Saint Paul voters will head to the polls in November to choose among candidates for four seats on the city’s seven-member School Board. Two races are on the ballot. One race is to serve out the final 26 months of board member Steve Marchese’s term. The other race is for three four-year terms on the board.

Two candidates are seeking Marchese’s former seat—Clayton Howatt and current School Board chair Jeanelle Foster. The top vote-getter will be seated on the board immediately after the election, replacing Yusef Carrillo, who was appointed to the seat when Marchese resigned in April.

Six candidates have filed to run for the four-year seats, including incumbent Jim Vue and newcomers James Farnsworth, Halla Henderson, Jennifer McPherson, Uriah Ward and Ryan Williams. Voters will be asked to choose three candidates. The top three vote-getters will take their seats on the School Board beginning January 1.

Foster, 48, has served on the School Board since 2016. A resident of Dayton’s Bluff, she serves as a social worker in child protection for the Ramsey County Human Services Department. Single and the mother of two children, she holds an associate degree in early childhood studies from Saint Paul College, a bachelor’s degree in human services from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree in education from Concordia University-Saint Paul. She served on the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council’s board of directors from 2018-2020, including one year as board chair.

Howatt, 46, is the owner of Verus Builders, a residential remodeling company. A resident of Hamline-Midway, he has a B.S. in history from the University of Idaho and is married and the father of two children.

Farnsworth, 23, a resident of Ramsey Hill, serves as executive director of the Highland Business Association and as a customer communications assistant for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Single with no children, he is a member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and is working toward a B.S. degree in human resource development at the University of Minnesota.

Henderson, 27, works as policy director for the Minnesota Alliance for Youth. A graduate of the University of Saint Thomas, she is a resident of Ramsey Hill and is single with no children.


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McPherson, 39, is the founder of the Community Bridge Committee, an organization dedicated to promoting peace and preventing violence. A resident of Payne-Phalen, she studied theology at the Apostolic Bible Institute and cosmetology at Saint Paul College and Vatterott College in Saint Louis. McPherson is married and the mother of five children.

Vue, 41, has served on the School Board since 2020 when he was appointed to replace Marny Xiong, who died that June. Last November he topped a field of five candidates in a special election to fill the remaining 14 months in Xiong’s term. A resident of the East Side, Vue is married and the father of five children. He served with the U.S. Army Reserves in Iraq and Kuwait and worked as a mortgage collector before earning a B.A. in history and a master’s degree in liberal studies at Metropolitan State University. He now works as a personal care assistant for Partners in Community Supports.

Ward, 30, works as a financial aid counselor at Augsburg University. A resident of the East Side, he has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education from East Carolina University. A former middle school social studies teacher, Ward served as an organizer of the Vote Yes for Saint Paul Kids campaign in 2018 and as president of the Saint Paul Young DFL in 2019 and 2020. He is married with no children.

Williams, a West End resident, could not be reached for further information.

— Dale Mischke


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