Board Member Profiles

John Bellingham

John Bellingham, Board Chair

Classroom Teacher Member

John Bellingham has been a teacher since 1980 and currently is a 6th grade Social Studies teacher at Faribault Middle School.  In his spare time, John serves as the assistant girls basketball coach at Faribault High School and enjoys woodworking, carpentry and hunting.  He was appointed to the Board of Teaching in 2011 and began serving as Board Chair in 2013.  John serves on the Executive Committee, Discipline Committee, Teacher Evaluation Task Force (2012) and Co-chairs the Teacher Licensure Advisory Task Force (2013).



Erin Azer

Erin Azer

Public Member

Erin Azer currently serves on the Roseville Area School Board and the Roseville Parks and Recreation Commission. Erin graduated with her BA in English from Gustavus Adolphus College. She did graduate work at Northeastern University in Boston and earned her Masters in Education from Hamline University. Erin spent over 7 years in the classroom as a middle school English teacher and theater director. Currently she is a financial advisor with Evergreen Financial Group in Minneapolis. Erin loves living in the metro area with her husband and 2 fierce daughters. She fancies herself an above average Scrabble player.




Jim Barnhill

Jim Barnhill

Classroom Teacher Member

Jim Barnhill, of Minneapolis, has been a special education teacher since 2001 working primarily in the Minneapolis Public School District. He has served in various roles including as a resource and self-contained program teacher. He currently works in the South High Life Skills Program teaching transition based courses and oversees a work based learning program. He has been actively involved with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers since 2008 and is currently a member of the district’s teacher evaluation “Think Tank”.  Jim is an avid soccer fan/coach and loves to camp with his 3 children and wife as much as possible. 



Jim Grabowska

Jim Grabowska

School Board Member 

Jim Grabowska earned his Bachelor's Degree in English from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He earned a Master's Degree from the University of Oklahoma in Spanish and a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian languages.  Mr. Grabowska is a Literature Professor & Chair of the Dept. of World Languages & Cultures at Minnesota State University, Mankato. His teaching specialties are Spanish and Language Education (teacher preparation in world languages). He is the President of the faculty association at MSU and represents the faculty in questions of shared governance as well as employment issues.  Mr. Grabowska is school board member in ISD 75, St. Clair, MN and serves on multiple sub-committees including the negotiation of teacher and paraprofessional contracts.  He and his wife, Kimberly Contag, have been married for 25 years and are the parents of 3 boys. In his spare time he is a stamp collector, specializing in U.S. issues in general and the transport series of airmail stamps & a motorcyclist who has toured twenty states.




Ann Kraftheifer

Anne Krafthefer

Classroom Teacher Member

Anne Marden Krafthefer graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in 1977 with a BAS in elementary education.  She holds Minnesota license to teach K-6 grade.  In 1997, she completed her MA of education at the College of St. Scholastica, specializing in elementary science and mathematics curriculum and instruction.  Anne has taught in public, private and parochial schools during her career.  Teaching is an important part of her family life, as her mother and grandfather also were teachers.  In addition, two of Anne’s four children and one daughter-in-law also are licensed teachers. 




Mike Larson

Mike Larson

Classroom Teacher Member

Mike Larson earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.  He earned a Master's Degree from Saint Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota, and a Specialist Degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Mike began teaching at the elementary level in 1998 and currently serves in the role of 5th Grade Teacher and coaching teachers as a Facilitator of Instructional Support at Riverview Elementary School, Farmington, Minnesota.  He enjoys golfing, landscaping, and spending time with his wife and two children.  He was appointed to the Board of Teaching in 2011 and serves on the Executive Committee, Discipline Committee, and Policy Review Committee. 




Diane O'Brien

Diane O'Brien

Public Member

Diane O’Brien was appointed to the board as a public representative in 2012. Diane is proud to serve on the board of teaching and  believes that a strong public education system and informed citizens are keys to our Democracy.  As a result, Diane has worked in the field of public information and communications for over thirty years and has had the opportunity to develop communications programs for organizations working on three of the most important issues of the past thirty years: HIV/AIDS education, workers’ rights, and E-12 education.  Diane retired from full-time work in January of 2010 and enjoys traveling. She has introduced each of her grandchildren to the North Shore of Lake Superior and they are starting to love the area as much as she does.  Diane earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and now lives in Shoreview.


Karen Palmen

Karen L. Palmen

Classroom Teacher Member

Karen Palmen has been teaching in various settings since 1989 and has taught in the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public School Districts since 2001.  She is a second-career teacher that came out of the world of dance as an English teacher. She has concentrated her efforts in the inner-city and is currently in the dissertation process seeking her doctorate degree in education.  Her research is centered on the novice teacher’s induction and mentoring experience. Karen's objective is to use her expertise to create collaborative environments in order to support and prepare teachers and students to be successful in inner-city and alternative learning environments.  In her free time, she likes to create recipes, cook, play banjo and blog about it all.



Loy Woelber

Loy Woelber

Licensed Administrator Member

Loy Woelber entered the education profession in 1989 and has served as a School Administrator in Minnesota since 1995.  Loy is the Superintendent of  the Westbrook Walnut Grove Schools where he has served since 2001.  Loy and his wife Sheryl (a math teacher) have 5 children and live on a farm near Dovray, Minnesota.  Loy is currently serving as Westbrook Kiwanis President and is a member of many other community clubs.  His hobbies include working on the farm with neighbors, driving school bus and being with family.