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Retired Principals of MESPA
“I value my membership in MESPA for many reasons, but the networking I have done at MESPA events is priceless.  I am always amazed at how friendly and welcoming everyone is when I attend the annual conference.  I have met other new principals and kept in touch through email with questions, ideas, and support, as we all navigate new waters.  Veteran principals are very willing to offer their years of experience and are extremely supportive, too.  Fantastic resources!” Colleen Abear, principal, Cuyuna Range Elementary School, Crosby-Ironton

“I'm grateful for MESPA because it pulls colleagues together.  The principalship can be a lonely profession. MESPA facilitates collaborative relationships across districts and buildings by connecting principals and creating formal opportunities to interact and engage with colleagues.”
Taber Akin, principal, Sioux Trail Elementary, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage
"My MESPA membership means:  I have access to great professional development specific to my role as an instructional leader; I can contribute to the mission and vision of education in Minnesota; and I am connected to professionals who understand the complexities of being an elementary principal.” -- Paul Anderson, principal, Sand Creek Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin
“MESPA has helped me become a better educator and principal by providing me with professional growth opportunities and a cadre of colleagues who share my desire to serve children and families. MESPA and it's members work hard to help me find different ways to help children and educators grow to meet their potential.” – Gary Anger, principal, Red Pine Elementary, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan
“I don't know where to start in thanking all of you for what you do for MESPA. I have found MESPA to be such a valuable organization. You have made available to me opportunities to further develop leadership skills, awareness of latest trends and valuable resources in education, provided assistance with local issues, and are always just there, if needed. MESPA is an organization that is never satisfied with the status quo and is always progressive. MN elementary principals are so fortunate to have such a professional organization. I believe I have been a member of MESPA the 17 years I have been an elementary principal in MN. With Fred's (Storti) leadership, I have seen MESPA evolve into the outstanding organization it is today. His leadership is a major factor of where MESPA is today.” – Kathy Antilla, retired principal, Hibbing
“MESPA provides a great network for me, especially being a first year principal. Their First Year Principal seminar and mentorship program have help me in building some great relationships with other principals. Furthermore, the staff at MESPA are quick to respond to questions and assist in any way they can. Since the moment I was offered a contract and spoke to Fred, I have been sold on MESPA.” -- Rick Aulie, principal, Magelssen Elementary School, Fosston
“MESPA has served me well as a Minnesota principal. It is truly an organization of people who care about the future of our children.”   -- Mary S. Baier, Ed.S., retired, Owatonna
"As a first year principal I found the MESPA Institute to be incredibly valuable.  I found both the people and resources helpful.  Visiting with other principals - new and veteran - made me realize that I was truly not the only principal in the world with questions." -- Karla Beck, principal, Northside Elementary, St. James

"MESPA is not just being a member of a high calibre association. It is about belonging to an organization that cares about its members in a professional, caring manner. It is about protecting rights and advancing education for students (as well as its members). And, it is a terrific way to connect with colleagues who share a common goal!" -- Tim Bell, Five Hawks Elementary, Prior Lake-Savage

"Roger Aronson's yearly MESPA Legal Seminars are worth their weight in gold. Just knowing principals are represented so well legally and legislatively is worth the membership!" -- Tim Bell, Five Hawks Elementary, Prior Lake-Savage

"MESPA is a working organization where members are necessary for the direction, action, and success of all it does, from member rights to professional development to political action!  By being proactive, MESPA leads the way to a better system for students, teachers, and principals!" -- Tim Bell, Five Hawks Elementary, Prior Lake-Savage

"As a premiere voice for education, MESPA practices what it preaches by offering a multitude of opportunities for principals to keep abreast of best practices, learn new skills to actually create more time in a day (Breakthrough Coach!), and helps principals to take care of themselves!" -- Tim Bell, Five Hawks Elementary, Prior Lake-Savage
“As a new principal the regional MESPA meetings have been an invaluable mentoring opportunity for me.  It has given me a chance to grow my professional learning community and another group to bounce ideas off.’ – Jason Berg, principal, Lincoln Elementary, Owatonna

