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Education Minnesota welcomes new commissioners

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Dec. 21, 2022 – Education Minnesota welcomed on Wednesday the appointment of six new commissioners, including new leaders of the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and the Minnesota Department of Revenue.  

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan appointed former St. Cloud Area Schools Superintendent Willie Jett as the next commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education. 

“We are looking forward to working with Mr. Jett on the issues that matter most to Minnesotans and educators,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “From the opportunity gaps faced by our BIPOC students, to reducing class sizes, to providing sufficient mental health services to stabilizing the educator workforce through improved compensation from the first day through a dignified retirement, there are unprecedented challenges for Minnesota schools right now. We’re eager to begin the hard work of finding solutions with the new commissioner.” 

Walz and Flanagan also named Nicole Blissenbach as the new, permanent commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry. Specht praised the choice of Blissenbach, who has been the acting commissioner of the DLI since August. 

“Throughout Blissenbach’s career, she has shown a commitment to ensuring workers are treated fairly by their employers,” Specht said. “She’s smart, determined and practical. Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan have made an excellent choice for the workers of Minnesota.” 

Specht also noted the appointment of Paul Marquart as the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Marquart, a high school teacher, has a long history of working with tax policy during his time in the Minnesota House of Representatives. 

“It was gratifying to hear an educator will lead the agency dedicated to funding the future for all Minnesotans,” Specht said. “As an educator, he already thinks about the future. As a longtime state representative and mayor from Greater Minnesota, he knows what working families need right now. This is a strong choice for the future of our state.”

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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