Minnesota Deputy Education Commissioner Stephanie Burrage is set to become the state's chief equity officer, a new state government position that will advise the administration on policies to tackle disparities for Black Minnesotans.

Her appointment, announced by Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, follows a year-long effort led by Burrage to get input from communities of color on the next two-year budget. In her new role, she said she'll be doing more of that work, meeting with community members and bringing that feedback back to the administration.

"Making sure they have a seat at the table, that's huge," said Burrage. "We need to build programs with people."

Burrage, who will start her new job in several weeks, will work with the Walz administration to create a new Equity and Opportunity Office. Minnesota also has a chief inclusion officer, whose role focuses on diversifying the state's workforce.

"We don't need a whole lot more data, we don't need a whole lot of meetings, we need a whole lot more results for folks," Walz said Thursday.

Prior to joining state government, Burrage was interim superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools. She's worked as a superintendent in Michigan and as a teacher and principal in Minneapolis Public Schools. In addition to her role at the Department of Education, Burrage is a senior advisor to the governor.

Her "Mind, Body and Soul" budget initiative, a monthly meeting that included more than 700 Black Minnesotans, led to proposals to increase spending for improved access to affordable health care, recruit more Black educators and remove barriers to homeownership. A number of those proposals were included in Walz's two-year spending plan.

"All of the touchpoints of state government, people said yes, we want to do better and we want to be part of the conversation," said Burrage.

Staff writer Jessie Van Berkel contributed to this report.