Staff Directory 381858611

Faiza Mahamud

Reporter | Minneapolis Public Schools
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: Kiswahili and Somali

Faiza Mahamud is an education reporter covering Minneapolis Public Schools, the state's third-largest school district. Previously, she was a reporter and associate editor at Mshale, the largest African community newspaper in Minnesota. Since joining the Star Tribune, Mahamud has covered immigrant communities, city government and neighborhoods. 

Mahamud graduated from Augsburg University in Minneapolis with a bachelor's degree in journalism and women's studies and a minor in chemistry. She also received extensive journalism training from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, where she worked as a student radio reporter. Currently, Mahamud is pursuing a master's degree at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is passionate about domestic and foreign affairs and enjoys interacting with people from different cultures and religious backgrounds.
Recent content from Faiza Mahamud
Hassanen Mohamed hosted a meeting of the support group Somali COVID-19 Families from his home in Brooklyn Center on July 18.

Somali group pushes to end state's health care disparities

COVID-19 has hit elders in Minnesota's Somali community especially hard — and racial inequities have led to mistreatment and inadequate care, a local group says.
Yussur Barkhad, an Afro Deli cook and Somali refugee, dies of COVID-19 at 63

Yussur Barkhad, an Afro Deli cook and Somali refugee, dies of COVID-19 at 63

Punctual and stoic, she was a devout Muslim and a humanitarian, those who knew her said.
Minnesota Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker, shown in April.

State recognizes select Minnesota schools, districts for work supporting positive student behavior

Research shows students of color and students with special needs are suspended more often than others.
People stood in the back of the room when an overflow crowd attended the Minneapolis School Board meeting in Minneapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Many

How Minneapolis might reshape its school district

Minneapolis has released five proposals to shift schools and students around the district.
Michelle Kellogg collected questions from audience members at a Minneapolis Public Schools community meeting Monday night at Northeast Middle School.

Mpls. parents pepper district leaders about proposed school changes

Mpls. parents get first look at plans to eliminate racial disparities in district.
Emerson Spanish Immersion student Tayvin Stoll works after school on NASA-inspired computer games by Play Attention, powered by sensors reading one's

Minneapolis schools unveil five options for major makeover

Minneapolis schools look at five options, some sweeping, in latest push to close nagging achievement gap.
Instructor Ellie Fregni worked with Rafhaella Jimenez, 8, during her violin lesson Wednesday evening at Hopewell Music.

Outpouring of support from community saves North Side music school

Over the years, Hopewell Music has developed the talents of thousands of students.
Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change, shown in 2008.

Minnesota students not getting all info on dual-credit opportunities

Of the 95 state school districts studied by the Center for School Change, 97% failed to provide current information about the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program.
People stood in the back of the room when an overflow crowd attended the Minneapolis school board meeting in Minneapolis on Tuesday. Many parents atte

Emotions run high as parents pack Minneapolis school board meeting

Though the strategic plan was not on the agenda, parents and others concerned about the proposed changes spoke out passionately during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Minneapolis' Edison High School band teacher Lesley Earles is working around the clock to keep music alive in her school where resources are tight and

Edison's 'Mr. Holland' breathes life into dying music program

Over the years, Lesley Earles has worked to pull in community support while tapping into students' interests.
“Over the past two years we have been setting money aside in the assigned fund balance because we knew in the future we would have a budget gap,”

Mpls. schools back in big budget hole, with $19.6M deficit for 2020-21

District officials point to declining enrollment and revenue that hasn't kept up with inflation and rising costs.
Chandra Kreyer, emergency management coordinator for Anoka-Hennepin Schools showed school principals at the district's headquarters new radios they wi

Minn. schools rethink shooter drills as parents worry about trauma

School shootings elsewhere prompt parental concerns about emergency plans.
Minneapolis high-rise fire victims linked in life and death

Minneapolis high-rise fire victims linked in life and death

The five people who perished in the Nov. 27 blaze at Cedar High Apartments will forever be linked by the tragedy. Yet their lives, as well as their deaths, share a common thread.
Family members of those killed in the fire sat down with Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center leaders, community leaders and volunteers and representatives of

Grieving relatives of Minneapolis high-rise fire victims come together

Religious and community organizations raised $94,000 in the week since the blaze. But organizers say more is needed to help fire victims.
Salad Samatar is recovering at HCMC after a narrow escape from a Cedar-Riverside apartment fire that killed five others last week.

For survivor of Mpls. high-rise fire, 'My time hasn't ended yet'

Initially pronounced dead, Salad Samatar is making a slow recovery.
Firdaus Aden, who lost her mother, Nadifa Mohamud, in the fire, was comforted Friday at Darul-Quba mosque.

