Skip to main content

Mary Ricker to resign as Minnesota's education commissioner

She is being replaced by deputy commissioner Heather Mueller.
Mary Ricker.

Mary Ricker.

Minnesota's education commissioner Mary Ricker has announced she will resign effective April 1, with her replacement already announced by Gov. Tim Walz.

In an announcement from the governor's office, it says that Ricker resigned on Monday and that she's stepping down to spend more time in the classroom with Minnesota students. You can read her resignation letter here.

Taking her place will be deputy commissioner Heather Mueller, whose appointment was confirmed by Walz on Tuesday.

Mueller, who has a 24-year career in education that started at Mankato Area Public Schools in August 1997, spent 11 years as a classroom teacher and has held numerous positions within the Minnesota Department of Education.

"I am proud to appoint Heather Mueller as Commissioner of the Department of Education,” said Governor Walz. “Heather is deeply committed to the success of our students, families, and schools, and there is no better person to lead our state at this critical moment."

“It is an honor to step into the role of Commissioner of Education and to continue serving our students, families, educators, state librarians, and school communities,” said Deputy Commissioner Mueller.

"Minnesota’s students and teachers have shown resiliency and perseverance this past year, and I look forward to partnering with our school communities to meet their diverse needs as we recover from this pandemic and continue building the best education system in the nation for each and every student in Minnesota.”

Ricker resigns after arguably the most challenging year for education in recent memory, with schools having to switch to distance learning following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are only now resuming in-person classes with any regularity.

Her tenure has been praised by teaching union Education Minnesota, whose president Denise Specht says she "speaks to teachers like a teacher."

"I remember that first news conference after COVID-19 closed the school buildings. She was calming, grounded and inspirational," she said. "She made educators feel like they could make the unprecedented transition to distance learning during a health crisis in a week. It was just what educators needed to hear."

Next Up

Alejandro Rios and Michael Steward

Reward offered for information on 2021 double fatal shooting in St. Paul

It's been a year since Alejandro Rios and Michael Stewart were found dead on the sidewalk.

Peyton Manning John Randle Twitter

What was Peyton Manning doing in Minnesota?

It's apparently for an upcoming episode of his TV show, "Peyton's Place."

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 25

The test positivity rate has dropped for the first time since before Christmas.

liz collin wcco youtube screengrab

Liz Collin reveals she is leaving WCCO

"Thank you for trusting me to tell your stories," she wrote in Tuesday's announcement.

jimmy john's rochester antimask rant guy

Video: Man harasses Jimmy John's workers, wishes death on them over mask mandate

"When are you going to start using that brain inside of your head," the man asks.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines

Michigan writer: 'Don't count out the Vikings' on Jim Harbaugh

Are the Vikings a dark horse to hire Michigan's head coach?

st louis park shooting 1

St. Louis Park PD release photos of vehicle involved in shooting on I-394

A man was shot multiple times as he drove down I-394 last week.


Perfect 10: Gophers gymnasts make history with two perfect scores

Mya Hooten and Ona Loper were literally perfect on Monday night.

Dean Evason

Tempers flare as Wild hammer Canadiens

Montreal was anything but polite after the Wild picked up an 8-2 victory.


Governor Tim Walz

Governor Walz to announce 'sweeping' education plan Monday

The governor will address Minnesota at 2 p.m. Monday.

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 9.58.10 AM

Gov. Tim Walz appoints new DHS commissioner

Former commissioner Tony Lourey resigned last month.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 9.47.41 AM

DHS commissioner Tony Lourey announces shock resignation

His department has been under increased scrutiny this past week.

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 12.22.58 PM

Met Council chairwoman to resign after just 10 months

She cited health as the reason behind her decision.


Coronavirus: Gov. Walz reveals plans for 2020-21 school year

The governor issued the state's long-awaited guidance Thursday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2020-08-07 at 4.30.49 PM

Burnsville educator named Minnesota teacher of the year

Hassan is the second teacher from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district to receive the award.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Minnesota schools to stay closed for rest of academic year

Distance learning will remain in place until the summer break.