|MN National Distinguished Principal Finalists|
2/13/2012 11:31 AM
(St. Paul, MN, February 13,
2012) – Three members of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals'
Association (MESPA) are finalists for Minnesota 2012 National
Distinguished Principal (NDP):
- Mark French, principal of Rice Lake Elementary School in the Osseo
Public Schools (ISD #279);
- Mary Hanson, principal of Madelia Elementary
School, Madelia Public Schools (ISD #837); and
- Jon Millerhagen, principal of Washburn Elementary School, Bloomington Public Schools
This marks the 29th year MESPA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) have presented
the prestigious award, which has corporate sponsorship from VALIC.
“At the helm of every successful
school is a successful principal,” according to Gail Connelly, NAESP executive
director. “Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an
opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and
their commitment to creating successful learning communities. Because of them,
students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and communities are
National Distinguished Principals (NDP) program was established in 1984 to
recognize elementary and middle level principals who set high standards for instruction,
student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and
staffs in their learning communities. The program is based on three fundamental
- Children’s attitudes
towards learning and their perceptions of themselves as lifelong learners are
established in the beginning school years.
- The scope and quality of
children’s educational experiences are determined primarily by the school
principal, who establishes, through the important work of teachers and the
support of caring parents, the character of a particular school’s program.
- The dedication and
enthusiasm of the outstanding principals who guide children’s early education
experiences should be acknowledged to both show appreciation for their work as
well as to allow them to serve as models for others in the field.
NDP program is designed to recognize the outstanding leadership of active,
on-line principals. It is not a recognition of service at retirement, nor is it
a program to reward current state or national leaders. Criteria established by
NAESP require that the individual:
- Is a practicing
principal with at least five years experience in the principalship.
- Plans to continue as a
- Demonstrates evidence of
outstanding contributions to the community and to the education profession.
- Leads a school that is
clearly committed to excellence.
- Leads a school that has
programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students.
- Leads a school that has
firm ties to parents and the community.
year, NDPs represent PreK – 8th grade public schools from all across the
country as well as principals in U.S. private schools and those from the United
States Departments of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the United
States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools. Public school elementary
and middle-level principals are nominated by peers in their state, and final
selections are made by committees appointed by each of NAESP’s state affiliate
The three principals were nominated by members of their MESPA Divisions – and
received strong references from parents, peers, and supervisors. On January 31, their nominations, letters
of reference, written applications, and a brief video (to replace a school site visit) were reviewed by a statewide selection
committee including: MESPA's 12 Division Presidents, the most recent NDP
(Joan Franks of Minneapolis), and Tim Bell, MESPA State Secretary/Treasurer. Dr. Steven Geis (principal, Farmington) is the MESPA NAESP State
Representative and chair of the NDP Selection Committee.
May 4, the three finalists will be interviewed and the
Selection Committee will determine the 2012 Minnesota National Distinguished
more detail on the NDP process, visit National
Distinguished Principal under Honors on
the MESPA Web.