After deadly high-rise fire, a search for answers in Minneapolis

For many in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, Wednesday's fire echoes an earlier tragedy that killed three.
In a room on the ground floor of the affected building, family and friends of residents are in shock after five people died in a high-rise fire in the

Four victims identified as families, survivors gather to process tragedy

Residents of the Cedar-Riverside community attempted to process their shock and grief Wednesday, just hours after an early morning fire killed five and injured four.
Nadifo Yusuf Ismail, 70, lives on the 13th floor of the high rise at 630 Cedar Av. She says she tried to escape but couldn't so she locked herself in

Intense blaze in high-rise kills 5, sends shock wave across Minneapolis

The deadly blaze in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood broke out around 4 a.m. in a 25-story building. The fire was out within 30 minutes, the Minneapolis Fire Department said. Early signs are it was accidental.
Minneapolis fire, police and Hennepin County paramedics responded to a First Student school bus/car crash in 2007.

Minnesota's Democratic members of Congress pen letter to agency over school bus safety

The federal officials want the NHTSA to step up efforts.

Education advocacy group takes issue with Minnesota licensing board report

The group says the report is missing key data, but the licensing board says report is just an administrative overview.
Minneapolis kindergarten teacher Courtney Cline helped students including Samira,6, with phonemic awareness

Minneapolis schools to focus on grades K-2 students to close later gaps

About 40% of the achievement gap is seen before students enter kindergarten in the district. By third grade, the gap rises to 60%.
Superintendent Ed Graff spoke to teachers at the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers 59 headquarters in Minneapolis in May.

Minneapolis schools chief earns passing grade in 2018-19

Ed Graff was rated as "developing" in all categories except for equity, in which he received the top mark of "meeting expectations."
First Student’s failure rate of 12% exceeded the statewide average. As a result, 141 buses from its fleet of 1,160 were pulled from the road until t

Nearly 1 in 8 school buses at Minn. provider flunk safety test

Nearly 1 in 8 school buses operated by First Student flunked the state's safety test, reporting brake problems, flat tires, steering issues and other problems. A company spokesman said its large fleet size has led to more inspections than other carriers.
Professor Gerhard Weiss

Gerhard Weiss, scholar and retired University of Minnesota German professor, dies at 93

  Gerhard Weiss had a knack for telling stories. Not just any stories, but those from his experience as a Holocaust survivor and growing up…
From left, Mohammedamin Kahin, Mukhtar Yusuf, and Mahamud Sharif Abdi on Friday at Village Market mall discussed their reactions to President Donald T

Somali-Minnesotans wonder about their welcome after Trump's speech

Somali-Minnesotans, GOP hear different messages in Trump's speech.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN

Trump's visit stokes fear, anxiety among Somalis

Trump's visit to Minneapolis for a campaign rally spurred anxiety and fear for many.
Mari Mansfield, right, a special education assistant at Roosevelt High School, cheered at a rally on June 12, 2019, for higher wages for educational s

School aides leaving Mpls. for better paying districts, union says

District leaders say union's demands would add $35M over two years to budget.
Rosie Harris, a senior at PYC Arts & Technology High School, and other students marched to Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters Friday to ask for c

North Minneapolis students call for action on climate change

They met with the district superintendent and demanded climate-change instruction in every grade.
Ibrahima Diop is the chief financial officer for the Minneapolis school district.

Minneapolis property owners will pay less for schools in 2020

School board members are expected to take the final action on the tax levy in December.
Artist Flahn Manly painted a work he called “My Brother’s Keeper” at the Guns Down Love Up Unity Festival at Bethune Park in Minneapolis. “We

Guns Down Love Up Unity Festival calls for healing, an end to gun violence

Festival in Minneapolis was about unity, healing, and ending gun violence.
Protesters gathered Friday at the Capitol in St. Paul to protest climate change inaction.

'Get the job done': Minnesota students call for climate action

Several thousand young people emptied local classrooms on Friday as part of a coordinated global movement seeking greater government action on climate change.
Four buildings on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas were closed for several hours after the report of a bomb threat on Tuesday.

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul contends with third bomb threat this year

Nothing suspicious was found, but the investigation continues.

Minneapolis School District wins an appellate court ruling on a wrongful termination case

Former teacher had filed a whistleblower lawsuit.
Minneapolis schools Superintendent Ed Graff, shown last year.

Revamped strategic plan for Minneapolis schools targets racial inequities

Superintendent Ed Graff shifts priorities while also seeking to delay the board's final vote on the plan from December to April.

