With incumbent Elona Street-Stewart stepping down, the competition for DFL Party endorsement to the St. Paul school board is about to get lively, a party official said.
On Tuesday night, six candidates — two incumbents and four challengers — set out to build delegate support for the three seats by turning out backers to precinct caucuses, in preparation for the party’s June 8 city convention.
Ellen Biales, a city DFL executive committee member, believes incumbents John Brodrick and Jean O’Connell are well-positioned to win party nods, but the remaining DFL candidates also bring energy to the race. Of Street-Stewart’s planned departure, she said: “Those will be big shoes to fill.”
Street-Stewart, a Delaware Nanticoke tribal member who has provided a voice for communities of color and for expanded early-childhood education programming, said Tuesday that she was leaving the board to devote more time to her three grandchildren.
“I just had to let something go,” she said.
In St. Paul, school board candidates are elected citywide, and with Mayor Chris Coleman going unchallenged for the party endorsement, the question of who prevails in the board endorsing process is shaping up to be the DFL convention’s main event.
O’Connell, the board’s chair, helped lead the successful campaign last November to renew and expand a voter-authorized school levy.
Brodrick, a retired St. Paul teacher and coach, is seeking a fourth term in office.
Other candidates are:
Sarah Lechowich, an educator at North Hennepin Community College who has served as a site council member at L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion School.
David Martinez, a client service consultant at Wells Fargo who was a finalist for a vacant school board seat in 2011.
Luis Ortega, a professor at Metro State University who has served as a teacher in St. Paul and a principal in Minneapolis.
Chue Vue, co-founder and senior partner of the law firm United Legal Associates, who also has served as board chairman for the Hmong American Partnership.
Biales said of the challengers: “They seem to be a good group all-around.”