbitrary rules.
Thank you for your consideration, and also your engagement in this important election.