The five finalists seeking to fill a vacancy on the Minneapolis school board are: a former school board member who lost his reelection bid last year, the Education Committee chairwoman for the Minneapolis NAACP, the 2011 Minnesota Counselor of the Year, the chairman of Stonewall DFL and a former member of the district's citywide Parent Advisory Council.
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, board members will interview the finalists seeking to replace Lydia Lee, who will leave the school board at year's end.
School board members, minus Lee, will announce their decision during their Tuesday, Dec. 20, meeting. Per state law, outgoing board members are not allowed to help determine who replaces them. The new board member will be sworn into office on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The candidates are:
-- Peggy Clark, a software consultant and former member of the District Parent Advisory Council. Clark also serves on the district's Curriculum and Instruction Committee and Title I Advisory Council. Clark has also served on boards for the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association and worked as a DFL precinct chair in Minneapolis.
-- David Joseph DeGrio, a Minnesota State College and University System chemistry instructor. DeGrio is chairman of Stonewall DFL, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender caucus of the DFL. He decided not to run in the 2010 school board primary after he didn't win the DFL endorsement.
-- Kim Ellison, an executive assistant at Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington counties. Ellison, the former wife of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, is the Education Committee chairwoman for the Minneapolis NAACP, sits on the North High School Advisory Committee and is a board member for Parents United for Public Schools.
-- Brooke Magid Hart, a Spring Lake Park High School guidance counselor. Hart, a former Washburn High School guidance counselor, is the 2011 Minnesota School Counselor of the Year. She's the co-chair of the Minneapolis schools Curriculum and Instruction Advisory Committee and a former member of the district's Health/Sex Education Curriculum Task Force.
-- Theartrice "T" Williams, an independent consultant who served on a four-year term on school board before losing in the November 2010 election. Before his work as an independent consultant, Williams worked as a senior research associate at Rainbow Research, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. He has also served as senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs and director of public housing for the Minneapolis Community Development Agency.
Here's a look at the candidate backgrounds (the Minneapolis Public Schools redacted some information):