A St. Paul school board member who was the top vote-getter of any school board candidate in the last election has decided not to seek a second term this fall.
In a post on her campaign Facebook page, Mary Vanderwert said she was ending her campaign, saying that it’s “time for me to serve the children and families in this great city in other ways.”
Vanderwert, whose term expires at the end of December, was first elected to the board in 2015. She’d been actively campaigning for re-election but failed to win the endorsement of the St. Paul DFL or the St. Paul Federation of Educators — two groups that backed her four years ago. In that election, Vanderwert was part of a group of new candidates who were openly critical of the district’s administration and closely aligned with the teachers union.
This year, the DFL endorsed three candidates: Zuki Ellis and Steve Marchese, both current board members, and Chauntyll Allen, a special-education assistant known for her work in the Black Lives Matter movement. Vanderwert came in fourth place in that endorsing convention. The teachers union endorsed Allen, Ellis, Marchese and Jessica Kopp, a former teacher.
Vanderwert said in her Facebook post that she’s proud of her efforts on the school board, including working to hire a superintendent, change school start times and launch the district’s new strategic plan. She’ll remain on the board through the end of the year.
“Beyond that, I will find a new avenue to put my time and energy for kids,” she said.