Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

In 2011, I introduced MinnCAN to Minnesota. Nearly two years later, with the collective force of more than 4,000 Minnesotans, I can say we have forever changed the discourse of public education in our state.

As the executive director of MinnCAN I’ve learned a lot about what it means to build a great schools movement. With your help, we’ve celebrated six policy victories in two years, making it possible for Minnesota schools and the students they serve to thrive through a better evaluation system for teachers and principals, expanded access to high-quality pre-K for Minnesota families and alternative routes to teacher certification to get more great teachers into the classrooms that need them most.

Now I’m thrilled to share that I will be bringing the lessons I learned at MinnCAN to a new role at our national organization, 50CAN. As the senior vice president of states, I will help our sister states build great schools movements that get results for children across country.

I’m also thrilled to introduce you to the exceptional leader who will take my place as MinnCAN’s executive director: Daniel Sellers. Daniel will officially begin his new role on August 1st, but in the meantime I encourage you to reach out and say hello:

Daniel is just the kind of advocate and leader MinnCAN needs to head its great schools movement. As the founding executive director of Teach For America – Twin Cities, he more than doubled the cohort of TFA teachers in the Twin Cities in just two years. And he has been a valuable partner to MinnCAN since 2011, when he worked closely with us to pass the alternative teacher certification law in Minnesota.

Prior to his leadership in local education reform, Daniel was a distinguished Teach For America corps member in North Carolina where he closed the achievement gap in his sixth-grade math classroom. Daniel is also a proud graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Minneapolis South High School.

50CAN is all about giving local leaders like Daniel resources and support to build powerful movements of change for the kids in their state. But even with that help, we won’t succeed in overturning the status quo unless we have the relentless support of advocates like you.

So thank you for all that you’ve done to bring education to the forefront in Minnesota. I can’t wait to see what you, Daniel and the rest of the MinnCAN team accomplish together in the coming years.


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