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Get to Know Our SSPPS School Board Members

The SSPPS School Board works hard to give our community and students the best possible learning experience they can. We want to use this Minnesota School Board Recognition Week to introduce you to our seven members. It’s important for our community, families, and students to know who is making the difficult decisions when it comes to education in South St. Paul.

School board member Bill Arrend

 

Bill Arend

Elected in 2018, Bill is currently serving the third year of his four year term.  Bill is proud of the effort our students and staff puts into making our district better, especially in these difficult times. He likes being a part of helping our district stay up and running and be the best it can be. Bill and his wife (Liz) both taught at SSP for forty years and his son (Frank) is currently a teacher in the district and has been for more than 25 years. His hope for SSPPS is, “That all students leave SSPPS with the tools to become contributing and just members of society.” 

 

 

School Board Member Linda Diaz

 Linda Diaz 

Linda was elected in 2018 and is currently serving the third year of her four year term.  She says she loves how we have a little bit of everything here, “Near big cities, but with a small-town feel.” She also appreciates that SSP teachers and staff are passionate about making the district better and are always putting the students first. Her favorite part of being on the School Board is that she gets to interact with all generations in South St. Paul. She loves talking to the kids, seeing their work and hearing their voices. Linda is a licensed mental health therapist and works with a special interest in the early childhood population as a former preschool teacher, behavioral therapist, and elementary school counselor. She has an 11-year-old son and loves to read and dance in her kitchen! Linda’s hope for SSPPS is that we continue to develop and diversify our staff and have strong student leaders in our schools inspiring the younger kids who are watching.

  

School Board Member Wendy Felton

 Wendy Felton

Elected in 2000, Wendy has served on the School Board for more than 20 years.  Wendy says there are many things she appreciates about our district. She is proud of our staff and the length of time so many of them have dedicated to teaching, instruction, and quality nurturing of our students. She says it is an honor to know and work with them. Wendy says being a SSP graduate gives her extra pride in serving and engaging in the community. As a lifelong resident of SSP, Wendy wants to show her pride in our city and see our children excel in their lives as they move forward into careers and family life. Wendy says, “Packer Pride is a forever thing for me.” Her hope for SSP is to come through this difficult time strong and healthy and to educate our students the best way possible so they can strive to do the best they can in their lives.

 

 

School Board Member Nikki Lalibrte

 Nikki Laliberte

Nikki was first elected to the SSPPS School Board in 2016. In 2020, she was re-elected to a second four-year term.  Nikki has lived in South St. Paul for 36 years and watched her children grow up and graduate from SSP High School. She says the district has always been an important part of their lives. She serves on the school board because she believes in our community and our schools. She says we are not a vibrant place without a strong school district and serving on the board is her humble way of giving back. Nikki says they have met so many wonderful people over the years, “People with good hearts who are always willing to help in good times and bad.” She loves being a part of SSPPS and hopes South St. Paul will stay a strong community that values our children and their public education.

 


School Board Member John Raasch

 John Raasch

John is one of the newest members of the board and joined the team this past January. John says he appreciates that our schools are small enough for students to explore opportunities and activities that they may not have otherwise been involved in. He also says it’s wonderful to have the small town feel with the size of our community while still able to take advantage of being in the twin cities. John says it’s a remarkable opportunity to be of service to the community that he cares so much about. John is an educator and cares deeply about children’s development and wants to create a better world for them to grow into remarkable adults. His hope for SSPPS is “To create together a safe and supportive community for all, that instills an inclusive sense of pride in our town and each other.” 

 

 

 School Board Member Chris WalkerChris Walker

Chris was first elected to the School Board in 2014 and is currently serving his third four-year term and was elected chairperson this past January. What he appreciates most about SSP is that, “We are a smaller district that provides students with the opportunity to get as involved as they wish in whatever they want.” Being a small town also means he gets to see the staff and students around town in our day to day lives. What he enjoys most about being on the school board is seeing the success of the staff and students and the joy seen in pictures on the website and social media. Chris has spent his entire career managing 401k plans and helping people prepare for retirement. His daughter was recently married and his son is planning a wedding for this coming summer. His hope for SSPPS is that our schools continue to be such an important part of our community and that our town’s involvement in schools and activities never changes.

 

 

 School Board Member Monica WeberMonica Weber

Monica is a new member of our School Board and began her term in January. Monica says she appreciates the community support for our district, from our athletics, to our foundation, and even the involvement of our community in the theater program. She says, “It makes our district feel unique in a sea of other suburban districts. There is a real sense of ownership and pride in what our children are able to accomplish.” She says so far her favorite part about being on the school board is hearing about the success of various departments and programs in our district. Monica currently works for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She is a diehard Minnesota sports fan (especially the Timberwolves) and will persevere through even the most challenging seasons! Her hope for SSPPS is to attain the resources necessary to serve all students and help produce dedicated leaders who are able to continue to serve our community in the future.