Mary Cathryn Ricker, a National Board Certified Teacher, is Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education. Previously she served as the Executive Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers. She is the past President of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, a 4000+ member union serving the teachers and Educational Assistants in St. Paul Public Schools. Prior to being elected president, she was a classroom teacher in middle school English/Language arts for 13 years in St. Cloud, MN; Camas, WA; and Seoul, South Korea. She also taught for 5 years in St. Paul Public Schools. She was recently elected to the Education Minnesota Governing Board and she previously served on Education Minnesota’s statewide Professional Advocacy member committee. She is a local delegate to the St. Paul Area Trades and Labor Assembly and serves on the board of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. In 2005, Ms Ricker was the Minnesota recipient and national semi-finalist of the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. She was selected as one of eight teachers to film a national professional development video series called Write in the Middle for teachers of writing funded by the Annenberg Foundation. She has been invited to present teaching and writing strategies at the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English annual conference, the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention, and the National Writing Project annual conference. She is a member of and was past Middle School Chair on the board of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English.