District 621 volunteer to fill school board vacancy


Heidi Danielson

Heidi Danielson, a longtime district volunteer and non-profit professional, will serve on the Mounds View Public School Board for the remainder of the year. 

She will fill the vacancy left by Amy Jones, who resigned from the board effective June 25 to focus on mental health advocacy.  

The board interviewed six candidates and ultimately selected Danielson at its June 25 meeting based on her extensive involvement with the district. She will be sworn in on Aug. 20 and serve for the remainder of Jones’ term, which expires Jan. 6. 

Danielson, who lives in New Brighton, mentioned that she is considering to run for a full four-year term this fall when four seats on the board will be up for election. 

“I had been considering running for the school board for the past year or two,” she said in an interview. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to serve for a few months before the election and get my feet wet.”

The parent of two district alumni and a current Irondale High School junior, Danielson served as a classroom volunteer throughout her children’s academic careers. She also ran the Edgewood Middle School fundraiser, helping to raise money and allocate it to staff.  

More recently, she served on a district-wide task force that looked at existing school facilities and population projections. Her work helped draft the $165 million bond referendum that passed in 2017 to fund facility expansions. 

After serving on the task force, Danielson headed up Neighbors United, a group of parents and volunteers from within the district that advocated for support of the building bond.

In joining the board, she said she is excited to get more involved in ongoing conversations about “what these new spaces mean for staffing and equipment, what these new spaces can enable us to do and how we can utilize them.”

Interviewing Danielson for the position, sitting board members liked her for the months-long term.

“Heidi [had] a really clear and defined understanding of our top priorities, one of which exists around facilities,” said board chair Jonathan Weinhagen. “Most importantly, she understands the role of the board in these types of conversations.”

Weinhagen said he also appreciated the fact that Danielson did not have a completely new agenda for her five-month term, but wanted to learn and dig into current projects.

“My main focus is just listening and learning what the board’s been working on,” said Danielson. “But because of having been involved in the school district, I do know some of the initiatives.”

Outside of her volunteer commitments within the district, Danielson has worked for the past few years as an administrative director at the Gallagher Foundation, and Quincy House. 

Both organizations are non-profits that work with youth. The Gallagher Foundation provides undergraduate scholarships to students in developing countries, and Quincy House, based in Mounds View, provides support programs for at-risk teens. Danielson said her work at the latter has helped her meet a diverse range of district students.    

In addition to focusing on how to utilize new facilities, Danielson said she hopes to work with the board on mental health initiatives and closing the achievement gap between students of color and their white peers.  

“I want to make sure that we’re continuing to look at what we provide to each student that enters our building,” she said. “Not just what’s best for the whole, but what will work for each individual student to help them succeed and help them plan for the future that they see for themselves.”

 

–Bridget Kranz can be reached at bkranz@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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