James Farnsworth (he/him/his) is a committed advocate for the students, families, teachers, and staff of Saint Paul. As a proud graduate of SPPS and the son of two longtime public school teachers, James has a deep knowledge of the challenges facing the district and a proven track record of forming diverse coalitions to tackle complex issues. 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. He knows what it takes to be a responsible steward and strong champion of Saint Paul Public Schools.

As a student at the University of Minnesota, James jumped into the shared governance system after developing a strong passion for student representation and involvement in high school. He served the student body as a two-term Student Senator, Communications Director and Chief of Staff for the undergraduate student government, Executive Vice President and Provost Search Committee member, and in a variety of other capacities, always with the goal of ensuring that student voice and perspective was persistently represented. 

Outside of the University of Minnesota, James has had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of other community volunteer roles where he's refined his skills in strategic planning, public relations, community engagement, communications, relationship building, listening, critical analysis, and resource gathering to support those who are the most in need. 

He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Highland Business Association, an organization whose mission is to promote, support, and represent the Highland Park business community. In that role he also serves as the Chair of the Southwest Business Coalition, a group of district councils, business associations, chambers of commerce, and other local organizations that have come together to collaborate on economic development, business education, and community engagement in Saint Paul. 

An ardent supporter of the Twin Cities restaurant scene, James lives in the Summit-University neighborhood of Saint Paul, right down the street from the Rondo Complex and Martin Luther King Recreation Center with three roommates: Julia, Sam, and Vivian, all proud alumni of Saint Paul Public Schools.

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