The next up in our series Meet the Board is Mageen Caines, school board member, St. Anthony Village resident and a graduate of SANB schools - let's learn more about Mageen!
My name is Mageen and I use the pronouns she/her/hers. My family is so important to me – locally, my husband, Brian, two kids currently in the district, Ellia (7th grade) and EJ (5th grade), my mom, and my stepdaughter, who recently graduated from college. (Some folks might remember my sister, Ann, also a Huskie graduate – she’s doing great in Bloomington with her family.) We also have many close friends in our lives who are like family. I’m so proud of my family, not only for the gifts they bring into their various spaces, but for how they share joy and support other people. Some of that probably comes from the variety of neurodiversity our family moves through the world with – those are superpowers for sure, once you get used to them (only one of us ever knows where both their mittens are). I’m a dog person (Diggy) and a cat person (Simon and River) and love birds from a collegial distance (The Red Hawk Who Sits In the Backyard).
I’m an epidemiologist, an artist, and a committed lover of the great outdoors. I’m a combat-decorated Army veteran and spent a summer excavating in an archeology field school. I wish I was a mystery novelist! I happily lose space and time while doing anything that involves searching – sifting for shark teeth, geode hunting, foraging in the woods, fossil discovery on the river banks…I love adventuring around my own town (and beyond) and get sentimental about fruits and vegetables. I pulled on my figure skates and performed in the alumni number at the Roseville Ice Show a few years ago, although my arthritic knees, hips, etc etc let me know that wouldn’t be a regular thing. I love doing hair and make-up for the St. Anthony Community Theater. I’ve lived in a lot of different communities, under a lot of different circumstances, and will never get tired of hearing about people’s favorite food.
I have a number of bad habits that I try to keep a sense of humor about, but we don’t joke about coffee.
I was struck recently by someone who said that “hope is rolling up your sleeves,” and I think that fits for me and why I ran for School Board. I was a proud WP Panda, attended SAMS, and then graduated from SAVHS and I want to nurture and grow what is special about our school community. We moved our family back to this district because we believe in what we all have the potential to create together and value what we have already in our treasured friends, neighbors, and school community. My decision to run was based on a desire to commit more fully to the district and trying to find the best fit for my skills and abilities which seem to be especially around policies, budgets, and evaluations.
We have amazing teachers, staff, and administrators, and it is my great pleasure to be a part of the Board that supports them and the work they do. Every time I’ve heard a presentation from them or had a conversation with them, they knock my socks off, so I hope as many people as possible can take advantage of opportunities to connect with them. Our administrators are such sources of knowledge and imagination that I am so proud to be in the same schools and, for me, connecting with them makes our success metrics real, our strategic direction real. Our district vision came from the community, through years of hard work developing priorities for the school district, and I appreciate that work immensely as well.
But, without a doubt, my favorite part of our guiding documents is the part where we can all actively contribute – to helping kids belong. We know that learning happens best when kids feel like they belong and that learning is impaired when a kid is distracted by not belonging, and that is a relentless guiding star for me. How can we all contribute to helping kids belong? How can we all hold space for the many ways that kids are present and spaces for their many selves? I don’t know all the answers, the Board doesn’t know all the answers, but I am so grateful to be a part of the conversation and that work with you all.
I think there are many ways to do a job and the Board has a variety of them represented, which is a good thing. The whole point of representative government is to bring a diversity of viewpoints together for a common purpose and to disagree when we disagree, work through what we can compromise and refine, and agree when we agree. That said, I wanted to join this particular team because of the evident deep core of the group – care for our kids, our families, and our schools. I have never doubted that everyone is centered on the kids and the schools, even when we disagree about major or minor issues. I am proud of the way we’ve modeled disagreement through respectful, sometimes passionate, conversation. Those conversations are real, we have them in public, on camera, and I hope that maybe we can grow together as a result. We’ve had some hard talks about things we felt strongly about, and we’ve also passed critical budgets and approved important policies. I think this is how a School Board should look – and part of that is when you all reach out to tell us how you think we’re doing.
We bring your voices into the room as well when we represent you, so please don’t hesitate to come to listening sessions (usually the first Tuesday of the month, but check our website to be sure), email, text, or call. You are part of the collaboration, part of the team, and we can’t do this without you.
My email is email@example.com, my home cell is 612.462.6046. Please don’t hesitate to reach out any time. I’m happy to text, get some coffee, take a walk, whatever works.