Meet our inaugural 2020-21 cohort
We launched a new initiative at Great MN Schools to involve more voices in the fight for K-12 equity and systems change: Minneapolis Education Ambassadors.
The ambassadors work closely with Osman Ahmed at Great MN Schools, and other staff to learn more deeply about local K-12 inequities and solutions to address them, share their knowledge, and bring what they learn back to their respective communities so that we can educate all of our children as a village.
Meet the ambassadors...
A senior at Augsburg University, Zakariya is majoring in public policy and international relations. He serves as president of the Pan-African Student Union, is a youth activist, and coaches East-African high school students in Minneapolis.
Anisa is executive director of Lead the Way MN, a new nonprofit organization that empowers East-African parents, women, and youth. She is also a co-creator and co-facilitator of a Parent-to-Parent group hosted by East Side Community Services, and has 14 years of experience in the early childhood setting. A longtime family advocate and educator in Minneapolis, Anisa previously worked with Minneapolis district as a community specialist and has passion for helping immigrant families and children of color.
Jalonda was born, raised, and attended school in North Minneapolis. She's the initiatives coordinator at Summit Academy OIC and recently led one of the largest community response teams in Minneapolis—the African American Community Response Team. It's a collective of 30-plus hometown African American organizations working together on an efficient, streamlined response to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in North Minneapolis, including implementing a pod learning program for students who need extra support with distant leaning.
Naime is a passionate, emerging farmer from Somalia, and founder of the Somali Farmers Association. She's currently closing a deal on a farm for her family while also finishing her master’s degree at Metropolitan State University. Naima has participated in local programs that support emerging farmers, including the Land Stewardship Project and the Minnesota Farmers Association, and has engaged with local school communities for more than 10 years.
Born and raised in Nigeria—but spent most of her formative years in Minnesota—Anthonia is the owner and editor of 'A New Lite,' a local lifestyle blog. She also serves as programming director at The Coven, a co-working and community space for women, non-binary, queer, and trans folks, and previously worked for Hennepin County and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Anthonia sits on committees for various Twin Cities arts organizations.
Sharon is the founder and president of Parents Alliance Reclaiming Our Schools, also known as "P.A.R.O.S.," and a longtime North Minneapolis resident and family advocate. Sharon is also the social coordinator for Masjid An-Nur, a religious organization and mosque in North Minneapolis. She is running for the Minneapolis School Board in District 2.
Tobias is the school operations manager at 4MATIV and a Minneapolis Public Schools alumnus. He is also founding board member of Link Public Schools, a founding member of Black Boy Joy Book Club, and participants in many community leadership roles.
An award-winning high school social studies teacher, Sam believes in the power of all young people to learn about, make decisions in, and shape the world and future in which we all live. He serves on the boards of Hennepin County Library, the Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented, and the East Minneapolis Exchange Club. Sam is the start-up coordinator and outreach director at Exploration High School.
Farhia is a personal care aide at Life Health Home Care and is a co-founder of Harweyn, a nonprofit organization providing resources for children with special needs and orphans in developing countries, including Kenya and Somalia. She also empowers and helps women in developing countries start business through her organization.
Ken is the director of the Enriching Schools Program at Upworks. Prior roles include executive director of NPOs serving under-resourced communities and principal of Chapel Hill Academy, a K-8 Christian school in Chanhassen. Ken has also 12 years of international school experience as the executive director of the International Christian School of Vienna in Austria and teacher at the Alliance Academy International in Ecuador.
Samantha became passionate about closing the educational opportunity gap after her time as a student in the Minneapolis Public Schools, where she witnessed deep inequities within the system. She earned degrees in critical theory and social justice from Occidental College, and a masters in school leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Samantha is the executive director of 826 MSP, a youth writing, tutoring, and publishing center.
Margaret is a community engagement liaison for Saint Paul Public Schools, hosts a radio show on 90.3 FM KFAI—tune into 'Ms Margaret LIVE'—and is an organizer and parent advocate. Prior experiences include working on educational projects with Uplift MN and a civic engagement specialist for Urban Homework’s in North Minneapolis.
A graduate student at the University of Minnesota, pursuing her M.Ed. and initial teaching license in social studies education, Savannah is passionate about the intersection of education, political and community organizing, and social change.
As community relations and foundation manager for Land O’Lakes, Megan works closely with members, employees, and nonprofit organizations to develop impactful philanthropic partnerships. Focusing on the education pillar, she helps manage key higher ed relationships. Megan previously served as program manager at EMERGE Community Development in North Minneapolis.