Melinda Dols for District 833 School Board

Putting Children First


About Melinda Dols imageAbout Melinda Dols imageAbout Melinda Dols image

I am running for re-election to the South Washington County School Board to continue the hard work that has gone into my past four years on the board. The SoWashCo School District includes all or parts of the communities of Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, Woodbury, as well as, Afton, Denmark and Grey Cloud Island Townships.

Why am I running for re-election as a District 833 school board candidate? In addition to my past four years on the District 833 School Board:

I know our schools as both a student and a parent. I graduated from this great school district and have had two children graduate from it. My daughter graduated from East Ridge High School and then continued on to the Next Step program for three years. She received Special Education services throughout her schooling so I have firsthand knowledge of what it's like to have a child with an IEP in our district. My oldest son graduated from East Ridge High School during the height of the pandemic and missed out on many important high school milestones, including a graduation ceremony, as a result. I know firsthand how difficult the pandemic was on our children so its extremely important to me to be able to keep our children learning in person. My youngest son is now a junior at East Ridge High School and has benefited from the Gateway Program and taking accelerated classes in our district. Because of this, I know how important it is to have a school district that offers a variety of accelerated academic courses and programs. I am a strong supporter of public education and all it has to offer. I will continue to be an advocate for all children in our district, despite how they learn or what demographic they are from.

I have been an involved parent in our district for the past 20 years. I was an active parent volunteer at both Liberty Ridge and Middleton Elementary Schools, PTA co-president at Lake Middle School, on the choir booster board at East Ridge High School, and a parent rep on the School Communicators Committee.

My professional career includes over 25 years of Social Work, Education, and Mental Health experience. I have worked as a Child Protection Worker, Children's Developmental Disabilities Case Manager, Mental Health Case Manager/Counselor, Early Childhood Teacher, and Interim College Instructor. I recently went back to grad school to pursue a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor licensure and am now an Outpatient Mental Health Therapist in our community.

I am also an involved community member. I am on the Woodbury Racial Equity Collaborative, a member of The League of Women Voters, and have served several times as an Election Judge for Washington County.

My priorities as a School Board member include Academic Excellence, Mental Health and Special Education Support, Equity and Inclusion, and Fiscal Responsibility. My knowledge, career experience, and four years of work on the School Board will continue to be an asset for our children, community and school district. I will always put children first!

Academic Excellence

I will continue to work to help close the achievement gap in our district by making sure that each student gets the support they need to achieve. I believe that every child has a right to access educational resources and opportunities to prepare them for success. Unfortunately, the pandemic has further increased the achievement gap in our schools and there are many children that are still struggling academically as a result. Our district needs to ensure that students can thrive by setting a high standard of academic excellence through quality instruction and opportunities for all students.

Mental Health and Special Education Support

The reality is that more and more students are exhibiting learning, behavioral and emotional problems and the pandemic has only exasperated this reality. Students across all demographics have suffered and we need to advocate for these students and provide comprehensive approaches to give each student what they need emotionally and academically so they can succeed. Our teachers and staff need the tools and resources to assess and help our students so they can feel safe and supported at school in order to work up to their individual potential. Providing comprehensive Mental Health and Special Education services help address barriers to learning and provide supports to students to help them achieve in school and life.

Equity and Inclusion

Equity and inclusion in education is about providing equal access to curriculum and programming for all students within an educational setting. I believe that it is a vital aspect of education since it provides all students with a fair and equal chance of succeeding in school. It not only relates to ethnicity or race, but also includes students with disabilities and with different sexual orientations or gender identities. I am proud to have been a part of implementing our districts Racial Equity Resolution and I will continue to advocate for Equity and Inclusion in our schools. I believe that when students feel safe, supported, seen and heard, they will be more successful academically, socially, and emotionally.

Fiscal Responsibility

I believe that it is important to plan ahead and be fiscally responsible in order for a school district to be successful now and into the future. Our districts fund balance has grown substantially in the past four years that I have been on the School Board, and I am proud of the work we have done with our finances. Although the pandemic had a negative impact on our finances, we have made great strides since then and are planning ahead for our district’s growth, while still remaining fiscally responsible. I believe that we need to continue to work together as a district and as a community to ensure that our tax dollars are spent wisely and are benefiting our children’s education and well-being.

School Board Assignments image
  • Treasurer of South Washington County School Board
  • Director of Northwest Metro 916 Intermediate School District School Board
  • Policy Review Committee
  • Special Education Advisory Committee
  • Personnel Committee
  • Director of South Washington County School Board
  • Clerk of South Washington County School Board
  • City of Woodbury Committee
  • Minnesota State High School League
  • Youth Advisory Committee
  • Parent Ambassadors Committee


Donation Amount

  •  10/15/2023 01:30 PM - 10/15/2023 03:00 PM
  •   Edgewater Park, Woodbury, MN, USA

Come meet me and the other ISD 833 School Board candidates being endorsed by Woodbury for Justice and Equality.

  •  11/7/2023 07:00 AM - 11/7/2023 08:00 PM
  •   Find Your Voting Location:

Helpful info so you can do your Civic Duty and vote.

  •  10/1/2023 01:00 PM - 10/1/2023 03:00 PM
  •   6873 Odell Ave S Hastings MN 55033

This event is an opportunity to meet me and the other candidates being endorsed by OutFront Minnesota. The event is family friendly and there will be alpacas and rabbits that kids (and grown-ups) can visit. There will also be activities set up for kids who attend.

  •  9/17/2023 02:00 PM - 9/17/2023 04:00 PM
  •   Jerry's Foods in Woodbury, Room 2

This Meet and Greet is an opportunity to meet me and ask any questions that you may have.

United Teachers of South Washington County- UTSWC

United Teachers of South Washington County- UTSWC


I am honored to be endorsed for a second term on the South Washington County School Board by UTSWC, which is our district's teacher's union. The United Teachers of South Washington County is a local union serving the educators of South Washington County Schools. Their union provides resources and services to over 1,300 members. The UTSWC is affiliated with Education Minnesota, National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO. Thank you SoWashCo teachers! You are the reason that our school district is so excellent and desired!

Read More
Woodbury for Justice and Equality

Woodbury for Justice and Equality


I am extremely honored to b endorsed by W4J&E! Their Mission is to learn about systemic inequalities and racial injustices in our community in order to seek solutions to change the status quo. Their Vision is to have a Woodbury where everyone has an equal opportunity and feels welcomed. You can read my response to their equity question on their website at

Read More
OutFront Minnesota

OutFront Minnesota


I am so honored to be endorsed by OutFront Minnesota and proud to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community! OutFront Minnesota is deeply committed to making Minnesota a state that is equitable and affirming for all LGBTQ people, and I am deeply committed to making sure our ISD 833 schools are inclusive and a safe place for ALL our students.

Read More



I am honored to be supported by 833Strong! 833Strong states that "Whatever their race, income, or genders, our children deserve an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, & freedom to pursue our dreams". 833Strong supports school board candidates who are committed to preparing our children for their futures in a diverse and evolving world, and I am passionate about ensuring our schools continue to prioritize and enforce equity and inclusion policies and procedures.

Read More