The Mary McGough Award is the highest honor given by the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of education in Saint Paul Public Schools. Mary McGough was an original member of SPFT and began teaching in 1903. At nearly 60 years old, she was instrumental in the famous 1946 Saint Paul Teachers’ strike, speaking forcefully for the need to improve the standards for students and public education in Saint Paul.
This year, SPFT awarded the Mary McGough award to the Hmong Dual Language Teachers of Saint Paul Public Schools. Together, these teachers began the first Hmong Dual Language program in the United States in 2011. Their work included creating and translating every part of their curriculum — in every subject, in every grade — all classroom materials, and their entire classroom libraries. They have done this work out of love and dedication.
On top of the work of creating and running their program, HDL teachers also organized a campaign for fair compensation for translation and curriculum creation. They met with the district in a committee, came to the bargaining table, and sought to educate leadership on the needs of their program — what St. Paul Hmong Dual Language students deserve. Because of their work, they are finally beginning to receive compensation in our new contract.
For providing, always, a stellar education for the students of Saint Paul, and for fighting for fair working conditions for our educators, SPFT is proud present Hmong Dual Language Teachers of Saint Paul with this award.
The Educational Support Professional of the Year award was started in 2012 in recognition of member advocacy, involvement in the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, exceptional work with students, family and community and the enhancement of the Educational Support Professionals – Educational Assistants and School and Community Service Professionals – in Saint Paul Public Schools.
This year, SPFT awarded the ESP of the Year award to Yasmin Muridi, an Educational Assistant interpreter at Four Seasons Elementary, a member of SPFT’s Executive Board, and part of the bargaining team this past year. Yasmin has worked for ten years in Saint Paul, help building relationships between the public schools and parents, teaching her American coworkers how to be culturally aware, and helping new immigrants better understand American culture.
A member of the selection committee stated, “In her application, Yasmin included a quote from Shirley Chisholm that describes her perfectly: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” During bargaining, whatever needed to be said to the district, she said it. Whatever needs to be done at SPFT, she does it, and she brings others along with her. She is brave and bold. Yasmin is the present and the future of SPFT.”
For her dedication to working with families, her willingness to speak her mind, and her curiosity and dedication to learning, SPFT is proud to present Yasmin Muridi with the Educational Support Professional of the Year award.