Advisory Council

Office of Public Charter Schools Advisory Council

Pillsbury United Communities Advisory Council meets quarterly to review applications for new charter schools, review performance of current schools and provide direction regarding the Office of Public Charter Schools.  Members include:

Brandon Wait has been involved in the field of education for over twelve years. In this time he has expanded his knowledge by working in a variety of sectors including non-profits, public schools, juvenile corrections and social services. Since 2008 Brandon has worked with and supported the charter schools movement. His involvement spans from grass root efforts to advocating at the legislative level.

Mohamed Mohamud has over forty years in the education realm teaching East African students both within Somali and in Minneapolis.  Mohamed has been awarded multiple awards including from Human Rights Commissions, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, the Minneapolis Public Schools Parent Advisory Council and the East Side Neighborhood Association.  His extensive history serving East African parents and youth prompted him to establish and serve as the Executive Director of the Somali American Parent Association, a Minneapolis based non-profit organization.

Bruce Seal has been a teacher, an education administrator and mental health professional for 45 years.  In those years, he served as a general and special education teacher, and as a Director of Special Education for a Minnesota independent school district and for over 45 charter schools across the state. He began work with charter schools in 2002.  He assisted charter school directors and teachers in creating supportive services for families who seek improved education opportunities.  Since 2010, Bruce works at Designs for Learning as the Special Education Component Lead and have served on the Designs Leadership team since 2014.  Bruce is devoted to the development and implementation of special education and school support services to Minnesota charter schools. 

Amanda Lodermeier has been in education for nearly a decade. After having the privilege of working as a 2005 Teach for America teacher in Camden, NJ, Ms. Lodermeier moved back to Minneapolis to help open a South Minneapolis charter school where she served on both the leadership team and board of directors.  Taking a brief break from the classroom, Ms. Lodermeier worked as the Elementary Education Program Manager for Way to Grow, a Minneapolis non-profit focused on language-to-language, culture-to-culture home visiting. While working in the field of education, Ms. Lodermeier was inspired to learn more about local, national, and international best-practice. She studied global, international, and comparative education at Drexel University, where she received a Master’s of Science Degree in 2009. Currently, Ms. Lodermeier is serving as a 5th grade teacher and the Advanced Learner site lead at Andersen United, a Minneapolis Public School.

Lacy Lee Johnson is a senior solutions analyst in the Business Systems department of Xcel Energy. He has over 30 years of experience in various engineering, project management, and management positions. While CEO at UrbanEd, he advocated for Choice in Education and started up New Salem Elementary School, a charter school specifically designed to address the educational needs of at-risk students and their families.  As a longtime and proud resident of North Minneapolis, Lacy served as president of the Irving Terrace Block Club; trustee of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church; program director of Hospitality House Youth Directions; prison ministry volunteer for Amicus USA; Program Committee chairman for the Bloomington-Richfield chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity; and Marketing Committee chairman for the Twin Cities Chapter of BPDA.  He also wrote, produced, and hosted “The Flipside,” a weekly radio show as part of the award-winning Radio Theater for Black People on KUXL radio.

Ismail Ahmed works as an assistant director for curriculum & instruction at Ubah Medical Academy.  Before that, he served as a data & development coordinator and dean of academics at MN International Middle Charter School.  He previously taught social studies, served as a director of a charter school, and served on several boards that catered for a variety of community needs especially health, community development, and education. Ismail has a Master’s in leadership and organizational studies from the University of Southern Maine, an educational leadership and specialist degree from Concordia St. Paul; and currently a doctoral student at Concordia University St. Paul.

Brandie Burris-Gallagher is a policy director with Ed Allies, an education advocacy nonprofit which seeks to provide every student access to an excellent education. Brandie started her career in education as a second-grade teacher and education entrepreneur in Louisiana. After her time in the classroom, Brandie worked in education policy at the Louisiana Department of Education where she helped create and implement policies to turnaround the state’s low-performing schools. Most recently, Brandie served as the founding policy director to launch the Educators 4 Excellence chapter in Connecticut. Brandie now calls Minnesota home, and joined Ed Allies to lead its school choice and charter policy and advocacy. Brandie is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, majoring in public policy analysis.


Ad Hoc Members

Chanda Smith Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pillsbury United Communities.