Who Am I?

I am a first-generation college graduate who came from a single-parent household. Education changed my life trajectory. We need to provide those same opportunities for all our students in Minneapolis.

I grew up in Champlin, Minnesota. My dad left our home when I was in 2nd grade. My younger brother and I were raised by our amazing mother.

During college I met my wife, Megan. She is the most thoughtful and generous person I know. Megan loves animals (we have two rescue cats- Fetty and Peaches), spending time with our nephews, and playing board games. Megan is currently completing her doctorate in Physical Therapy at St. Kates.

During graduate school I received an early contract from MPS. I was fortunate enough to get a social studies position at Sanford Middle School. We moved to an apartment in the Standish neighborhood and I spent 3 wonderful years at Sanford teaching 8th grade Global Studies, 6th grade MN Studies, and 6th grade AVID. While teaching I proposed to (and married) Megan, continued to bartend (student loans ), and completed the Minnesota Education Policy Fellowship Program.

This year I made the tough decision to step away from the classroom. I wanted to try and make an impact on my community in another way. I founded PeopleSourced Policy, a nonpartisan, 501©3 nonprofit civic engagement organization whose mission is to increase access and community engagement in the local political process. We are still in our startup phase as we develop our online platforms and policy games-but the path we are on is very exciting!

I am also the Executive Director of Books on Wings, a 501©3 nonprofit serving Minnesota youth who attend schools with free or reduced lunch rates of 80% or higher. Our mission is to get culturally relevant books to students in grades K-3. My focus has been on developing new partnerships, growing the number of programs we offer, and increasing our fundraising efforts.

Right now a major focus in the Pauly household is our plans to adopt. We are going to wait until Megan graduates, but we have started the process by looking into resources and contacting a couple of prospective agencies. We are learning a lot and are very excited as we look to our future!

Why Am I Running?

I am running for an at-large seat on the Minneapolis Public School board. I spent the past 3 years as a teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools at Sanford Middle School in South Minneapolis. This is a unique and important perspective that our school board needs. I am running because I believe that as someone who has worked in our schools I understand the needs of our students and can offer insight into the challenges our teachers face on a daily basis. Also, as someone who is preparing to start a family, I want to ensure that our schools are strong for the next generation of students who walk through our doors.

As your representative on Minneapolis School Board,
I will focus on:

Addressing class sizes by focusing on teacher-student ratios.

Great teaching and high-quality education is built on relationships cultivated in the classroom. When teachers have 30+ students in their classes, building relationships becomes a challenge.

Increase wrap around services at all schools to make them more safe, welcoming, and supportive.

Teachers do amazing work, but schools are also successful because of the support they offer students.  Counselors, social workers, nurses, mental health professionals, etc. are integral to supporting our students. I will advocate for these positions at all our schools. In addition, I will push for caseload guidelines- it is unfair to expect 1 counselor to meet the needs of a school with over 800 students. We can do better for our students.

Reframe our dialogue around the budget.

MPS has been overspending since 2010. We have dipped into their reserves for 7 straight years. Although we need to assess our funding streams (see state-level support below), fiscal responsibility needs to be taken seriously.

Focus on community engagement.

I will be your elected representative on Minneapolis School Board. I want to hear your voice and perspective. I will host weekly office hours. My hope is that by varying times, dates, and locations I can reach as many community members as possible. 

Other areas of focus:

  • Combat the shortage of teachers of color in our classrooms by continued investment and development of programs like Grow Your Own.
  • Work to keep MPS strong and competitive so that there is no need for charter schools in the city.
  • Continue to push for restorative practices and increased funding for mental health support.


  • B.A. – History, University of Minnesota
  • Masters – Masters in Education, University of Minnesota

3 years at Sanford Middle School

  • social studies and AVID

I constructed and implemented an after school book club for male students called Real Men Read to foster a love for reading, engage them academically, and improve their school day attendance.

I am a board member of the Standish Ericsson Neighborhood Association (SENA). One of my focus areas is helping create safe and welcoming spaces for the youth within our community.

I was a committee member on Sanford Middle School’s Healthy Schools Grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield. We decided how funds from the 3-year, $200,000 grant were to be spent to improve the health and well-being of Sanford students. I specifically helped form research protocol to investigate the impact of active chairs and desks on student engagement.

I was on the Teacher Advisory Board for the Islamic Resource Group of Minnesota for 2 school years. We discussed the trajectory for IRG in regards to their outreach in education, linked IRG with educators to discuss IRG programming, and expanded the number of schools IRG reaches. I also aided in developing the 2016 MEA workshop “Teaching Islam in the Classroom”.

PeopleSourced Policy:

Innovative solutions, policy experience, governmental relations


Books on Wings:

develop partnerships, growing program offerings, increasing our fundraising efforts.

Josh in the Media

Elections are over, but think what we can do if we all stay engaged

Wow, the 2017 elections were amazing! New leaders were chosen all across the nation. St. Paul, for example, chose Melvin Carter, its first African-American mayor in the city’s history.  …Read more

Josh Pauly, People Sourced Founder and Executive Director

PeopleSourced Policy (PSP) Founder and Executive Director Josh Pauly created his organization to make it easier for people to have their voices heard in the local community. He describes PSP as a nonpartisan civic-engagement organization that is issue-driven…Read More

  • State-level Support:
    Our state constitution requires the legislature to provide an adequate public K-12 education for all young Minnesotans. I will use my voice as a member of the Minneapolis School Board to:
  • Fight unfunded mandates at the state level. We need to push our elected officials to fight for equitable education funding. MPS is not funded for $56 million in special education costs and $9 million in ELL costs, in addition to the $21 million we pay for non-MPS students (charter school bussing & special education costs, private school bussing, etc.). If these were funded mandates, MPS would have a budget surplus!
  • Advocate for the state to incorporate an inflationary increase to the General Ed Basic Per Pupil formula.
  • Push for the state to align the constitutional requirement for “adequate” to the requirements under the World’s Best Workforce legislation.

Emily Lilja Palmer

Emily Lilja Palmer Principal, Sanford MS

"Josh Pauly is an excellent teacher. Josh made a great impact on his students and colleagues in his three years at Sanford. I was so sorry to lose him to the nonprofit world – but I'm excited to see the work that he is doing in the community!"

Candace Miller Lopez

Candace Miller Lopez MPS Parent and Volunteer

"My first impression of Josh was overwhelmingly positive.  He is bright, open and eager to make a difference in the world.  As I have gotten to know him better, that first impression has deepened into respect and admiration.  Josh doesn't "settle".  He is constantly working to address inequity, to foster positive experiences for young people, and to challenge the systems that impact our daily lives, like public education, to be more accountable and inclusive."  

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 12

"I have been impressed with Josh's passion for our kids and community. I think he will make an excellent partner on the Minneapolis School Board, and I am proud to support him."

Nelson Inz

Nelson Inz Chair, Minneapolis School Board

"Having teachers on the school board is imperative. I look forward to having a colleague with teaching experience join me in this important work, and I'm proud to support Josh Pauly for Minneapolis School Board."

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Office Hours:

The Riverview Café 7am

Sisters Sludge 5pm

Venn Brewing 3pm

North Market 4pm

Pierre Bottineau Library 9am

Linden Hills Library 4pm


Check back for future office hours!