MASA has named David Krenz, Retired Superintendent of Austin Public Schools, the recipient of the 2021 MASA Polaris Leadership Award. Krenz will be honored for his exemplary school leadership and a lifetime of achievement in education and the wider community at a statewide recognition ceremony at the 2021 MASA Fall Conference, September 27-28.
Polaris, the “North Star,” themes this award because, just as exemplary administrators serve as definitive leaders, Polaris is constant and unmoving in the sky. A navigator’s benchmark, the star marks “true north,” the fundamental direction that defines east, west, and south. With this award, Krenz is recognized for qualities such as professional courage, creation of a legacy of excellent leadership, fostering innovation, contribution through example and mentoring, exemplary conduct reflecting integrity and bearing emulation, and significant tenure in each position supporting district vision and affecting positive change.
In a letter of support, Matt Hillman, Superintendent of Northfield Public Schools, and John Alberts, Executive Director of Education Services of Austin Public Schools wrote, “David Krenz is the correct selection for this year’s MASA Polaris Leadership Award. He has worked courageously to put students first, understood the symbiotic relationship that schools have with their community, and demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public education. In over 40 years of service to public education, David has left a legacy that is undeniable and he has never wavered in his view that public schools belong to the community.”
Krenz has 44 years of experience in education administration and teaching. He served as Superintendent of Austin Public Schools for 12 years. Prior to Austin Public Schools, Krenz was the Superintendent of Wabasha-Kellogg Public Schools and then the LaCrescent-Hokah Public Schools. Krenz has also served as a High School Principal and Director of Technology for Colby Public Schools, Pulaski Public Schools, and the Wausau School District in Wisconsin. He began his education career as a high school math and chemistry teacher.
Under Krenz’s leadership, Austin Public Schools has been successful in all areas of education and operations. The district has been a national leader in racial equity and has been highlighted for the community’s work in a February 2020 Star Tribune article. Austin as a community has been identified nationally as a “Welcoming Community” in response to its embrace of immigrant populations. Krenz has had a hand in this with his community support and leadership in APEX Austin, a community organization that works to make the community more equity-focused and welcoming for all.
As an academic institution, Krenz has led Austin Public Schools to focus on strong core instruction, science and technology, and ensuring the district’s students have a pathway to success after high school. A signature program under Krenz’s tenure has been the Austin Assurance Scholarship Program, which guarantees every Austin graduate, public or private, receives a two-year scholarship from the Riverland Community College.
Krenz has been an active member of MASA throughout his time as an administrator. He served on the MASA Board of Directors from 2010-2016 and has been a member of the Federal Advocacy, Legislative, and Nominating committees. Krenz has supported new superintendents through the MASA’s Region 1 mentoring program. Beyond MASA, Krenz represented his colleagues on the Minnesota State High School League Region 1AA committee and with Schools for Equity in Education (SEE).
Krenz’s community involvement has included the Hormel Foundation Board, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, and the Lions Club.
Krenz was the recipient of the 2019 Austin Rotary Volunteer of the Year Award, the 2013 MASA Regional Administrator of Excellence Award, and the 2010 Leadership Austin Alumni Award.
Krenz earned a master’s degree and 6th year certificate in Education Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Math and Chemistry from Winona State University.
MASA is grateful to Ehlers for their ongoing support of the Polaris Award. Ehlers is an independent municipal financial advisory company that has served public sector clients since 1955.