John Harper, Chair
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Jack Kolars, Vice Chair
Nicollet County District 3 Commissioner
Honey Burg, Treasurer
Workforce Development Coordinator
Dr. Mohamed Diab
Professor, Construction Management
Diversity Program Manager
School Board Member, Mankato Area Public Schools & Founder of Futures PAC & Digital Strategist for Pantograph Labs
Liz is serving her first term as a school board member for Independent School District 77. Her priority is to ensure that all students are provided the tools they need to create the future of their choosing while feeling that they are an important part of the community. She attended Marquette Senior High School in Michigan and graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1993, majoring in Biology. She has lived in Mankato since 1998.
Liz is a digital strategist for Pantagraph Labs, a boutique progressive digital firm, and also the founder of Futures PAC which supports progressive school board candidates across the country that advocate for a robust and inclusive public education system and oppose book bans, the whitewashing of our history, and attacks on LGBTQ+ students.
Liz is married to her husband, Chad for 20 years and has three children, Emma (23), Jacob (23), and Conner (18). Chad is the general manager at Precision Press in North Mankato, MN.
After the election of Donald Trump, she got involved in several community organizations to support disadvantaged groups being targeted by his policies. Alarmed by the rise in bullying and cruelty, ,she began selling artwork to pay for overdue school lunch bills. She is a lifelong social and climate justice activist with past involvement with MN350, Indivisible, Mankato United for Safety and Equality, Food Not Bombs, and Transition Mankato.
Director of Community Partnerships Minnesota State University, Mankato
Guadalupe serves as a liaison between the University's Diversity and Inclusion Division and ethnic communities in Minnesota. In her previous position as Director of the Center for Latina/o Affairs, she developed programs to encourage and motivate Latina/os to pursue educational opportunities and increase their access to higher education.
Guadalupe is an active member of the Global Education and Study Away Council (GEAC) at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and has traveled multiple times to Latin American countries to establish student and faculty exchange programs.
She has been a founder and co-founder of multiple bilingual and bicultural educational programs for Latina/o youth and women empowerment in Southern Minnesota, such as the Southern Minnesota Latino College Fair, El Pueblo Avanza Conference, the Southern MinnesotaMother and Daughter Conference, the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Institute (CHILY), the Latino Academic Engineering Day (LEAD), the annual Woman to Woman Latina Conference, and the Multicultural Network.
Guadalupe's work has been recognized by the YWCA with the Women of Distinction award, the Minnesota State University, Mankato Outstanding Advisor of the Year and Latina Leader of the Year awards. She also received the BHA Award of Honor (Black Indian Hispanic and Asian) for her commitment and dedication to the Latina/o Community, the Minnesota Rural Futures award and the OTHLI Award of Honor given by the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, which recognizes and honors Latina/o leaders whose efforts have contributed significantly to the wellbeing, prosperity, and empowerment of Mexican communities abroad.
Diane considers herself to be "part of the village," now that she doesn't have a regular contracted job as the educator she aspired to become since childhood. She grew up on a farm in southwest North Dakota where, as third oldest of fifteen children, her strong values of sharing, caring, and hard work were formed.
In grade and high school, School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) were her teachers. She came to Mankato and became an SSND after high school, spending the next 25 years of her life teaching with them.
Diane taught in Minnesota and Iowa Catholic schools and also other places during the summer, including Appalachia, an Indian reservation, and a migrant workers' camp. She worked and taught in Kenya, East Africa for five years with other SSND's. These years in Africa were a life changing experience for Diane. Upon her return to the states she chose to leave the convent and started teaching in public schools. She received an advanced degree in Educational Leadership and became licensed as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher (now called MLL - multi-lingual learning) through Minnesota State University, Mankato. As an ESL teacher she found her niche in ISD 77 at Kennedy Elementary, teaching immigrant and refugee children and being a cross-cultural support to their families.
After leaving the convent, Diane met and shared 24 years of life with Jean Lovett. Jean's feisty and social justice, earth-loving spirit, until her death in 2021, was and continues to be an anchor hold for Diane's community activism. Beyond her professional commitment to the children and their families as an educator, Diane became involved with the Children's Project, Life Work Planning Center, the Mankato Interfaith Anti-Racism Task Force, and Mankato Area Fair Trade Town Initiative.
In June, 2009, Diane was invited to Washington, D.C. where she accepted a Jefferson Award for Public Service as a representative of South-Central Minnesota and also received national recognition for serving her community as one of five Jaqueline Kennedy-Onassis Award recipients. In 2015, she was honored with the Mankato Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award.
Since her professional career as an educator, Diane has continued volunteering as "part of the village" through the Mankato YWCA, the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, her Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato church, Indigenous Peoples Day Committee, Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence in America, a Board member of the Siemer Foundation, and simply showing up in different ways with others who are committed to strengthening the greater good in the greater Mankato area.
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”