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Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

Gary Amoroso
MASA Executive Director

In real estate the phrase is “location, location, location.” I believe in education the phrase is “relationships, relationships, relationships.” As a person in a leadership position within a school district or other organization, it is imperative that you create and continually nurture the relationship that you have with colleagues, members of your community and others.  I’d like you think about a number of actions that you can take to build positive relationships.

Barbara Bray wrote an article entitled “12 Ways to Build Positive Relationships”. Following are examples of actions that Bray suggests you employ to build positive relationships:

  • Build Trust – Trust is the foundation of every good relationship. If you build trust, you can be open and honest with your thoughts and actions.
  • Develop Mutual Respect – When you respect people, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours.
  • Be Mindful – Mindfulness means taking responsibility for our words and actins. Those who are mindful are careful and attend to what they say, they don’t let their own negative emotions impact the people around them.
  • Welcome Diversity – People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them.
  • Schedule Time for Relationship Building – Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building.
  • Appreciate Others – Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. Everyone wants to feel that their work is appreciated.
  • Be Positive – Positivity is attractive and contagious, and it will help strengthen your relationships. When you have good relationships, you can also reach out to others when you are having a bad day.
  • Practice Active Listening – People respond to those who truly listen to what they have to say. Focus on listening more than you talk, and you’ll quickly become known as someone who can be trusted.

By practicing these actions, you can build and nurture positive relationships.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2019 MASA Fall Conference in Duluth. The conference will run Sunday evening, October 6th to Tuesday noon, October 8th. The MASA Foundation Golf Event will be held on Sunday, October 6th starting at noon. Registration materials are available at www.mnasa.org.

I hope each of you has a rewarding and successful 2019-2020 school year! Please ALWAYS remember that all of us at MASA are here to support and assist you! We are your professional organization and strive to meet and exceed your professional learning needs. Please contact us if we can be of service to you!

Thanks for all that you do!

Gary A.

Register Today! MASA Fall Conference


MASA Fall Conference
October 6 – 8, 2019
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth, MN

One great challenge for our members at MASA is to bridge the space between our visions for the future of Minnesota’s schools and the realities of today. We live in times of rapid, pervasive change—not just in the technology that affects every part of our lives, but in the fabric of our communities, the expectations of public organizations, the impacts of economic shift, and the interaction of diverse communities locally and globally. As school leaders, we are tasked with preparing students for futures that we cannot dream of. But leaders are learners, and we learn best from one another. It is that collegial support that provides a framework of best practice, demonstrating that “Minnesota Grown means Minnesota Strong.” Join your colleagues this fall and explore the best of leadership practice here in Minnesota!

Register for the conference as a participant at https://events.resultsathand.com/masa/1004

Lodging Info
The fee for participating does NOT include lodging. Please contact any of the hotels listed below and receive conference rates on your lodging.

Canal Park Lodge (MASA Headquarters) • (800) 777-8560 • $152.00 per night

The Inn on Lake Superior • (888) 668-4352 • $169.99 per night

Pier B Resort • (218) 481-8888 • $179.00 per night

Registration Rates
Register on or before Friday, September 20 for a reduced rate!

MASA Member Rate before September 20: $299.00
MASA Member Rate beginning September 20: $349.00

MASA Retiree Rate: $99.00

Partner/Spouse Attending (non member): $99.00

Cancellation Fee through September 20 = $50 – after September 20 you will not receive a refund. No-shows will be billed.

Conference Highlights
On Sunday afternoon, golfers will enjoy the Dale G. Jensen Golf Tournament, benefiting the MASA Foundation. All conference participants are invited to play, no matter your skill level! The tournament will be held at the Black Bear Golf Course in Carlton prior to the MASA Fall Conference. Register to play at: https://www.regonline.com/MASAgolf2019

What better way to kick off the conference—and the new school year—than by greeting old friends and meeting our new members? Sunday evening we’ll gather for a casual Welcome Reception. Join us from 6-8 pm at Grandma’s Sports Garden for food and fun. Our menu includes all-you-can-eat Pizza, Bonotta, Caesar Salad, and Breadsticks with Marinara Sauce. Soft drinks are on the house and we will have a cash bar. We will announce the Golf Tournament prizes so the bragging rights can start early.

