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2013, Toni Beckler
Toni Beckler

2013 MN National Outstanding Assistant Principal

Toni Beckler, assistant principal of Woodland Elementary School in the Osseo Area Schools and a member of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA), is Minnesota’s 2013 National Outstanding Assistant Principal.  MESPA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) present the prestigious award.

The National Outstanding Assistant Principal program was established in 2011 to honor assistant principals who are doing a superb job in their roles. NAESP is committed to preparing assistant principals to step into the principal role. This program promotes educational excellence for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade (PreK-8) schooling and calls attention to the fundamental importance of the assistant principal.  NAESP will share their successes and best practices in a practical document for other principals to utilize.  

 “The most important job you have as a leader and especially as an assistant principal is to listen,” said Beckler. “Children speak truths that only come from the young. These truths hold the keys to great education and instruction. Help students find their words and you can learn a tremendous amount from them.”

Beckler was nominated for this honor with a letter signed by the entire Woodland Elementary School staff.  The letter begins: “The work of an educational leader demands being transformational. Toni does this through her words, her actions matching her words, her example, and the legacy she has already created through her work. Toni is the epitome of servant leadership, engaging others into the collaborative work of teaching and allowing them to shine without calling attention to herself.”

In selecting Toni Beckler for the 2013 Minnesota National Outstanding Assistant Principal honor, the selection committee (comprised of principal leaders from across the state and chaired by Jon Millerhagen, 2012 MN National Distinguished Principal) noted: “The strength of the relationship demonstrated by Toni Beckler is focused on child-centered decision making processes in both the academic and behavioral areas. She is able to ask tough questions, is solution oriented and creative, and is an expert in teaching and leading professional learning communities. These qualities make her an outstanding recipient for the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ Outstanding Assistant Principal award.”

Toni “has a deep and comprehensive understanding of the teaching and learning process and the leadership skills to influence those within her reach,” said Wendy L. Loberg, Principal on Special Assignment, Osseo Area Schools. “Leaders are only successful if they get others to follow, which is one of the reasons I think Toni Beckler is so outstanding. When Toni speaks; people listen. When Toni leads, people follow.”

“Perhaps her greatest strength is her ability to lead and work with people,” concurred Linda Perdaems, Principal, Woodland Elementary, Osseo Area Schools. “She builds positive, productive relationships with students, parents and staff. You can consistently find her out and about in our building and outside at recess or at bus duty, greeting and interacting with students.”

Speaking to Beckler’s most significant accomplishments as an assistant principal, Woodland Elementary staff focused on:
  • New Positive Behavior Plan – “Toni led our school system and school in the implementation of the Positive Behavior Interventions System.”
  • Community Building – “Toni is a cheerleader for our school.”
  • School-wide Focus on Equity/Achievement Gap – “Toni has been instrumental in leading our building initiative to close all achievement gaps by 2015 and establish equity in all we do at Woodland.”
When considering these accomplishments Beckler said: “a single word comes to mind…That word is Family.  I have helped students succeed at Woodland by making sure they are part of the family. Our new behavior plan has stopped punishing students for their mistakes, instead allowing them to learn from them and continue being a positive member of our family. Building community has brought the safety, security, and fun to Woodland that all families feel…In the Woodland family no one gets left behind. All students will succeed at their highest level, which means as a building we need to equitably serve our students and families.”

Beckler received her: bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Iowa State University; master’s degree in Library Media Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato; K-12 Principal Licensure, University of Minnesota.


"In the Woodland family no one gets left behind. All students will succeed at their highest level, which means as a building we need to equitably serve our students and families.”
--Toni Beckler


NAESP Foundation
The NAESP Foundation advances excellence, innovation, and equity in schools by endowing leadership and learning for principals for the benefit of all children.

MESPA is the professional association of Minnesota’s elementary and middle level principals. With the vision to “be the premiere resource for preparing today’s principals for tomorrow and a strong leading voice for public education” and a statewide membership of 950 principals, MESPA has represented Minnesota’s principals since 1950. MESPA is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and its 29,500 members nationwide.