Mohamud Noor won a first-ballot victory for a seat on the Minneapolis school board on Tuesday, filling the District 3 vacancy caused by the August death of Hussein Samatar.

The board’s appointment makes Noor only the second Somali-born Minnesotan to hold public office. He’ll be seated on Dec. 10, nearly a month before newly elected Abdi Warsame will be sworn onto the Minneapolis City Council.

Noor gave by far the most polished presentation of the four applicants for the seat in public interviews for the job last month. He was selected over Samatar’s widow, Ubah Jama, and Nicque Mabrey and Ira Jourdain.

Noor said during his interview that he favors making sure every child gets the knowledge and skills needed to be ready for college or a career.

The 35-year-old Noor, a friend of Samatar, has sought public office before. He ran for school board in 2010, finishing seventh in a 10-person primary election for a citywide seat. He fared better the following year when he finished second in the DFL primary for a state Senate vacancy, in which he was backed by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.

Noor will join the board with a ready-made opponent if he runs for a full term when the seat’s term expires at the end of 2014. Abdulkakir Abdalla, who initially applied for the post but later dropped out, told the Star Tribune that he plans to run next year.

The district is home to the city’s largest concentration of Somali-Americans. It lies between Interstate 35W and the Mississippi River, and between the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and a southern border generally following E. 36th Street.

Noor manages human services eligibility systems for the state, and also has been serving as the executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota. He has lived in northeast Minneapolis but moved in October to a room in the Cedar-Riverside house of a friend to meet the board’s residency requirement. He said he plans to move his family to the Seward neighborhood.


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