Throughout the conference, we will celebrate the service of our honored colleagues. In addition to celebrating our members’ years of service with recognition marking their milestone years, we will present the 2019 Richard Green scholarship to recipient Michelle Mortensen, Superintendent, Renville County West Schools, and the Polaris Award to recipient Gerald (Jerry) Ness, Retired Superintendent, Fergus Falls Public Schools. We will also recognize our service pin and certificate recipients.

Members who have completed 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of administrative service and five years as MASA members may receive service pins. Eligibility years are counted as school fiscal years. If you qualify for both a superintendent pin and an administrator pin in the same year, you may get both. To receive a service pin or certificate please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MASAservice19 to complete the form by Friday, September 20. Congratulations!

Our Monday morning keynote speaker Manley Feinberg leverages more than 20 years of professional speaking and business leadership experience to work with organizations like ours; and he will help us develop more engaged teams that step up with more focus, commitment, and momentum.

The Exhibit Fair is a convenient way to visit with representatives of companies offering the latest products and services of value to school leaders. Our exhibitors’ participation also helps us reduce conference tuition for our members, so let’s thank them for being with us by being with them!

Our Executive Development leaders have chosen four sets of compelling concurrent sessions scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Our Monday afternoon program features the work of our 2019 Richard Green Scholar Michelle Mortensen, Superintendent, Renville County West Schools. Join Michelle and hear the findings of this important work on “Female Superintendent Perceptions of Challenges in Seeking and Serving in the Position of Superintendent of Schools.”

16% of Minnesota’s superintendents are women. MASA’s strategic pan includes an initiative to increase the number of superintendents who are women to 30% by 2024. Come and celebrate the “Women’s Leadership Initiative” on Monday afternoon at 3:45. It will be a great chance to hear briefly about this work, but also to relax and enjoy refreshments with colleagues at the end of the conference day. This event is for ALL of our participants regardless of gender!

When is the last time something amazing happened in your school? How many people knew about it. The work done in schools all across the globe is spectacular! Join our closing keynote speaker Joe Sanfelippo for Hacking Leadership: Telling Your District’s Story. School perception is often based on the narrative of those who attended years ago. Telling the real story of schools helps create a narrative that builds culture and gives everyone in your community an identity. Dr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, WI. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education.

We look forward to seeing you in Duluth!

Be Fearless

David Law
Anoka Hennepin School District
MASA President

Each year as I head back to school, like many superintendents, I work with my team to create a back to school theme. This year in Anoka Hennepin our theme is “Rock Stars.” This theme links the challenging job our staff have of performing in front of a crowd every day, under all sorts of conditions to the work that musicians do.

We used this theme in our back to school video, recording a rewrite of “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO) that showcased our middle school music teachers performing and lyrics that highlighted the excellent work our staff do each day. We also included a group of students from across the district singing a rewrite of “You Aint’ Seen Nothing Yet” also by BTO, reminding the world that the best of our students is yet to come. It was a fun video showcasing staff and students in Rock and Roll fashion.

An added bonus this year was the inclusion of Kat Perkins, a Midwest singer who was a finalist on the television show “The Voice.” The daughter and granddaughter of educators, Kat has a passion for teaching and helping students. Kat was willing to be the lead singer in our video, provide the inspirational message for our leaders and also speak at our district wide convocation event.

Kat’s message inspired me enough that I have repeated it several times. From her song “Fearless” she shares “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” It was a call for all of us to take on those challenges that are the toughest to face. Too often the safest, least controversial path keeps us from moving forward, prevents us from making progress for our staff and most importantly our students.

