Updated: 5:17 p.m. | Posted: 1:15 p.m.
Former State Rep. Sandra Peterson died Saturday. She was 79.
Peterson is a former teacher who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2004. She announced her retirement from the Legislature in 2012 citing health concerns.
"Rep. Sandra Peterson was a dedicated educator and legislator. She cared deeply about better educational opportunity for all children," Gov. Dayton said in a statement.
Peterson is a former president of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers and a former co-president of Education Minnesota. She helped guide the merger of the state's two largest teachers unions.
"Sandra was the kind of leader we all hope to be - kind, approachable, smart and firm when necessary. She was a courageous, visionary leader," said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.