Deb Henton
North Branch Area Public Schools

When I received a phone call from Gary Amoroso letting me know I had been selected as the MASA Superintendent of the Year, one of my first thoughts was that the honor belonged not just to me but to many, including the students, staff, school board, and communities that make up North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS), and my fellow administrative colleagues!

Stakeholders in my school district have worked hard to be good ambassadors for our school district even during the most difficult times. Failed elections, budget reductions, declining enrollment; these are not new to us. Yet we have managed to put the right people at the table to create programming that allows our students rigor and choice. Every one of the individuals who worked through these issues shares in this award with me. Without them, our vision would have stalled. Instead, we continue to move forward in NBAPS, “inspiring dreams, building hope, and instilling integrity in our students, our staff and our communities.”

My MASA colleagues share in this award as I have sought advice, support, comfort, and wisdom from so many of you. I have listened carefully to your successes, your challenges, your ideas, and adapted what I could to my leadership style, or to the needs of my school district. I hope I always focus on the achievement, safety, and security of students first as you do.  I hope I listen as well as you do. I hope I communicate vision with clarity as you do.  I hope that I display integrity in all things as you do.  I could not be more thankful than to work with colleagues like you. I trust you and believe in all you do for Minnesota’s children.

This award has resulted in so many congratulatory messages from those I have crossed paths with during my career. I am grateful for every email, card and flower I have received.  All of those who reached out have brought joy and caused me to reflect on my leadership story.

I am humbled that the selection committee believes I have earned a place next to all past Superintendents of the Year from our great state. I will do my best to represent well all those who came before me and those that will come after as I serve as your Superintendent of the Year.

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