Experience Matters

Our experiences shape us. Our stories influence how we lead. I’m Josh Pauly and I’m ready to lead on the Minneapolis School Board.

I’m a first generation college graduate from a single-parent home. My experience with education changed my life trajectory. I understand how critical our public education system is to the children in our City. I know how access to opportunities can impact achievement. I know that too often racial identity, zip code, class or background determines our children’s outcomes. My opportunities changed my life. As a School Board member, I’m committed to ensuring that all our schools are high achieving and equitable for all our students.

I’ve been a teacher within MPS. I am the only candidate with this specific professional experience. I know that teacher-student ratios matter. I know that wrap around services are integral to supporting our students. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of board decisions on our students. As a School Board member, I’m committed to focus on teaching and learning when making decisions.

I lead a non-profit dedicated to making public policy more accessible. I understand board work. I understand that good governance is key to a stable district and stable leadership. I understand that a quality board leads by setting priorities consistent with our values. A quality board challenges and dialogues with leadership – but does not insult and undermine. Good policy is a stabilizing force – not something that creates chaos within the organization. Good policy does not create winners and losers. As a School Board member, I’m committed to lead with progressive values.

I’ve committed my life to service. I’m committed to MPS. I ask for your vote on November 6th




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:

Support Services/Student Inclusion

  • Counselors, social workers, nurses, mental health professionals, etc. are integral to supporting our students.
  • A community schools integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.
  • We cannot pretend that students do not need supports; this is worth financial investment.
  • If we meet our students’ needs and create a culture of acceptance and inclusion in our schools, there will be better outcomes.
  • Our vision should be to create schools where all students, regardless of race, gender or sexual identity are free to be who there are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, discrimination or harassment.
  • I served on the Teacher Advisory Board for the Islamic Resource Group of Minnesota for two years and aided in developing the 2016 MEA workshop “Teaching Islam in the classroom.”
  • I am the only school board candidate endorsed by Stonewall.

Governance/Board Role

  • Good governance is key to a stable district and stable leadership.
  • A quality board leads by setting priorities consistent with our values and then evaluating progress.
  • A quality board challenges and dialogues with leadership – but does not insult and undermine. Good policy is a stabilizing force.
  • I have experience leading a non-profit dedicated to making public policy more accessible, as well as experience serving on numerous boards in our community.

Equity in Education Funding

  • Funding should be allocated in a way that ensures all students have access to similar experiences and programming throughout the district. A foundational value of mine is equity.
  • I support allocating appropriate funding and resources to schools with the highest needs, and ensuring that resources from the state for specific needs reach the students with those needs. It is appropriate for a school with higher needs to have a higher per-pupil funding award.
  • I believe that the state constitution requires the legislature to provide an adequate k-12 education to all Minnesotans and will lobby to address the significant gaps in funding that currently exist. Failing to do so will greatly impact our ability to deliver the services that students need.
  • Although we need to assess our funding streams, MPS fiscal responsibility needs to be taken seriously and I support balanced budgets. MPS has been overspending and dipping into reserves, and I do not believe that is a sustainable practice.
  • To ensure a sustainable budget, we need to be steady and aligned with our values when it comes to fiscal management.

Academic Achievement

  • Addressing the issues named above will create a foundation for academic success.
  • I am committed to supporting strong literacy; founder of “Real Men Read” after-school book club.
  • I am the only candidate with classroom teaching experience.

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.
  • 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 Pauly's Endorsements

Minneapolis Elected Officials

Ilhan Omar, US House of Representatives (CD5)
Fue Lee, MN House of Representatives (59A)
Kari Dziedzic, MN Senate (60)
Diane Loeffler, MN House of Representatives, (60A)
Mohamud Noor, MN House of Representatives (60B)
Scott Dibble, MN Senate (61)
Jim Davnie, MN House of Representatives (63A)
Cara Letofsky, Met Council (District 8)
Kevin Reich, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 1)
Steve Fletcher, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 3)
Alondra Cano, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 9)
Lisa Bender, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 10)
Jeremy Schroeder, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 11)
Andrew Johnson, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 12)
Londel French, Park Board (At-Large)
Chris Meyer, Park Board (District 1)
Jenny Arneson, Minneapolis School Board (District 1)
Siad Ali, Minneapolis School Board (District 3)
Nelson Inz, Minneapolis School Board (District 5, Chair)
Devin Hogan, Minneapolis DFL (Chair)

