Dr. Deb Henton
Executive Director

I have the pleasure of traveling across the state to attend both virtual and in person meetings with our members, and to represent MASA as the leading voice for public education in Minnesota. No matter the meeting format, I leave knowing that your leadership matters and the importance of focusing on the good work of our members.

At a recent meeting with our colleagues who are also members of the Lakes Country Service Cooperative, I participated in an activity that I share with you as something you may want to do with your staff. Executive Director Jeremy Kovash asked us to turn to our elbow partner and discuss ways in which we share gratitude with others. An easy assignment that resulted in powerful stories. Here is what was revealed:

  • Most of us have been to a meeting where the presenter suggests we send a text to someone who has helped us personally or professionally. One of the superintendents shared that he sent off the suggested text and shortly thereafter heard from the recipient who, prior to receiving the text, had seriously contemplated suicide. Powerful affirmation of a simple task. Let’s all send a similar text today!
  • A superintendent “required” some of his support staff to hang around at a potluck celebration rather than hurrying back to their work. It took awhile, but those conscientious staff were able to relax and feel gratitude for the job they do. Maybe that taking time to relax applies to some of us?
  • Popcorn from the concession stand is a surprise treat from one superintendent who makes a batch to share with staff who are delighted with the unexpected snack!
  • Hand-written personal notes are still valued. One superintendent provides school district notecards to his staff who share personal notes with others whether students or staff. They are always welcome-let’s all write one today!
  • Another superintendent has given his immediate family members money on Thanksgiving Day with the requirement they pay it forward, keep their actions secret and report back on Christmas Eve as to what they did with the money. 

The executive director shared how touched and proud he was when he did the same activity with his three sons. A community member let him know the impact that his son had when a fire took the family home and the executive director’s son gave him the money he had been gifted. 

I will be doing this activity with my family and look forward to hearing how they share their money. Maybe you want to try this, too?

In the long days of winter ahead I know you will lead with positivity and gratitude. If you have member highlights for me to share either in a newsletter article or via my Henton Headlines, please send them to me. Our members are what makes MASA great!

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