“I appreciate being a MESPA member because it creates a network with other colleagues, provides support that is relevant and keeps me in tune with current legislative initiatives that will impact education around our state.  The Colleague to Colleague connections are both relevant and intriguing as different pertinent topics are explored and various members weigh in on their current practice.  It is always helpful to learn how other members view and approach different challenges.  I have also found the negotiations guidance center a helpful tool when contract negotiations roll around.  That is a lot of helpful information in a quick, easy to read, comparative format.  The legislative updates also focus  in on the information that I need to know in my career as principal.  Starting with the Aspiring Prinicpal’s workshop and now  a principal for nine years, I have always been a member!” – Becky Berkas, principal, Edgerton Elementary, Roseville

“The one most important thing I receive from MESPA is up-to-date legal and legislative information.’ --  Sheila Bichler, principal, St, Michael Elemetary, St. Michael-Albertville

"In Mark Scharenbroich's book Nice Bike, he talks about acknowledging others by showing a sincere interest, honoring the important contributions of others, and making meaningful connections to create positive bonds and friendships. MESPA is all about supporting principals- to be successful in these areas through professional learning experiences, a common focus on improving student learning, and networking opportunities to support principals throughout their career. I am grateful for all that MESPA has offered to help me grow through the years, while meeting some fantastic colleagues. "Nice Bike", MESPA!" – Bill Book, principal, Pinewood Elementary, Mounds View
“MESPA is the single most importance resource that I use on a weekly basis.  I feel the association is constantly informing all principals of ways to better themselves and their schools by actively participating in the numerous professional opportunities in being 21st Century Leaders.” -- Jim Borgschatz, principal, Bluff View Elementary, Lake City

“MESPA has been a wonderful resource of information in regards to what is best for students, instruction, and leadership and the opportunities for continual learning are endless.  Not only do I appreciate the educational value of the membership, but the relationships that I have developed through MESPA are invaluable.“  Dawn Brown, principal, Cleveland Public School, Cleveland

"In a job that can at times feel very isolating and lonely, MESPA has helped me make connections across the state.  It’s nice to know you’re not alone!" -- Rolf Carlsen, principal, Oxbow Creek Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin

"MESPA is the life-line, the vessel, the support that principals need in this challenging and rewarding calling." – Ranae Case Evenson, principal, Wilson Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin

"MESPA provides the support and professional development necessary to succeed in the ever-changing role of the principal.  It is a close network of colleagues that lift each other up and share successes and best-practice so that we all have the tools to make a positive impact on the children of Minnesota." -- Ranae Case Evenson, principal, Anoka-Hennepin

“MESPA provides the opportunity to connect and build relationships with principals throughout the state.  It also offers excellent professional development through one day workshops and the state conference.” Laura Cavender, principal, Pillsbury Community School, Minneapolis

"MESPA is more than an association; it is a collegial network of professional support that which encompasses all aspects of the Principalship. MESPA strives for excellence through furthering the vision of the association while caring for, and fostering the development of individuals." -- Tom Cawcutt, principal, Barnum Elementary, Barnum Schools

“As a principal turned professor, I truly appreciate my MESPA membership so I can stay well-informed of the profession by attending professional development opportunities offered. I especially appreciate MESPA Institute each year for not only the PD, but most importantly the networking with other principals. Thanks MESPA!” --  Dr. Wendy Claussen-Schoolmeester, Southwest Minnesota State University

“MESPA is a great opportunity to connect with principals across the state.  The Institute has great speakers and sessions, but the networking with others is the best part.  We are all in this together and have similar issues, so it is nice to get ideas and suggestions from others' experiences.“ Karen Coblentz, principal, North Intermediate School, St. Peter

"MESPA has always been a support not only with staff development opportunities and resources but with building a unique networking system for principals. As a practicing principal I appreciated working with others throughout the state with division work, the MN School of Excellence program, and mentoring, Since my retirement I have found that many of the individuals who I met through the association are now once again colleagues in the supervision of teacher candidates. I will always be grateful to the MESPA staff as they have  always gone above and beyond in being of service at any point of time. I look forward to remaining connected and a big thanks goes to all who have made this organization professional in every aspect." --  Judy Davis, retired principal, Winona
 “The world of a principal is often very solitary, especially for those of us who are relatively new to the profession. MESPA has opened up the doors of communication with other principals and resources around the state helping me discover ways to improve, cope, grow, learn and succeed with our staffs and our students. Thanks in no small part to MESPA, none of us are alone.” -- Jacob Donze, PreK-3 principal, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Elementary

