MinnCAN is a part of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now.

We’re focused on a Minnesota where all students excel in rigorous and relevant schools. Learn more about our impact across the state.

The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now today announced that Lee-Ann Stephens, educator in St. Louis Park Public Schools and 2006 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, has joined the nonprofit’s advisory board.

Stephens currently works as the High Achievement Program advocate in St. Louis Park schools and previously served as an adjunct professor at Metro State University. She served on Minnesota's Board of Teaching from 2010-2011 and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master's in education–curriculum and instruction.

“Lee-Ann does exemplary work to bring best-in-class instruction to the kids who need it most,” said Daniel Sellers, MinnCAN executive director. “We’re beyond excited for her classroom and district experiences to help inform our policy agenda and advocacy efforts.”

Stephens added, “In recent years, Minnesota has made policy gains to strengthen public education and I look forward to supporting MinnCAN to build on these reforms toward comprehensive wins for our students.”

Stephens brings the number of MinnCAN board members to 11, joining: Benson Whitney, Michael Ciresi, Vernae Hasbargen, Rev. Michael O’Connell, Ann Mulholland, Virginia Morris, Frank Forsberg, Addison Piper, Alex Cirillo, Jr., and Timothy Penny.

Additionally, Sandra Vargas, president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation, is transitioning from MinnCAN’s board to join its national affiliate 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now.

“Minnesota is pioneering many reforms to improve public education, from increasing access to high-quality pre-K and adopting meaningful educator evaluations to engaging thousands of people in this work,” said Vargas. “I’m eager to bring lessons from the local level to a national audience.”

MinnCAN has also hired three new employees, bringing the team to a total of five:

  • Joshua Crosson, advocacy manager, comes from Congressman Adam Smith’s (Washington's ninth district) office in Washington, D.C., and the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Ariana Kiener, communications associate, most recently worked at Jewish Community Action and on several political campaigns in Minnesota’s second congressional district.
  • Reggie Evans, office associate, comes from the City of St. Paul’s Human Rights Office and the YMCA of Minneapolis.

Learn more about the MinnCAN team here. For more information, contact Nicholas Banovetz: 651-815-5999 or nicholas.banovetz@minncan.org.

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About MinnCAN: Launched in 2011, MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now is an education reform advocacy nonprofit. MinnCAN is a movement of 10,000-plus Minnesotans–and growing–dedicated to creating the political will to enact smart public policies to ensure that every Minnesota child has access to a great public school. Learn more at www.minncan.org.


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