Salma Hussein makes history as first female Somali principal in Burnsville

CBS News
By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

Burnsville, Minn. School just started and already a Twin Cities principal has made history.

Salma Hussein is the first female Somali principal in her district and believed to be the first in the state.

It’s lunch time at Gideon Park Elementary in Burnsville and Principal Hussein is laughing, smiling and assisting her K4-5th grade students.

“I was nervous and what made it amazing was just connecting with the students,” said Hussein.

And Hussein connects with the kids – in a very deep way. She moved to Minneapolis as a child, and like like 40% of the students at her Burnsville school, she is Somali.

She says when she looks at her students she sees herself.

“Many of these kids are coming from Chancellor Manor which really resembles the public housing townhomes I grew up in. So it is just really incredible to see the kids…to see the parents,” she said.

Her connections are clear: student after student told WCCO they like their new principal.

Hussein started the school year with henna on her hands. “In my culture we get henna done on special occasions. And back to school is a big occasion,” she said.

“I really see a combination of passion and purpose,” Hussein said. She has a vision in her soul, and is sharing her knowledge with her students. She is the mother of two kids who will join her at her new school.

Hussein graduated from the University of Minnesota with her masters, and her last job was as an assistant principal at Central High School in St. Paul.