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MSBA wins NSBA Innovation Award


The Minnesota School Boards Association won the National School Boards Association (NSBA) 2016 Innovation Award today, in recognition of its innovative approach leading to enhanced leadership and association capacity, and renewed commitment to equity and diversity in student achievement.

"Creativity and innovation are vital components in the classroom, the boardroom, and as lifelong pursuits," said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. "MSBA took a creative approach to problem solving and critical thinking that is already making an impact within the association and its member districts, exemplifying a pathway toward enhanced member service and renewed student focus."

Visit to for a video highlighting MSBA's work.

MSBA President Kevin Donovan and MSBA President-Elect Kathy Green accepted the award on behalf of the association at NSBA's Summer Leadership Seminar on August 13 in Chicago.

"We are deeply honored to be the first recipient of the NSBA Innovation Award," said Donovan, who is a Mahtomedi School Board member. "Earning this prestigious award helps validate the MSBA Board of Directors' vision in enhancing our association for our membership."

Green, an Austin School Board member, added: "It is an honor for MSBA to be recognized for their work and endeavors to step up their exposure and infrastructure in order to meet the ever-changing and complex nature of public education. The opportunities for innovation are endless. We will continue to strive to be a leader - both at the state and national level."

Facing a growing diverse student population, and an achievement gap - currently among the widest in the nation - MSBA is working diligently to help build an education system that better meets the needs of all the children its school board members serve. Its strategic plan and new brand strategy significantly enhances its position as the go-to public education organization in the state. A key aspect of the association's equity and diversity focus are trainings offered to its school board members within the state.

Focusing its energy on preparing for the future, and with its renewed focus on equity and removing barriers to student learning, MSBA will be the proactive authority and educational partner for Minnesota school boards, and this will enhance public education in the state. MSBA's concerted focus on helping Minnesota school board member learn to lead will help them be ever more prepared to offer innovative solutions to improve educational opportunities to every school-aged child.

"We've taken a huge leap in what we're doing to help the association grow, and to build our infrastructure to make us a forward thinking, future thinking association that can better serve our members," said MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind. "We're very excited and appreciative of this recognition."

See for "MSBA: Where School Boards Learn to Lead," for video unveiling of MSBA's new logo and brand promise.

MSBA's future thinking strategy will be showcased in the upcoming digital supplement to the October issue of "American School Boards Journal,"NSBA's flagship magazine. An additional feature of winning the Innovation Award, Donovan will have an opportunity to make a difference outside of Minnesota. In January 2017, he will embark on a Lifetouch Memory MissionĀ® to the Dominican Republic and be part of a greater volunteer effort to build an elementary school that will serve hundreds of children in Constanza.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school board associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the United States. Learn more at

The Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) was founded in 1920 and is the eighth-oldest school boards association in the United States.


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