Marilynn Forsberg, Spring Lake Park Schools school board member since 1981, has been recognized by the Minnesota School Board Association for her commitment to school board service and education.
The Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) provides training and resources to school board members throughout the state. School board members earn “points” for training where a point is roughly equivalent to an hour of training. Marilynn has achieved 1,289 points – the most in the state – over nearly 40 years of school board service.
Value in being informed
Over the years, Marilynn has found value in the wide-ranging topics MSBA seeks to help school board members understand more deeply.
“MSBA training really helped me to understand how school boards work, how important it is to have strong relationships and how to work well with all the stakeholders in our schools,” says Marilynn. “Of course, there has been plenty about COVID in the last few years and throughout the year MSBA has stayed current with relevant training on the most timely topics.”
Marilynn developed a particular interest in legislative issues and advocacy.
“Local school board members sometimes don't realize how much the action of the legislature impacts our local district,” she says.
As an active participant in delegate assemblies, Marilynn has gained deep knowledge of the issues that impact us locally but are decided elsewhere. She’s sought to influence those issues through her advocacy.
In MSBA’s recognition of Marilynn, Kirk Schneidawind, Executive director, said, “Throughout her time as a school board member, Marilynn Forsberg has been one of the greatest advocates for our public school students. She serves as a great example for our newer board leaders on the value and importance of staying informed, engaging with leaders and keeping your eye on the prize - our students."
Within Spring Lake Park Schools, Marilynn has served as liaison to all schools and on nearly every school community committee, council and task force that exists. Using expertise Marilynn developed over the years, she also has expanded her service to other related boards.
In addition to serving on the SLP School Board, she currently serves as the Chair of Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District, 916's representative to the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, is president of her homeowner's association and a member of the board of her church's school and child care center. She also serves as Vice Chair on the 7-county IEIC Help Me Grow board.
“Marilynn is a tireless advocate for each of the students in our district and for public education as a whole,” says board chair Amy Hennen. “Her experience and knowledge, much of it gained through her connections and relationships with organizations like MSBA, are a tremendous asset to our board and our schools.”
Long-time advocate for public schools
Marilynn herself is a product of public schools. A long-time resident of Spring Lake Park, she and husband Fred raised four sons in the community. Her sons and two grandchildren graduated from Spring Lake Park Schools.
When Marilynn first ran for the school board in 1982, she was inspired by her own family’s experience. One of her sons was in need of special education services, and the family had recently relocated from Kansas City where those services were more robust.
While she first became a school board member with specific interests in special education programming, she’s stayed to advocate for opportunities and success for all students. As she begins her 40th year of service, it’s these students that motivate her each day.
I really like this John Wesley quote because it really is how I think about board service. ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’ It really is an honor and a privilege to serve. Marilynn Forsberg