Executive Director Sara Gjerdrum


Sara Gjerdrum was hired as executive director of Education Minnesota in November 2014. 

Prior to that, Gjerdrum spent seven years with the National Education Association as a national field staff, working primarily with the states of Illinois, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin. In her national field work, Gjerdrum worked in a combination of right-to-work and non-right-to-work states, states with and without collective bargaining, and states with large and small membership numbers. 

Gjerdrum returned to Education Minnesota when she was hired in 2014. Previously she had served 11 years as a field manager, four years as a field staff and four years as a local leader. As a third generation teacher, Gjerdrum taught high school German and mathematics for 18 years. Her parents were both teachers in Burnsville prior to retirement and her grandmother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Preble Township near Mabel, Minnesota. 

Sara gained organizing and advocacy experience during her years of teaching at Hill-Murray High School, where she and her colleagues fought to organize the first union in a Catholic school in Minnesota. Their efforts took more than four years and landed before the Minnesota Supreme Court, where an historic decision gave all teachers in private schools in Minnesota the right to organize and collectively bargain.


  • Bachelor of Science in German
  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
  • Masters of Arts in Second Languages & Curriculum


Gjerdrum and her husband, Charles Olson, live in St. Paul with their two college-age children, Kalkidan and Bereket, who were both born in Ethiopia. Sara is also the manager of their century family farm near Mabel.

Email address