Annual 2016 MSBA Leadership Conference held in Minneapolis
Red Lake School Board Member Roy Nelson Honored at Recognition Luncheon
The 2016 MSBA (Minnesota School Boards Association) Leadership Conference was held January 14-15, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This was a two-day conference and free to all MSBA members,
MSBA provides this free conference every January as part of members' annual dues. The conference featured nationally recognized speakers, workshops on a variety of topics, a Show and Tell exhibit and a trade show. Early Bird Sessions were provided in the evening before the conference.
The opening keynote speaker was Jim Bearden who presented "Unleashing the Heroes in Your Midst" which explained specific steps leaders can take to improve workplace relations, efficiency and overall success.
He had a six-step process school board members could use to create a culture that reinforces and supports behavior essential to their school district's success. His first and most important step is to ensure that others understand what you expect from them..
His book, "The Relentless Search for Better Ways" encourages people in leadership positions to facilitate collaborative processes with an eye toward finding ways to improve upon the status quo.
Bearden's advice for school board members was that they should be willing to consider and try alternatives to the status quo in order to sustain a collaborative culture.
The closing keynote speaker was Yong Zhao. He wants school boards to stop comparing and worrying about standardized test scores, and instead offer a broad and flexible curriculum that allows education to emphasize the strengths of each and every child.
His main focus is improving student success by ending common, homogenous and standardized educational experiences; pushing teaching creativity; and shifting from employee-orientated education to entrepreneur-oriented education.
Zhao believes that school board members, as publicly elected officials, have the right and obligation to help modify those policies that mandate many of the standardized testing policies, to become mover meaningful and productive, instead of harmful to students.
In an MSBA Journal article, Zhao stated that focusing on math and science ends up with districts that cut music, art and other important subjects, and discriminate against students who may be strong in those areas. School boards need to think about allocating resources to make sure the schools create enough opportunities for everyone to succeed in their own way and pursue their own talents.
Skills Sessions were held on Thursday morning. They included Board Chair Q & A with MSBA; MSBA's Political Outlook for the 2016 Legislative Session; Critical Choices in the Superintendent's Contract; and The Open Meeting Law.
School Districts from across the state presented Show and Tell Sessions following the General Assembly. Presenting schools included Alexandria Area School District – Academies of Alexandria; Anoka-Hennepin School District – Welding; Crosby-Ironton School District – Maker Campus: More Than Just a Space; Kasson-Mantorvile School District – Technovation; Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District – Academic Decathlon; Minneapolis School District – Minnesota Career and Technical Health Science Education; Nashwauk-Keewatin School District – Shop and Engineering; New London-Spicer School District – Girls Wanted; Osakis School District – Hakuna Matata-Means No Worries; Waconia School District – Plate to Compost; Warren-Alverado-Oslo School District – Responsibility Honor Roll; Watertown-Mayer School District – Transitional Possibilities and Royal's Way; Waubun-Ogema-White Earth School District – Our Four-Year-Old Every Day, All-Day "Kick Start" Early Learning Model; White Bear Lake Area School District – Student Tech Depot; and Winona Area Public Schools – Nicaraguan Book Project.
The Waubun-Ogama-White Earth School District successfully created an everyday, all-day four-year-old program that utilized multiple financial resources, has developed strong community collaboration, has high-quality curricul;um and staff, and has a new construction facility. During their presentation they shared their journey to success.
During the Recognition Luncheon held that afternoon, awards were presented and members were recognized for their achievements.
The MSBA 2016 All-State School Board was recognized. They are Roy Nelson of Red Lake; Spencer Yohe of Caledonia Area; Rick Lijegren of Esko; Jason Engbrecht of Faribault; Ann Bremer of Intermediate #287 & Westonka; James DeVries of Mahnomen and Mary Romansky of Shakopee.
Districts receiving District Awards of Distinction were Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville-Eagen-Savage, Cambridge-Isanti, East Central and Grand Rapids. This is awarded to a school district having a majority of board members who have received a Directors' or President's Award.
The Arlene Bush Board Member of Distinction Award was presented to Red Lake School District's Roy Nelson. This award is presented to members who have reached 1,000 hours or more of MSBA training programs. Nelson is the third member in the history of MSBA to have received this award. The award is in honor of former Bloomington School Board Member Arlene Bush, who amassed nearly 1,300 career MSBA training points and was the first member to cross the 1,000 mark in 2010.
The Minnesota Association of School Administrators presented Superintendent Daniel Bittman of Sauk Rapids-Rice School District with the 2016 Superintendent of the Year Award.
MSBA Service Awards for 30 Years of Service went to Arnold Michalicek of Maple Lake and Bruce Jorgenson of Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
20-Year MSBA Service Awards were presented to Dennis Hasskamp, Bill McGeary, Clarice Sever, Thomas Seaworth, Jerry Anderson, Clifford Schilling, Scott Kellerman, Nicholas Citterman, Leo Irlbeck, Bob Quam, David Ruen, Ann Hendricks, Larry Sokoloski, Cindy Meling, Dennis Havlicek, Dick Lewis, Tom Grunderman, Steve Odegard, Tim Geisler, Jan Solarz, Tim Helmer and Don Brugman.
The President's Award is given to those members who have attended 300 hours or more of MSBA training programs. Receiving those awards were Brian Knight, Lori Berg, Ray Marsnik, John Berklich, Nancy Bertand, James DeVires, Patty Stangl, Gary Moorhouse, Heidi Jones, Rodney Huttunen, Robert Mathias, Ann Pate and Tia Grutkoski.
Other awards presented included the Director's Award, awarded to members who have attended 100 hours or more of MSBA programs; and Leadership Development Certificates for members who have completed Phases I-II-III.
There were almost 100 workshops available during the two-day conference, ranging from Discipline Scenarios, Transgender Status as a Protected Status, Early Childhood Alignment, Technology, Worlds Best Workforce, Board/Superintendent Relations, to Zeroing out Zero Tolerance, just to mention a few.
Hundreds of exhibits were on display in the Minneapolis Convention Center as well, featuring school busses, health and wellness, electronics, insurance, employee benefits, synthetic turf, architecture, engineering, technology, food service management, workplace security and management, education law and many more.
Founded in 1920, the Minnesota School Boards Association is the leading advocate for public education by supporting, promoting and strengthening the work of public school boards. It is the eighth-oldest school board organization in the United States.
The MSBA Board of Directors is comprised of one representative from each of the MSBA Director Districts, plus the President, and alternating terms of a President-Elect in the even year, and a Past President in the odd year. MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind is an ex officio member of the Board of Directors.
To learn more about MSBA visit their Website: http://www.mnmsba.org/