Lawsuit: Lakeville school's failure to treat student's asthma led to brain damage

The district denies responsibility for the student's injuries.
From left, Abdirizak Alibos high-fived his twin sons, Rayan and Ridwan, before they went to start the second grade in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

A day of firsts marks opening day for Minnesota schools

The emphasis was on the new: New shoes. New start times. New principals. New clothes — even uniforms pulled together at the last minute.
It was a blessing, said Ahmed Ali, who has cerebral palsy.

Mpls. student's unique graduation speech reverberates locally, outside U.S.

Ahmed Ali has given interviews to media outlets across the world and has spoken at several back-to-school kickoff events, where he urged teachers to learn from students with disabilities.
Superintendent Ed Graff spoke to teachers at the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers 59 headquarters in Minneapolis in May.

Minneapolis School District enrollment continues to decline

Nearly 1,500, mostly students of color, left the district last year.
Sue Poston and Terry Bjorklund look up at the support beam with signatures from alumni, students, teachers and board members.

Early homecoming for Minnehaha Academy students, staff who were displaced by deadly blast

Two years after deadly blast, Minnehaha Academy celebrates its new upper campus.
In a two-day workshop at the Wells Fargo Connections Center in Minneapolis on July 24-25, teachers from the Minnesota cohort of schools and volunteers

Minnesota students to build solar suitcases to light up classrooms in Kenya's refugee camp

The program will teach STEM education, environmental action and global issues.

Jeffery McMillan, longtime youth sports referee and mentor, dies at 60

Jeffery McMillan briefly relished the life of a local celebrity, whether it was modeling for Target or making shots on a school’s basketball court. Standing…
The vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella. Families can go to Minneapolis School District headquarters between Aug. 19 and Sept. 4 and get their kids’

Minneapolis offering free vaccines for kids ahead of school

All metro children are urged to get measles shot before classes resume.
Lucy Laney Principal Mauri Friestleben, shown in 2017 with Minneapolis schools Superintendent Ed Graff.

Minneapolis Lucy Laney Elementary principal to lead North High

Mauri Melander Friestleben will start her new role on Aug. 5.

Minneapolis homeless students and families getting housing support

Program seeks housing for district children, teens.
Shawn Harris-Berry

Minneapolis North High principal becomes associate superintendent

District officials plan to announce the next principal before the new school year begins.
A member of the Minnesota Reading Corps tutors a student.

In Minnesota schools, the hunt is on for math and reading tutors

Student performance on standardized test scores has heightened the need for literacy and math help in schools across the state.
Mohamed Khayre spoke about his child during a meeting about Cedar Riverside Community School. Parents at the school, one of Minnesota's oldest charter

Parents call for change at pioneer Minneapolis charter school

They're pushing to improve the quality of education their kids receive at Cedar Riverside Community School in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis school district has launched a new program to combat an acute bus-driver shortage, offering paid training, mentorship and career oppor

Bus-driver shortage forces Mpls. schools to start training program

The Minneapolis school district has launched a new program to combat an acute bus-driver shortage, offering paid training, mentorship and career opportunities to entice job…
Kids from the St. Paul City School joined in a cheer Wednesday before marching to the STate Capitol against gun violence.

Students from Freedom Schools march in St. Paul to protest gun violence

Schoolchildren and their supporters say stricter gun laws will keep people safe.
Best Buy Teen Tech Center coordinator J.T. Evans, center, worked with students Victor Bustamante, 18, left, Calvin Miller, 14, and Abdalla Nooh, 17, a

Underserved Minneapolis youths get job skills at Best Buy Teen Tech Center

Best Buy brings top electronics with free access to five locations in the Twin Cities.
Southwest High in Minneapolis gets new leader with big goals

Southwest High in Minneapolis gets new leader with big goals

Valerie Littles-Butler will take the helm on July 1.

Former Denver principal takes top job at Minneapolis' South High School

Brett Stringer, 41, plans to start July 1 at South High.
Matica Roberson-Moody, center, an intervener at Roosevelt High School, chanted with other support professionals Wednesday.

Minneapolis school support staff rally for pay increases

Classroom aides, other employees negotiating a new district contract.
Superintendent Ed Graff said a new strategic plan must be financially sustainable and support his top four priorities.

