On Sunday, August 25, influential Somali business leader and groundbreaking Minneapolis Board of Education Director Hussein Samatar died of complications from leukemia. He was 45.
In 2010, Samatar became the first Somali-American ever elected to public office in Minnesota when he won a seat on the Minneapolis Board of Education. Samatar served on the audit, finance and teaching and learning committees.
A native of Somalia, Samatar provided a strong voice for all MPS students, especially immigrant students and children of immigrant parents. During his tenure, MPS began collecting academic results for English learners. As a result, academic data and information are now available in four languages: English, Somali, Spanish and Hmong. Samatar was also co-chair of the referendum committee that won approval for the $60 million schools levy in 2008.
A fierce community advocate, Samatar founded the African Development Center, an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization that works within the African communities in Minnesota to start and sustain businesses, build wealth and promote community investment.
Samatar is survived by his wife, Ubah, and four children. Funeral services for family and friends took place on August 26, at 1 pm at Burnsville Masjid, 1351 Riverwood Dr., Burnsville, MN 55337. Minneapolis Public Schools and AchieveMpls are working together to establish a fund for the Samatar family.
This information was provided by Minneapolis Public Schools.