Dr. Larry Guggisberg
Retired Superintendent
Greenbush Middle River School District
Polaris Leadership Award Recipient

Dr. Larry Guggisberg Receives MASA Polaris Leadership Award

MASA has named Dr. Larry Guggisberg, Retired Superintendent of Greenbush Middle River School District, the recipient of the 2023 MASA Polaris Leadership Award. Dr. Guggisberg 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 2023 MASA Fall Conference, October 7-8, in Duluth, MN.

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, Dr. Guggisberg 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.

“This award is a testament to Dr. Guggisberg’s unwavering commitment to students and his exceptional leadership throughout his career,” said MASA Executive Director Dr. Deb Henton. “There is no doubt that Dr. Guggisberg’s dedication to his schools and community has made a positive impact on all students. We are proud to recognize Larry as a true beacon of leadership in the field of education.”

Dr. Guggisberg has served Minnesota’s students and public schools for 44 years, first as a teacher for eight years and then as an administrator for 36 years. He dedicated 31 years to Roseau Community Schools as a high school assistant principal, elementary school principal, and 19 years as superintendent. Prior to his retirement at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year, Dr. Guggisberg spent four years as the interim superintendent of the Greenbush Middle River School District. He began his career in public education as a middle school social studies teacher for the Grand Rapids School District.

During his time in Greenbush Middle River, Dr. Guggisberg led the passage of a voter-approved operating referendum in fall 2021, successful pre-K-12 educational and co-curricular programming, and navigated the district through $450,000 of budget reductions in 2021-2022 due to declining enrollment and limited state funding. Under his tenure, Dr. Guggisberg provided leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic, which included in-person learning throughout the 2019-2022 school years.

After 31 years, Dr. Guggisberg left a legacy at Roseau Community Schools. Several of his accomplishments include the development and implementation of a district-wide and community-based strategic plan, leading the passage of two per pupil unit operating referendums and two operating referendum renewals, which also included additional per pupil funding, and the successful rollout of the district’s “All Day Every Day Kindergarten” program in 2012-13, prior to state required implementation. Under Dr. Guggisberg’s leadership, Roseau successfully launched four ongoing district-wide technology initiatives: teacher & student laptops, district-wide classroom interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, an iPad pilot project, and a 1:1 mobile device program for grades 5-12.

During his time as an active MASA member, Dr. Guggisberg served on the MASA Board of Directors and on the Legislative and Nominating committees. He received the 2006 MASA Administrator of Excellence Award representing Region 8. Beyond MASA, Dr. Guggisberg’s professional memberships have included the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA), MN Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP), Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA), Minnesota Rural Community Leadership Program (MNRCLP), and the Roseau Lions Club

Dr. Guggisberg was inducted into the Bemidji State University Professional Educators Hall of Fame in April 2009. He also received the 1992 MASSP Assistant Principal of the Year.

Dr. Guggisberg received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Dakota. He earned a master’s and education specialist degrees from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and a bachelor’s in Social Studies from Bemidji 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.

Leave a Reply