Anoka-Hennepin School Board
‘Our experts are the teachers and fronline staff’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, September 25, 2021
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
COON RAPIDS — “We need to always pro-actively get our experts’ voices into the discussion,” says Jeff Simon. “Our experts are the teachers and staff who are on the frontline.”
The nine-year incumbent, AFL-CIO endorsed Jeff Simon is running for re-election for Anoka-Hennepin School Board District 6 (southern Andover and northern Coon Rapids).
Simon also is endorsed by Anoka Hennepin Education Minnesota.
Simon’s wife — Simone Simon — is a teacher in the Anoka-Hennepin School, too, “which is another way for me to understand the challenges and celebrations in the classroom,” he says.
The couple also have two sons enrolled in the district.
Simon grew up in Wisconsin and earned a Masters Degree in Education in K-12 counseling at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.
He pursued a career in sales, however, as a profession.
Simon has lived in Coon Rapids for 21 years. He has been an active community volunteer, including coaching youth sports.
“When you’re in a place, you want to leave it better and try to improve it,” Simon says, a belief which continues to drive his service on the Anoka-Hennepin school board. “We’ve made a lot of strides,” he says.
Going forward, Simon says outreach to the community and transparency are a priority. “With the current place we are in as a country and a community, people are looking for more transparency.”
He says that goal also means “making sure our community is not only heard but understands what we’re doing.”
He also is advocating for academic achievement and for setting third grade reading benchmarks. “Eliminating the achievement gap is equity,” he says.
“It certainly has been a challenging time for public education,” Simon says. “We want to be a good place to work and we want to be a district where folks want to come and work.”
“I have prided myself on being the voice of the teachers and the staff,” he says.
In addition to his wife Simone’s work as a union member, Simon has two brothers who work as union members in Wisconsin paper mills.
Simon says he believes in solving problems in partnership with the district’s unions.