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Valley View gym named in honor of Manderfeld

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.
Valley View gym named in honor of Manderfeld

The Edina School Board approved the naming of a gymnasium in honor of retiring administrator Mary Manderfeld at last night’s meeting. The Valley View Middle School south gym is now the Mary Manderfeld Gymnasium. The request to name the gym in her honor was brought to district administration in October by Edina High School alumnus and current economics teacher, Steve Cullison.

Manderfeld has been Director of Enrollment, School Improvement and Equity for more than 10 years. But it is just the latest in a list of roles and positions she has filled during her 33-year tenure with the district. Manderfeld has been a middle school physical education teacher, assistant athletic director, assistant principal and interim principal at Edina High School, and assistant director of administrative services. She was also head coach of Edina Girls’ Basketball for five years.

During her tenure, Manderfeld has led racial equity training, and this year has been the co-lead in the district’s efforts to provide meals to Edina families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her co-workers know her as a champion for students. “Mary has always advocated for students that were in difficult situations,” said a colleague. “She is a champion for underserved populations, for students with fewer financial means, for students struggling with their mental health, and for the students who can fall between the cracks.”

Cullison said that he brought this suggestion forward in recognition of Manderfeld’s years of “extraordinary service to our schools and community.” “In recent months I’ve talked to many who have commented on her positive influence on their work, careers and their lives,” he told the Board. “Her way has always been to shine a light on others.”

Naming a gymnasium for Manderfeld is also a nod to where she began her district tenure, as a Valley View physical education teacher, and her accomplishments on the basketball court. Manderfeld played for the U of M Gopher’s Women’s Basketball team for two seasons in 1979-81. She is #5 in all-time career blocks (129), and #6 in all-time career rebound average, and is a member of the Gopher Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Manderfeld has served on the board of Edina Give and Go, and is a principal officer for the Minneapolis Athena Awards, which honors outstanding female athletes. She is an Edina resident and parent of two EHS graduates.

A committee that included Valley View administrators, EHS administrators and athletic director, the superintendent and assistant superintendent, and the community member who made the request, met and reviewed the district policy governing the naming of facilities. The committee unanimously supported the idea and brought their recommendation to the School Board, which unanimously approved it.