Mohamed makes history as first person of color on Shakopee School Board

Voters in the Shakopee School District elected three School Board members Tuesday, including Ibrahim Mohamed, the district’s first board member of color.

Newcomer Jeff Smith and appointed incumbent, who joined the board in January, were both elected to their first full terms as well. The three candidates ran unchallenged for three open seats.

Though unavailable for comment Tuesday, Mohamed previously told the Shakopean he thinks his prior experience as cultural liaison with the district will be helpful on the board.

“Everyone is unique, so we have to take into consideration how they learn,” he said in August. “They’re diverse kids. I will serve them, I will help them. I did that as cultural liaison, so I know the challenges they have. In the school district there are 54 languages spoken. So I think I can make a difference.” 

Mohamed, who received 10,810 votes, immigrated to the United States from Somalia 27 years ago, at the age of 18. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Mary’s University and a master’s degree in school counseling and psychology from the University of Wisconsin River Falls. More recently, he served two terms as president of the Shakopee Diversity Alliance and as a member of the Curriculum Advisory Board for Shakopee schools for three years.

Smith, who received the most votes with 13,982, is an IT Manager at Pearson VUE and has been with the company since 2004. He served 27 years in the United States Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve and retired in 2015. Locally, Smith has served as president of the Shakopee Band Boosters, assistant coach of the high school mountain bike team and is a volunteer veteran mentor for Scott County.

“I’m looking forward to going to work for Shakopee and supporting our wonderful teachers and staff,” Smith said Tuesday. “I’m most focused on the needs of our students and setting them up for success as the future leaders of our community and our nation.”

Brophy, who had 10 months to get his feet wet on the board, received 13,651 votes. He said he is looking forward to continuing his public service. At the time of his comments to the Shakopean on Tuesday, he said the challenges and priorities ahead of the board will change quickly depending on the outcome of the operating levy vote, which ended up failing by an 8% margin.

Due to the levy failure, $5.4 million in budget cuts will occur next school year, including nearly 50 classroom teachers.

“There are many good and ‘healthy’ challenges ahead of us in terms of furthering the great educational programs the district has developed. The trajectory will change quickly if we need to focus efforts on school finances,” Brophy said.

Each of the newly elected board members will serve a four-year term.

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