Voters in Minneapolis chose a mix of incumbents and fresh faces as the school board members they want to lead their districts through the ongoing challenges of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as providing equity in education.
In Minneapolis, four seats of the nine-person board were on the ballot. Incumbent Kim Ellison beat Michael Dueñes for the citywide seat.
Business owner Sharon El-Amin defeated incumbent KerryJo Felder in the race for the north Minneapolis District 2 seat.
Adriana Cerrillo narrowly beat out Christa Mims for the District 4 seat to represent an area including downtown and neighborhoods near Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska.
And Ira Jourdain, the sole candidate for the southwest Minneapolis district, was re-elected. Jourdain has served on the board since 2017 and plans to focus on retaining and attracting students.
Ellison and Dueñes both campaigned on ensuring equity in education, though they disagreed on whether the Comprehensive District Design, approved last spring, would address such concerns in the district.
Ellison, who was first appointed to the board in 2012, supports the plan as a part of providing students more equal access to experiences and programs.
"I'm pleased that residents agreed to send me back to continue this work for the kids of Minneapolis," Ellison said Tuesday.
In north Minneapolis, first-term incumbent Felder was defeated by El-Amin.
Both supported more transparency about the board's goals, and El-Amin called for additional vocational training and entrepreneurship programs for students.
El-Amin said she was "overwhelmed" by the win. "We worked hard to get here and I will work even harder for our students," she wrote to her supporters late Tuesday night.
Cerrillo, an activist and consultant, also campaigned on reducing inequities in education, which she said can be exacerbated by property tax-based funding systems that benefit some districts more than others.
St. Paul voters chose between six candidates vying to fill the seat of the late Chairwoman Marny Xiong, who died in June of COVID-19. The winner will finish Xiong's term for the next year; the seat will be on the ballot for a four-year term in 2021.
Results of the St. Paul vote were not available at press time.
Incumbent Jim Vue, a Hmong cultural educator, was appointed to fill the vacancy last summer.
His opponents were Charlotte Castro, Keith Hardy and Omar Syed. Castro, Hardy and Syed all ran unsuccessfully for a board seat in 2019.
Also on the ballot were James Farnsworth and Jamila Mame.