Get to know the School Board candidates: Sharon Henry-Blythe


On Sept. 9, Minneapolis voters will vote to send six of nine candidates for School Board to the general election on Nov. 4. Three of those six will be elected to at-large seats.

Candidates are listed alphabetically. Address and phone numbers are provided via public filing information; website or email has been provided by the candidate, when applicable.

Carla Bates
Mary Buss
Jill Davis
Thomas Dicks
Sharon Henry-Blythe
Allison Johnson
Lydia Lee
Doug Mann
Kari Reed

Sharon Henry-Blythe
600 E. Minnehaha Pkwy

Henry-Blythe is director of children and family policy and research for the Family Supportive Housing Center and has worked in the field of childcare research and referral for nearly 20 years. She holds a bachelor of science in secondary education from the U of M.

She is seeking her third term on the School Board and sees her continued service (if elected) as part of keeping the body stable. “The ability of the School Board is an indicator of the health of the district,” she said.

Her highest priority is for the district to stay focused and fulfill the strategic plan. “We have dug deeper in the last two years and really set a bar for ourselves based on what we’ve learned,” she said.

She called equity in the quality of education, and every child being safe in the district “is the umbrella that everything falls under.” She identified three important goals for the district: improve academic outcome for low performing students while “maintaining a high quality of education for those students who are able to soar;” build high-quality teacher, leadership and principal corps; and make sure that teachers “feel ready and equipped to move our district forward in improving academic outcomes.”

She said that the work recently on the teacher’s contract made it easier to place teachers “in buildings where their strengths and qualities will serve the kids well.”

The referendum is “very important” but in the hands of the voters, she said. If it doesn’t pass, “Schools and parents will have to endure more cuts,” she said, likely in the area of staffing. “Like with any organization, your most expensive item is your staffing.” She said the board hasn’t “laid out a plan for ‘if we don’t get this, what’s gotta go?’” but she does not foresee more school closings. “We’re trying to get our school buildings and student population more in sync,” she said. “I think we’ve gotten much closer to that then we ever have in previous years.”

Asked about the issue of class size, she said the School Board has “a general commitment,” but she can’t predict how it will play out. She acknowledged that class size has been something that both the district and parents have valued since even before she came on the board.