James Farnsworth (he/him/his) is a 2016 graduate of Saint Paul Public Schools. Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, he was placed in foster care from infancy and adopted by two longtime Minneapolis Public School teachers. Like so many Minnesotans, James has a rich and diverse ethnic heritage which includes most prominently: Indigenous Americas - Mexico, European Jewish, European, and African.
James has a deep knowledge of the challenges facing the district and a proven track record of forming diverse coalitions to uplift the experiences of BIPOC students. After serving on the SPPS Multicultural Ethnic Studies Stakeholder Group, he currently serves on the Critical Ethnic Studies Steering Committee alongside school board Directors Ellis and Vue. He's actively attended school board meetings over the years which has given him an incisive perspective and keen insight into process and governance of a large and complex institution with an over $600 million annual budget. Additionally, as an SPPS student, he started conversations that led to the creation of the Student Engagement and Advancement Board.
Professionally, he currently serves as the Executive Director of the Highland Business Association which represents the Highland Park business community. In that role he also serves as the Chair of the Southwest Business Coalition. In March 2021, he was elected by the Minnesota Legislature to serve a six year term on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, representing the 4th Congressional District. He also serves on the Board of Directors and Governance Committee of CAPI, an immigrant and refugee resource and service organization.