Board Member Profiles

John Bellingham

John Bellingham, Board Chair

Classroom Teacher Member; serves on the Executive and Licensure Committees

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; serves on the Executive and Legislative Committees

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; serves on the Executive and Legislative Committees

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. 

Joyce Bauwmann

Joyce Baumann

Classroom Teacher Member; serves on the Legislative and Licensure Committees

Joyce Baumann has been an elementary education in the Rocori Schools since 1995.  She currently teaches kindergarten at Cold Spring Elementary.  Joyce graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and pursued her teaching license through the College of Saint Benedict.  She has a Masters of Education from St. Mary's University.  Recently, Joyce has been working with the Better Lesson-Master Teacher Project that is funded by the National Education Association and the Gates Foundation.  She has also traveled to Brazil as a NEA Global Education Fellow.  She is active in her local education association, serving as a negotiator and working with teacher evaluation.  In her free time, Joyce enjoys spending time with her four children.  Joyce also enjoys writing music, directing choirs and is also actively involved in various theater projects.

MF Clardy photo

Mary Frances Clardy

Classroom Teacher Member; serves on the Teacher Equity Plan Steering and Stakeholder Advisory Committees

Mary Frances Clardy is a 19-year educator who has spent her career serving students in high-needs school settings in Saint Paul Public Schools.  She has served for the last 9 years as an Elementary School Literacy Content Coach.  In that role her primary responsibility has been the oversight and implementation of a school's reading and writing programs.  In so doing, she collaborates with teachers to refine their skill sets by utilizing job-embedded professional development techniques.  Prior to assuming this role she served as an elementary school teacher for 10 years.  Mary Frances holds a Master of Education Degree from Grand Canyon University (AZ); a Bachelor of Science Degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato (MN); and a Teaching Certificate from St. Thomas University (MN).  Mary Frances is passionate about improving education and is an active member of Educators 4 Excellence.  She is the mother of a graduate student who is currently enrolled in both an M.B.A. and a post baccalaureate Pre-Medicine program.  Mary Frances is also a golf enthusiast and enjoys the arts, cooking, and watching sporting events. 

Lesa Covington-Clarkson

Lesa Covington Clarkson, Board Vice-Chair

Higher Education Member; serves on the Executive and Policy Review Committees

A California native, Lesa and her family moved to Minnesota in January 1996. Dr. Covington Clarkson has been an educator since 2011.  Currently she serves as an associate professor of mathematics education and as an associate director of the STEM Center at the University of Minnesota.  Appointed by Governor Dayton to the Board of Teaching in 2011, she serves as the Higher Education representative.  Dr. Lesa Covington Clarkson earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota, her masters from California State University, Los Angeles, and her BS from Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska.

Jim Grabowska

Jim Grabowska

School Board Member; serves on the Policy Review Committee 

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; serves on the Policy Review Committee

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. 

Diane O'Brien

Diane O'Brien

Public Member; serves on the Legislative Committee

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.

Lee-Ann Stephens

Classroom Teacher Member

Lee-Ann Stephens, Minnesota Teacher of the Year 2007, has been an educator for 25 years with K-12 teaching and leadership experience. She currently serves as a teacher on special assignment with the St. Louis Park School District as an Equity Coach. She previously served as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University. Currently, she is a board member for the NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards), and a member of NASDTEC MCEE (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification: Model Code of Ethics for Educators) Task Force.  She is a teacher leader with NNSTOY (National Network of State Teachers of the Year). She holds a B.A. in International Studies, B.S. in Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and she is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, as well as her superintendent’s license. 

Loy Woelber

Loy Woelber

Licensed Administrator Member; serves on the Legislative Committee

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.