It is an honor to serve as president for the 2019-20 school year. If I can be a resource for any of you, please contact me. I think all of our state’s superintendents are rock stars. Be fearless in the pursuit of excellence for our students.

2019-20 Business Partners


Special thanks to our 2019-20 MASA Business Partners! The MASA Business Partner Program provides opportunities for businesses to connect with Minnesota’s educational leaders. Our core belief is that MASA’s role in engaging business partners is to facilitate a rich conversation that helps our practitioner members understand what resources are available to support their districts, and our business partner members understand the needs of our school districts.

Premier ($15,000+)

Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors
CESO Communication
ICS Consulting
MN Trust/PMA Financial Network, LLC

Executive ($10,000-$14,999)

MSDLAF+/PFM Asset Management, LLC

Leader ($7,500-$9,999)

InGensa, Inc.
Nexus Solutions, LLC
Robert W. Baird & Co.

Fellow ($5,000-$7,499)

The Horace Mann Companies

Key ($2,500-$4,999)

ATS&R Planners/Architects/Engineers
Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.
DLR Group
Kennedy & Graven, Chartered
Marsh & McLennan Agency
PFM Financial Advisors
Teachers On Call, a Kelly Services ® Company
Wold Architects & Engineers

Friend ($1,000-$2,499)

Ameresco, Inc.
Architects Rego & Youngquist, LLC
Big River Group
College of St. Scholastica
Cooperative Purchasing Connection
Discovery Education
Donlar Construction
Education Minnesota ESI Member Benefits
Fisher Tracks, Inc.
Forecast5 Analytics
H+U Construction
Hallberg Engineering, Inc.
Hiller Commercial Floors
Institute for Environmental Assessment
KFI Engineers
Knutson, Flynn & Deans, P. A.
Larson Engineering, Inc.
LHB, Inc.
Lightspeed Technologies, Inc.
Milliken & Company
MLA Architects
National Insurance Services
Northland Securities, Inc. Financial Advisors
Palmer Bus Service, Inc.
R.A. Morton & Associates
Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, PA
Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, PA
TeamWorks International
Unesco Corporation
Vaaler Insurance, Inc.
Widseth Smith Nolting

2019 Dale G. Jensen Golf Classic


Registration is now open for the 2019 Dale G. Jensen Classic Golf Tournament benefitting the MASA Foundation!

You can sign up to play online at https://www.regonline.com/MASAgolf2019

Click the “Register Now” button on the right hand column to begin your golf registration!<

Please register for the tournament by Friday, September 20, 2019.

The tournament will be held at the Black Bear Golf Course in Carlton prior to the MASA Fall Conference.

The Dale G. Jensen Classic Golf Tournament supports the work of the MASA Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization), providing leadership development for Minnesota’s school leaders and supporting the field of school administration.

Tournament Details
Date: Sunday, October 6, 2019

Location: Black Bear Golf Course | www.golfatthebear.com

1791 Highway 210, Carlton, MN 55718 | Map

Time: Shotgun Tee-off at 12 pm NOON | Registration/Check-In opens at 11:00 am

Cost: $35 tax-deductible suggested donation, please note that the cart and green fees will be requested the day of the tournament by the golf course ($29.99+ tax).

Lunch and snacks are available for purchase at the golf course.

*Foursomes will be assigned in order to provide a mix of all participants, however if you have a specific person or group you would like to play with, please indicate it on your online registration!

Tournament Sponsorship Information
Business Partners and Conference Exhibitors are welcome to become a sponsor for the Dale G. Jensen Classic Golf Tournament by joining one of four sponsorship levels – info on sponsorships can be found online on the same registration page or under the “Donation Options” tab.

Sponsorship Levels

Ace ($500 – $999)

Eagle ($300 – $499)

Birdie ($200 – $299)

Par ($100 – $199)

If you have questions about the tournament sponsorships, please contact Mike Hoheisel via email (MHoheisel@rwbaird.com) or at 651-426-8533 (direct).