Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday announced a series of appointments to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.
Heidi Hahn was one of the 11 appointments to the board. Hahn is the director of special education for the Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative.
Hahn said she was honored and excited to accept the appointment. It is her first time serving on a state government board or commission.
"I'm very passionate about what the work ahead will be," Hahn said.
Hahn applied for the opening because of the teacher shortage hampering school districts throughout the state. The shortage is affecting Brainerd, she said, by creating a lack of special education teachers.
"There just seems to be so many barriers for teachers getting licensing in the state," Hahn said. "Especially teachers that are coming from another state."
The state is trying to streamline the licensing process, Hahn said, and she wants to help create a more seamless system. There are extra tests and certifications for special education teachers, she said, and she wants to make the certification system easier for them to navigate. She wants to work to remove barriers to certification for qualified teachers from other states coming to Minnesota.
"We've had many teachers who have tried to apply in the state and find out that their license won't be accepted," Hahn said. "Even though they have 20 years of experience and they have to do more testing or more education."
Hahn will fill a seat as an administrator of a cooperative unit who oversees a special education program. Her term runs from Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 1, 2020.