|Address||1416 Carney Avenue |
Mankato, Minnesota 56001, United States
|| July 15, 1944
|Contributor||The Oncoming Storm|
Nov 14, 2017 02:50am
|Info||Kathy Brynaert served as the board's chairperson. |
My father emigrated from Belgium as a child, post WWI. My mother was born in the city of Detroit, the eldest child of first generation Irish and Norwegian immigrants. Their lives stand at the extreme of mine. I was born before the early edge of the baby boom. It was 1944 and WWWII was still on. My father died on the fields of France when I was less than two months old. My mother, on the other hand, four times a widow, lived to be 85 (although I don’t believe she had a clue about her age as she was in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s) and died here in Mankato at the Lutheran Home.
I grew up in the heart of working class neighborhoods in the city of Detroit. My maternal grandfather was a smoke stack inspector for Detroit Edison. My paternal grandfather worked in a cannery. My mother worked a wide variety of secretarial and temp jobs until she decided she needed to use her teaching license in order to support her family. I was the second of six children of three fathers, very aware of both poverty and racial conflict. At the same time, I grew up in a strong religious tradition and in a family that believed in sharing what we had and giving back to others. There were often guests at our table and the discussion was often political.
Other than summers with my grandmother, my first experience living in a small town was college in Winona MN. I started studying math and physics there and ended up with a degree in philosophy with minors in English and theology—go figure! Shortly after that, I met my husband, Tony Filipovitch, in Ann Arbor, MI and we headed to graduate school in Pittsburgh where I earned my master’s in philosophy and did two years of doctoral work. With many stops along the way, we landed in Mankato in 1978 and the rest is history, as they say. We’ve birthed and raised three daughters here. They are all in various stages of post secondary education as well as various quarters of the revolving door that opens to our home.
My employment history has been varied: Since 1999 I’ve worked part time for the Council for Health Action and Promotion as the Director of Parent Education. B.C. (Before Children) I taught philosophy and worked at a range of other jobs including office clerk, bank teller, waitress, bookkeeper and editor. After children I became a “stay-at-home’ Mom who rarely stayed at home, but, instead got involved.
Shortly after we moved to Mankato’s Lincoln neighborhood, I walked down the block and volunteered at the Mankato Food Cooperative. And it escalated from there. I have a very long list of community credentials, most centered on children, families and education. I’ve often said that I walked into school holding my children’s hands; they let go, moved on and left me behind. As a parent I did everything from playground and lunchroom volunteer through referendum committees and the Chamber Business Education Committee.
Eventually I ran for school board and have served almost three terms, the last three years as board chair. In that time I’ve worked diligently at both the local and state levels in the areas of Legislation, Assessment, Negotiations and Leadership. I serve as vice-chair for the South Central Service Cooperative Board and sit on the state committee for the North Central Association, a regional and international K-12 accrediting arm. I was a founding member of Mankato Area Healthy Youth and have been an active member of Downtown Kiwanis for the past eleven years. In addition to my school board work, I currently serve on a United Way Vision Council, Mankato Area Healthy Youth Evaluation Committee, the 100 Best Communities Committee, the Envision 2020 Transportation Group and have worked collaboratively with a number of community nonprofits to build coalitions and address youth and community issues.
I was recognized in 2002 as a Minnesota School Board Association All-State School Board member as well as a YWCA Woman of Distinction. In 2003 I received the Chamber’s Hap Halligan Award. And in 2005 I was honored with an Outstanding Service Award from the Minnesota Regional Service Agency.