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MESPA 2012-2013 MN Schools of Excellence
Principals leading schools receiving 2012-2013 MN School of Excellence validation -- and award presenters: back row (l-r) Jason Grovom, Tom Cawcutt, Dan Adams, Kelly Lessman, Brent Brunetta; front row (l-r) MN Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius (presenter), Jan Anderson, Rae Villebrun, Carolyn Hartwigsen, MN School of Excellence Program Chair Laura Pierce (presenter)
Seven elementary schools received 2012-2013 Minnesota School of Excellence endorsement (listed below).

MESPA is proud of these schools -- and their principals. They will be honored on February 7, 2013 during the MESPA Institute -- our annual statewide convention. Each school community also will hold their own Minnesota School of Excellence celebration in the spring; click on 2012-2013 Validations (to the right) and check out photos and details from each school.
"The total commitment to excellence demonstrated by schools receiving MN School of Excellence validation is the very center of quality education in this state," said P. Fred Storti, MESPA executive director. “Elementary and middle level schools provide the foundation in meeting childrens’ educational needs -- and as instructional leaders, principals play an essential role in assuring that the foundation is a solid one.” 

  • Tom Cawcutt, principal, Barnum Elementary School, Barnum Public Schools
  • Kelly Lessman, principal, Central Montessori Elementary School, Forest Lake Public Schools
  • Brent Brunetta, principal,  Robert J. Elkington Middle School, Brand Rapids Public Schools
  • Jan Anderson, principal, J.A. Hughes Elementary School, Red Lake Falls Public Schools
  • Travis Olson, former principal; Jason Grovom, current principal; Kennedy Elementary School, Mankato Public Schools
  • Rae Villebrun, principal, Nett Lake Elementary School, Nett Lake Public Schools
  • Carolyn Hartwigsen, principal, Westwood Elementary School, Bloomington Public Schools
"Utilizing the self-study process provides instructional leaders with the data, knowledge and tools to increase the capacity of collaborative data driven decision-making with an outcome of increased academic achievement," said Laura Pierce, MN School of Excellence Program chair (principal, Akin Road Elementary, Farmington).


Our Mission
The Minnesota School of Excellence Program promotes excellence through a rigorous evaluation process that showcases dynamic schools of the 21st century.

What does it take to be validated as a MN School of Excellence?
The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) developed this research-based program aligned with national standards in: leadership, vision, student learning, the culture of adult learning, data and decision-making, and community engagement.

MESPA endorses schools whose principal, staff, students, and community -- working as a team -- demonstrate the desire to strengthen education by successfully undertaking the Minnesota School of Excellence program.

This school improvement process is recognized by the Minnesota Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. It involves a systematic program of self-study, development of a school improvement plan, and implementation of the plan based on demonstrated results.

Click here for complete details on the Minnesota School of Excellence application process.