Friday, June 26, 2009

Vallay Varro for St. Paul School Board

The Committee On Political Education screened candidates for the 2 year school board seat being vacated by Tom Conlon. The COPE found 3 candidates to be exceptional: Vallay Varro, Louise Toscano Seeba, and Meg Lugar-Nikolai. As a result the COPE offered a recommendation of endorsement of all three. Last night Vallay Varro was endorsed by a special convention of the St. Paul DFL.

Vallay Varro has been Mayor Coleman’s Education Policy Director for the past three and a half years. She is a leader in the Mayor’s efforts to connect and enhance out-of-school learning opportunities for children in Saint Paul between the school district, the non-profit sector, communities of faith, Ramsey County and the city government. During this time she has established a network of service providers that are now ready to partner with the school district. An Early Childhood educator and literacy specialist, she offers a comprehensive, citywide resource mobilizing approach to closing the achievement gap as well as the acumen to maintain and expand the specialty programs that make our public schools unique and invaluable to the city.

Good luck to Vallay!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SPFT School Board Endorsement

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the COPE Committee for their time, both in February and this week, as they seriously deliberated the eligible, interested field of candidates to determine who should earn the endorsement of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers. The discussions were substantive, thoughtful and deeply focused on our members and the work we need to do. The candidates who ultimately earned that endorsement or recommendation show genuine consideration for our union, our members, our work as well as dynamic thinking for how to actively demonstrate that consideration and engage in a real partnership with the workers of St. Paul Public Schools.

The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Local 28's Committee On Political Education (COPE) is pleased to announce that we are endorsing Jean O'Connell for one of the three four year seats in this year's school board race. COPE found O'Connell's mix of management experience, teacher training in college, significant school volunteering and substantive leadership in various Saint Paul Public School's task forces a reassuring blend for the current difficulties facing the district.

O'Connell gave our screening team a sense of confidence and reassurance. We believe Jean will bring strong and open communication and that we will be able to develop a direct relationship that is based on trust and openness. Furthermore, her respect for direct, collective bargaining is a refreshing opportunity to explore both traditional and non-traditional issues together considerately.

To date, Local 28 has not endorsed any other candidates in the three four year seats. The announcement on action taken for the 2-year special election is forthcoming.