July 31, 2017

Meet the First Class of EdVoices

By Ariana Kiener

When we founded EdAllies, we knew that a big part of our work would be fostering a new conversation about what’s possible for Minnesota students and schools. For us, that means seeking out and amplifying the voices of those who are most impacted by our current education system: students, parents, and educators. We created our EdVoices program to do just that.

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the storytellers and advocates who will contribute their EdVoices in the coming year: Hannah, Jessica, Marguerite, Ryan, and Troy! Follow EdAllies on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to our monthly newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of their contributions.

Hannah Erickson

A rising high school freshman in Grand Rapids, Hannah is excited to share her voice on topics like equity in schools, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, racial equity, and the achievement gap. She also pursues these issues and many others as a member of the Minnesota Youth Council.

“I am very dedicated to making my own school and the schools around me a better place for students, and I want to have more opportunities to make schools better statewide.”

Jessica Mendoza

Jessica recently graduated from Roseville Area High School and is now gearing up to pursue an undergraduate degree at Augsburg College, and eventually, a law degree. An outgoing member of the Minnesota Youth Council, where she served as co-chair of the Education Committee, Jessica is particularly passionate about youth engagement, school discipline reform, and teacher diversity.

“I have experienced, like many others, the pang of being the only minority in a room and seen the disparities in resources different school districts have. I am an avid believer in the importance of education and equal access to opportunities.”

Marguerite Mingus

A Minneapolis mother of four, Marguerite knows first-hand that the public education system is not serving all children well, and now treats advocating for her kids’ education as at least a part-time job. Having found her voice as an advocate, she is eager to help other parents stand up for the schools their children need and deserve.

“If I was to visit a McDonald’s today and I was shortchanged or my order was incorrect I would seek a correction. If the cashier at McDonald’s told me to come back in a week for my correct order I would complain. Why do I put my expectations for a one dollar hamburger above the education of my child? … The school system is supposed to be serving everyone, and I won’t stop until they get my order right.”

Ryan Williams-Virden

Ryan has taught for nearly 10 years in district, charter, and private schools, and now serves as the Dean of Students at Hiawatha Collegiate High School in Minneapolis. Outside of the classroom, he is active in organizing and writing, particularly around racial justice. Through EdVoices, he hopes to expand the dialogue around the intersection of education and justice.

“Often education is cited as the medium through which change will come. I believe that will only happen if we are courageous and can tell the truth in our classrooms.”

Troy Haugen

Troy works as the Career & Technical Education Coordinator at Lakes Country Service Cooperative. As a Greater Minnesota educator and a parent to four children, he is passionate about overturning the status quo—particularly when it comes to teacher preparation—so that schools start to truly serve all children well.

“The education status quo is simply not acceptable…The narrative needs to change, and the grassroots efforts of a variety of people across a variety of circumstances forcing intelligent conversation may finally be what changes it.”

Want to Share Your EdVoice?

We’re always looking for diverse, passionate voices to spark a dialogue about education. If you have a perspective to share—or know someone who does—our EdVoices application process is always open. Please reach out with ideas or questions!