Since Mary joined the Parents United for Public Schools statewide effort in November 2003, her political acumen, contacts in the education field, and understanding of education policy issues have helped parents and community members across the state get past the myths to the realities of declining funding in the context of increasing costs and expectations.
Mary has been an outspoken advocate for children and public schools for over thirty years. She has her Masters in Education, and has taught at the secondary and college levels; but it was when her kids were in preschool that she became active in policy issues. At the time, Mary was stunned to learn preschools were covered under the same statutes that govern daycare. She headed for the capitol and hasn’t been home since! She has worked as a champion for children as a teacher, school board member, parent volunteer, levy campaign chair, statewide legislative committee member and volunteer parent lobbyist.
Mary’s fundraising efforts in her kids’ schools were so successful other schools asked for her help. Since that time, fundraising has brought more than $1 million for enrichment to the Stillwater schools. She was also asked to raise funds to support a local levy campaign and chaired that effort. From there, Mary moved on to run several issue and candidate campaigns—all surrounding getting youth-friendly folks into office. Running for school board brought Mary to the front lines of policymaking for schools and she continued to the state level to see what could be done there. Mary was a member of the Stillwater school board for eight years, a member of the District 916 school board for two years and a member of Schools for Equity in Education legislative committee. In recognition of her advocacy for children and their education she was a 2004 recipient of the Minnesota School Board Association’s highest award.
Mary enjoys spending time with her adult children—one in college and two now graduated and gainfully employed! She loves trying new restaurants, travel, reading and is an avid moviegoer. Mary loves to rollerblade and a day rarely passes where she doesn’t find time to work out.
“We’re all hot wired to advocate for our kids, and when we see the need, we advocate for all kids!”