Commissioner's Office

About Mary Cathryn Ricker 

A native of Hibbing, Mary Cathryn Ricker is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher with over a decade of classroom experience. She has taught in classrooms from St. Paul to St. Cloud, from Washington to South Korea to Yemen. She previously served as executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and as the president of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 28. Her teaching and leadership skills have been recognized with a number of other honors, including receiving the Education Minnesota Peterson-Schaubach Outstanding Leadership Award, qualifying as a semifinalist for the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, and serving as a featured contributor in the Annenberg Foundation's national professional development series, "Write in the Middle." She earned her undergraduate degree in English with a mathematics minor at the University of Saint Thomas, and completed her graduate work in Teacher Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Ricker’s husband teaches English language learners in the St. Paul Public Schools, and they have two children.

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About the Agency

The Minnesota Department of Education provides an excellent education for Minnesota students by striving for excellence, equity, and opportunity. They focus on closing the achievement gap, supporting high-quality teaching, using innovative strategies to improve educational outcomes, and ensuring all students graduate from high school well-prepared for college, career and life. The Minnesota Department of Education develops, builds, and maintains collaborative relationships with schools, districts, and other stakeholders through a wide variety of advisory boards, councils and committees.

Minnesota’s Commitment to Educational Equity

Educational equity is the condition of justice, fairness and inclusion in our systems of education so that all students have access to the opportunities to learn and develop to their fullest potentials. The pursuit of educational equity recognizes the historical conditions and barriers that have prevented opportunity and success in learning for students based on their races, incomes and other social conditions. Eliminating those structural and institutional barriers to educational opportunities requires systemic change that allows for distribution of resources, information and other support depending on the student’s situation to ensure an equitable outcome.

Equity is different from equality. Equity is a principle that is based upon justness and fairness, while equality demands everyone be treated at the same level.

The Minnesota Department of Education is committed to educational equity for all Minnesota students. See our Ten Minnesota Commitments to Equity.

  • MDE Executive Organizational Chart - 7/29/20
    Updated May 2020
  • State of Our Students - 8/29/19
    In an effort to display more data about Minnesota students, the Minnesota Department of Education created the State of Our Students report. The State of Our Students report is a first-of-its-kind compilation of multiple data, including 2019 accountability data from the North Star accountability system.