Message from the candidate:
Jeanelle ‘Jeannie’ Foster is a 25-year veteran educator, a single mother of two grown children and a community leader. Jeannie is grounded in a sense of purpose to give back, saying, “I am a reflection of the children and families I serve.” First elected to the Board to fill a vacancy during 2016’s special election, Jeannie is now running for a full four-year term.
Jeannie Foster is a lifelong resident of Saint Paul. She grew up in Frogtown, living in Liberty Plaza with her mom, sister and brother. Jeannie is a Saint Paul Public Schools graduate who went on to earn a Master’s in Education from Concordia University. Raised by a single mother, Jeannie also became a single mom at an early age. She was 16 years old when she had her first child, her daughter Jaylana. “I grew up with family abuse and alcoholism, and I wanted to remove my daughter from that environment. I knew I had to,” says Jeannie. “Education was the way to do that.”
Jeannie started her professional career as an early childhood educator and she understands the challenges kids and teachers face in a classroom of diverse learners. Building upon her classroom experience, Jeannie spent 18 years at the Wilder Child Development Center facilitating diversity trainings and parent education, negotiating contracts and using data to shape and correct programs. In 2015, Jeannie was recruited by Community Action of Ramsey & Washington County to manage Family Services, where she was focused on producing outcomes for core Head Start priorities.
Outside of her professional leadership roles, Jeannie is extremely active in the community. She is the Vice Chair of Dayton’s Bluff District Council, where she works to address incidents of gun violence in the neighborhood, introduce neighbors to the district council process and create a Youth Engagement Committee. She is also active in her church community.
On the SPPS Board of Education, Jeannie will continue to keep children and equity at the center of the Board’s decision-making and help schools be more responsive. She will work to ensure the District increases parent and family engagement to better support student success, and she will always prioritize students in funding decisions—she will continue to be their voice on the Board and make certain that all kids have access to the high-quality education they deserve.