SFHS graduate reflects on early work as new school board member

Newly elected for a two-year term on the St. Francis School Board, Betsy Roed says that the opportunity had been on her radar for a few years.

“Once my kids started school, it was always something that piqued my interest,” she said.

Betsy Roed
Betsy Roed

She has lived most of her life in School District 15, as she was two when her parents moved their family from Maplewood to East Bethel.

Graduating from St. Francis High School in 1995, Roed went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in business management through the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.

She began work as a factory clerk for a machining shop in Rogers, being a direct contact for customers while managing inventory and scheduling and coordinating jobs.

After two years there, she moved on to accounting work at an office in Ramsey. “It was a little more per my college education,” Roed said.

She left that position which involved payroll, bookkeeping and sales tax filings in 2007, when she chose to become a stay-at-home mom after her second child was born.

Roed and her husband, Patrick, married in 2003, and have a son, Charlie, 8, and two daughters, Rachel, 6, and Lacey, 4. The family live in Oak Grove.

Charlie and Rachel are in third and first grades at Cedar Creek Community School, and Lacey will enter kindergarten next fall.

Roed was an active high school student in St. Francis, playing flute in concert, marching and pep bands and also playing four years of softball. Her school careers in volleyball and basketball were finished after middle school. “Only being 5 feet 3 inches tall, you don’t get very far in those sports,” she said.

When her children began reaching preschool age, Roed became active with the Early Childhood Advisory Council. For a few years she coordinated the annual “Vehicle Day,” usually on a Saturday early in May, when families with young children could see and explore not only fire engines, police cars and city snowplows in one lot, but also UPS and Schwan’s trucks.

On the school board, Roed is scheduled to complete a term that became vacant early last year and will end officially in December 2015.

She applied for the opening last spring, when sitting board members instead chose David Roberts, also of Oak Grove, to fill the vacancy. Roed pledged to herself then that she would run for a board seat in November.

She finished first between two candidates for the abbreviated two-year term, while Roberts led voting among six people running for three four-year terms.

Less than two weeks into her service, Roed said she was prepared for the work that came immediately including separate board and committee meetings.

She headed for downtown Minneapolis three different days in the first week to attend training and leadership conferences sponsored by the Minnesota School Boards Association.

“I knew it would be a significant time commitment,” Roed said. “I’ve been doing something every single day (related to the board). I can see it as probably one of the toughest jobs I’ll ever hold.

“It’s an important role. Our goal is to make our schools the best learning and working environments for students and staff.”

According to Roed, she is glad that she and her husband decided to raise their family in School District 15. “I like that it’s a big school, but a small community,” Roed said. “I think there is a lot of community pride out there.”