Mary Ellen DeBois is the 2012 Mom Congress Delegate for Minnesota. She is a full-time mother of four children ages 16, 15, 13 and 9. She lives with her husband Mike in Maple Grove, where their children attend public schools. Mary Ellen has been volunteering at the school level since her youngest was in preschool. More recently, she has become involved in advocating for education at the Legislative level through co-chairing her school district’s Parent Legislative Network and serving on the Board of Directors for Parents United for Public Schools.
One thing that is going great in education in your state: Minnesotans highly value education and most schools receive great support from their communities.
One thing you wish could be improved in education in your state: The way we finance public education in the Minnesota. Our system needs to be reformed to provide adequate, equitable and sustainable funding. Everyone agrees the current system is broken but designing a new one has proved challenging.
Your favorite teacher (and why): Mr. Dan Lipp was my math teacher at Roncalli High School in Aberdeen, SD. He had the ability to make Algebra and Trigonometry interesting and even entertaining at times. I always enjoyed going to his class. Mr. Lipp’s style of teaching was very effective. Now that I have children in school I realize how important having a great teacher is—especially in Math.
Your hero: My mother, grandmothers and great grandmothers. Raising children is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I have great respect for my mothers and grandmothers who did so with such grace. They faced many challenges and didn’t have many of the modern day conveniences I enjoy. Looking back at the sacrifices they made for their children it is amazing and humbling.
Favorite quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Confucius
Favorite school lunch as a child: I just remember loving the chocolate cake made with beets!
Favorite subject in school (and why): Science, I liked researching and learning how things worked. I especially liked physics.
Biggest wish for your kids: To get a great education and follow a path that will lead them to “love what they do, so they will never work a day in their life”. Hopefully that would put them in a position to do what we as parents teach them to do each day and be the positive difference in someone else’s life. I am most proud of my kids when I see them actively doing this.
Most rewarding/challenging stage of parenthood thus far (and why): The most challenging time was probably when my fourth child was born. The other kids were starting to get involved in a lot of activities, so we were always on the move with the new baby. When the first three were born we were playing at home a lot more. The most rewarding has to be the present time with three teenagers in the house and my youngest being 9. It is so exciting to see all of them evolve into their own “selves” with increased confidence and such individual and wonderful personalities.
Favorite family activities: Getting away from all of the school activities and day-to-day life on a family vacation. Playing family games.