Minneapolis school board adopts its 2019-20 budget

District leaders said the per-pupil funding will be used for new math curriculum.
Superintendent Ed Graff spoke to a room a teachers during a meeting at the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers 59 headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn., o

Minneapolis school board delays vote on district's new strategic plan

Minneapolis residents will get more time to weigh in on proposal, officials say.
Rep. Jim Davnie, co-author of the bill, said less than half of the $3 million from the $543 million in education spending went to the effort to boost

Bipartisan push to boost state's teachers of color sputtered

Legislation added less than bipartisan backers sought to increase ranks of color.
South High Principal Ray Aponte collected hugs, high-fives and goodbyes from students and staff on his last day of school on Friday, June 7.

'It's about the kids': Longest-serving principal in Minneapolis schools retires

Ray Aponte has been a principal in the Minneapolis Public Schools for 25 years.
Charles “Chad” William Freeman

Milton's restaurant co-owner and chef Charles Freeman dies at 37

His love for food led him to start a fast-casual eatery with his mother.
City officials unveiled updates on the Stable Homes, Stable Schools initiative to help homeless students in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis leaders urge property owners to help homeless students

New Stable Homes, Stable Schools pilot program needs more rental units.
Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff said he felt pressure to deliver a plan that would kick-start a conversation about the state’s third-largest sch

In shifting boundaries, Minneapolis schools' strategic plan stirs angst

Parents and staff say redrawing attendance areas will lead to segregation.
At Tuesday's Minneapolis school board meeting, some of the parents protested by walking in front of the school board members. A few parents blocked Su

Parents protest strategic plan at Minneapolis school board meeting

District has scheduled public meetings before final vote in late August.
Michael Favor is stepping down as principal of Minneapolis Southwest High School, effective June 19.

Minneapolis Southwest High School principal resigns

Michael Favor has accepted a job as an assistant superintendent for Roseville Area Schools.
Many members of the local Somali community members say the guilty verdict in Mohamed Noor’s trial exposed systemic racism in the justice system.

Noor verdict sparks outrage within local Somali community

Many say the murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer has widened the gulf with law enforcement.
Ibrahima Diop is Minneapolis Public Schools' chief financial officer.

Minneapolis schools' CFO works magic in erasing a $33M deficit

CFO erased a $33M deficit; latest plan is for balanced budget and no job cuts.
Brenda Cassellius.

Brenda Cassellius is finalist for superintendent jobs in Boston, Michigan

Cassellius said she wants to be in a place where there's an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of diverse populations and poor kids.
Herandez Cortez Evans

Former Minneapolis teacher accused of using corporal punishment could lose license

Herandez Cortez Evans, who will go before the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board on Friday, allegedly struck, squeezed students.
Lucy Laney Principal Mauri Friestleben, shown in 2017 with Minneapolis schools Superintendent Ed Graff.

Film chronicles Minneapolis school's struggle, shines spotlight on students

"Love Them First: Lessons from Lucy Laney Elementary School," will be shown as part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.
Ninth-grader Lennox Lisley poured maple sap into a bucket at South High School in Minneapolis on Thursday.

Mpls. South teacher, students find lessons in battling Park Board

American Indian students kicked off maple syruping season with pride, passing on cultural teaching.
Crystal and six of her seven children are homeless and living temporarily at the People Serving People. Here, Crystal and Nashya, 12, talk at PSP in M

Bold plan forms in Minneapolis to help homeless schoolchildren

Minneapolis is launching its most aggressive effort yet to help homeless students succeed in school at a time when homelessness in Minnesota is at a record high.
Minneapolis schools Superintendent Ed Graff

Minneapolis school board renews contract for superintendent

Ed Graff's deal received unanimous approval from the school board.
Jolene McGregor

Child advocate Jolene Christina McGregor dies at 39

Jolene Christina McGregor, a St. Paul native who championed education and advocated for orphaned children, died unexpectedly during surgery in a New York hospital on…
North High coach Larry McKenzie lead his team in prayers before a game against Southwest at North High School Tuesday February 12, 2019 in Minneapolis

Minneapolis North High parents and staff rally around students affected by gun violence

Parent, school and community leaders rally around North High students affected by gun violence
Another lawsuit has been filed against the Anoka-Hennepin School District, accusing the state’s largest school system of violating the constitutiona

Parent of transgender teen files suit alleging bias at Coon Rapids High

Discrimination alleged at Coon Rapids High School.
A group of Patrick Henry High School students left class and marched for stricter gun laws Friday.

Minneapolis Patrick Henry High students stage walkout for stricter gun laws

About 10 left classrooms and headed to a flagpole on Victory Memorial Parkway.
Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff

New deal could bump Mpls. superintendent's salary to $230,000

Mpls. board is expected to vote on superintendent's 3-year contract in March.