Minnesota needs more excellent leaders who want to be superintendents. But this is a newsletter and that’s not news. The news is that we have a great group of leaders who are considering the superintendency by participating in the 2021 Minnesota Aspiring Superintendents’ Academy.

For quite some time, we have had evidence that the “supply and demand” of qualified superintendents is an issue of concern, and we know from our own anecdotal evidence (and member data) here at MASA that turnover is still an issue for a lot of districts. So a little over five years ago, MASA, with the generous support of AASA and Sourcewell, began an initiative to address this growing need.

The 2021 Minnesota Aspiring Superintendents’ Academy began the weekend of March 26-27 with 37 participants, the largest of the three cohorts thus far. Participants are from throughout the state (22 from “Greater Minnesota” and 15 from the metro area). There are 20 women in the cohort and 17 men. 18 cohort members are currently principals, with the remaining members from a variety of professional practices, including assistant superintendents, finance directors, special education directors, and others.

Academy participants meet for ten program days throughout the year, focusing on developing a professional practice in the superintendency that is grounded in evidence-based knowledge, skills, and dispositions contributing to successful capstone leadership. Sessions are taught by experienced, effective school leaders and each participant is paired with a coach for guidance during the cohort and beyond. We are grateful to our coaches for this cohort:

Tamara Champa, Superintendent, Pine Island Public Schools

Jeff Elstad, Superintendent, Owatonna Public Schools

Reggie Engebritson, Superintendent, St. Louis County & Mountain Iron-Buhl Schools

Bill Gronseth, Superintendent, Saint Peter Public School District 

Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed, Superintendent, Hopkins Public Schools

Christopher Mills, Superintendent, Stephen-Argyle Central Schools

Astein Osei, Superintendent, St. Louis Park Public Schools

Scott Thielman, Superintendent, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools

The Academy will meet again in May, September, November, and January, and coaching groups will connect between sessions as needed. Congratulations to our participating colleagues, thanks to our coaches, and much appreciation to Sourcewell and AASA for this opportunity.

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