MEET THE NEWLY ELECTED WARD 2 COUNCILWOMAN, ELEANOR PARDINI.
Photo by: Fresh Art Photography
Why did you run for office?
Public service and civic engagement were built into my childhood and how I grew up. My mom was an early literacy teacher in public schools and my dad was a career officer in the Air Force. When I was young we moved several times, lived both on and off base, and experienced my dad’s frequent tours of duty. Family life for us was steeped in close-knit community and service to community and country. Since moving to Maplewood, I have become passionate about how important local government is for our daily lives. I have committed to learning how our municipality works and deepening my civic engagement. I participated in Maplewood Citizen's Academy and served on the Maplewood Sustainability Commission. I am excited to see more different kinds of folks getting involved in local office. I am energized by the possibilities of working in partnership with neighbors, city staff, and our school district. I hope to use some of my analytical and community engagement skills in this role. I will strive to approach all my work with a social justice and racial equity lens.
Please tell us about your professional background and current employment. I am a plant ecologist by trade and have long experience in and passion for teaching. I am a Senior Lecturer and Assistant Director of Environmental Studies at Washington University. In this role I teach classes on ecology and the environment to college students and high school biology teachers, and work on curriculum and course design and evaluation. I mentor students on courses, careers, and teaching. I often collaborate with people from different parts of campus and I seek many voices and stories to be part of conversations. In my work as a scientist, I specialize in rare plants and how to restore healthy ecosystems where plants and animals thrive. My passion for environmental stewardship has extended to advocating for preserving county parks, gardening with native plants, and working on Sustainability Commission and in partnership with organizations like the St. Louis Audubon Society. I volunteer in my kids’ classrooms, for Color Brave, and for the MRH ECC PTO when I can, and I serve in volunteer leadership for We Stories.
Tell us how long you have lived in Maplewood and about your family. We have been in St. Louis for almost 13 years and Maplewood for almost four years. We have two kiddos who attend the MRH Early Childhood Center and New Destiny Childcare Center right here in Maplewood. My mom recently relocated to Maplewood and she and our kiddos love getting to share daily life experience with each other!
What do you like most about Maplewood? I was drawn here in large part because of the values that our school district lives and leads by: scholarship, leadership, stewardship, and citizenship. Their values and practice around civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and social justice and equity resonate deeply with me. I love that Maplewood has the feel of a small town with accessibility to almost everything. I love our vibrant business district, walkability, our local parks and recreation options, and all my friends, neighbors, and found family who have so much heart, soul, and passion!