OutFront Minnesota Action 

Minneapolis Community Members

Richard Mammen  Elizabeth Glidden  Christy Caez Claudio  Canan Karatekin
Caroline Hooper  Nonie Kouneski  Greta Callahan  Mavis Mantila
Kyle Tornow  Lucas Zeidner  Manilan Houle  Megan Troyer  Dan Engelhart
Brandon Schorsch  Elle Kingsley  Ben Kingsley  Jeff Diamond
Aisha Chughtai  Emily Palmer  Doug Werner  Jabari Browne
Jonathan Palmer  Jia Mikuls  Hope Phillips  Jacques Elate-Joss
Fahmo Ahmed  Ken Beck  Rhonda Lund  Heather Fisher Hunt
Holly Olson  Candace Miller Lopez  Cynthia Callanan  Jeremy Morgan
Omar White  Nikki Nethercot Niermann  Micah Niermann  Jenny Pilon
Tom Anderson  Ellie Anderson  Liam Davis Temple  Ryan Jasurda
Aleah Carlson  Emma Wyatt  Catherine Ludowese  Donna Biggar
Germaine Weaver  Aviva Grans Korsh  Kathleen Hellevik  Kyle Davisson
Jacques Elate Joss  Stephanie Liebhart  Erin Clotfelter  Ryan Terpening
Andy Isenberg  Tammy Rusnacko  Brett Sullivan  Samantha Sullivan
Judy Melanson  Michael Prince  Kate Prince  Jennifer Schellenberg
Alex Hoselton  Tanner Londo  Dan Lenhardt  Eric Gutierrez
Stephanie Gutierrez  Mina Price  Jackie Kramer  Randy Kramer
Ronnie Stimson  Kate Martin  Sarah Larson  Matt Brown
Marcus Holzer  Lee Benson  Mark Mattison  Ryan Pauly
Koshin Jimcali  Abdullahi Mohamed  Lolly Obeda  Bonnie Farrell
Lisa Steuhringer  Alison VonAchen  Keven Tell  Tamsen Brock
Kurt Nowacki  Adam Goebel  Austin Jasurda  Shannon Spalding
Cait O’Brien Baker  Cory Owen  Megan Pauly  Robert Arndt
Josh Dibley  Shaun Laden  Jasper Anton  Michelle Wiese
Scott Travis  Addie Scott  Kate Graham  Diego Machado
Jill Davis  Bridget Altmann  Todd Bennington  Jenn Bennington
Mick Conlan  Andie Whitacker  Darielle Dannen  Melissa David
Alex Kunau  Chris Duffrin  Rhonda Dunham  Nicole Erdmann
Monica Erling  Jamie Jackson  Keith Edwards  Sydney Jordan
Anj Johnson Ronay  Stephanie Johnson Ronay  Adelheid Koski
Cory Larson  Cristina Larson  Gregory Oliver  Billy Menz
Liz Loeb  Jill Pearson-Wood  Sonja Peterson  Sarah Young
Samantha Pree-Stinson  Megan Sparks  Tina Pfau Gonzales
Therese Pautz  Jeanette Wiedemeier Bower  Nance Kent
Bradley Schmeling  John Quincy  Heather Anderson  Glenn Salvo
David Gilbert-Pederson  Chuck Leisinger  Adam Duinick  Suzanne Murphy
Kollin Leisinger  Cecelia Laden  Aisha Gomez  Mark Haase
Kali Mohamed  Elizabeth Lorraine  Sonia Neculescu  Martin Costello
Barbara Costello  Mary Dierkes  Viswa Challa  Brandon Overlie
  • 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.

“As a proud MPS parent and graduate, it is critical we elect School Board members that share our values. I am proud to endorse Josh Pauly for Minneapolis School Board.

As an educator, Josh knows how to build a system where all our kids, regardless of race or zip code, are given the opportunity to succeed. Now more than ever, our communities need more leaders like Josh. I’m excited to work with him to build the education system our kids deserve.”
-Rep. Ilhan Omar


“Josh is committed to finding common ground where we can work together for a brighter future for all our children. Josh is not afraid to ask the tough questions and make the right decisions, keeping the focus on equity so that opportunity for every Minneapolis student grows.” -Sen. Scott Dibble


“Josh Pauly is a teacher and an energetic voice ready to roll up his sleeves and dive into the hard work that’s needed to make sure all of our public schools succeed. Proud to endorse Josh Pauly for Minneapolis School Board. Please join me in supporting this community grounded leader.” -Alondra Cano, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 9)


“As an MPS parent, the job the school board does is important to me. I trust Josh Pauly to do the best for my kids and all of our kids!
-Jim Davnie, MN House of Representatives (63A)



“I trust Josh Pauly to be a good steward on the Minneapolis School Board. As a former teacher and a millennial, Josh brings important perspectives to the Board.”
-Fue Lee, MN House of Representatives (59A)

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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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!