“Legislative lobbyist has been key in having a voice at the capitol.  This is much appreciated.” Pat Driscoll, principal, Minnehaha Elementary, Lake Superior
“Winter Institute is always informative and I depend on MESPA to keep me informed of the latest information regarding education.” Pat Driscoll, principal, Minnehaha Elementary, Lake Superior
“MESPA website has been my “go to” spot for information and resources varying from contacting a colleague to finding staff development.” Pat Driscoll, principal, Minnehaha Elementary, Lake Superior

"I have been a member of MESPA during my entire 14 years as a principal in Minnesota. I continue to be a member and be involved in MESPA’s programs because they provide me with the information and tools I need to be an effective principal. MESPA provides me with an opportunity to connect with my colleagues across the state through their various functions and conferences. The MESPA Institute conference provides cutting-edge information that helps me to know what is happening in the field of education while setting an atmosphere for me to meet with and develop professional relationships with other principals. Many of these professional relationships have been ongoing and provided me with a support group and a sounding board for new ideas and strategies."  -- Sheila Eller, principal, Bel Air Elementary, Mounds View Schools
"I appreciate and regularly read the Legislative Updates provided by Roger Aronson. By reviewing the updates provided by Roger, I am up to date and current on the latest news and issues as they unfold in the Legislature. I am able to stay on top of what is happening in the Legislature as a result of the clear and straightforward updates provided by MESPA and Mr. Aronson."  -- Sheila Eller, principal, Bel Air Elementary, Mounds View Schools
"I find the staff at MESPA to be very professional and personable. Whenever I call for information, the staff at MESPA is quick to respond with accurate and timely information. The Executive Director, Mr. Fred Storti, sends out periodic updates that highlight not only what is happening in Minnesota education, but national information as well. These updates allow me to stay informed even though I have a very busy schedule." -- Sheila Eller, principal, Bel Air Elementary, Mounds View Schools
"I find my membership in MESPA is a valuable investment for me both personally and professionally. I am able to continue to grow as a principal while sharing ideas and strategies with my colleagues."  -- Sheila Eller, principal, Bel Air Elementary, Mounds View Schools
“MESPA has always represented to me that unified voice for education and vast resource to principals.  I especially enjoy Roger Aronson’s legislative updates.  Winter Institute provides a much needed mid-year rejuvenation providing opportunities to hear some fantastic speakers and see many colleagues from across the state.” Roger Esser, principal, Pinecrest Elementary, Hastings
“As a charter school principal, I appreciate MESPA for the opportunity to connect to other principal colleagues, participate in professional development and to be able to ask questions and get answers that would not be afforded to me. My former principalships introduced me to this valuable organization of friends and colleagues and continues to inspire me in this wonderful profession.” Kerry Felt, Charter School Administrator, Academia Cesar Chavez

"MESPA is a first-class organization. Not only does MESPA provide opportunities for professional development, the MESPA staff is very professional and models leadership. I enjoy attending Institute specifically to hear outstanding presenters, attend interesting breakout sessions, and to have conversations with other principals who are experiencing the same things I do." Stephanie Flickinger, principal, Reede Gray Elementary School, Redwood

“When reflecting upon MESPA, I can not separate my association with this organization from the principalship. It has provided me with the connections to many opportunities including district & state committees, as well as professional development such as NISL. In addition, it has connected me with administrators from around the state who have shared struggles and successes, which has been invaluable to my growth as a principal. In essence, it's the colleagues not the event that has made a difference.  Therefore, I believe this organization and the people it represents has helped me benchmark myself against excellence.” -- Joan Franks, principal, Armatage Montessori School, Minneapolis
"I think being an elementary principal is the best job in the world and I want to share my passion and enthusiasm with others. I want to connect with and support principals across the state so they experience the opportunities offered by MESPA and feel connected and engaged. " -- Mark French, principal, Rice Lake Elementary, Osseo

"One aspect of MESPA that I value most is having a network of professionals that I can go to to ask questions or get support for issues that we face each day in elementary schools.  Everyone is always willing to share best practices with each other with the intend of improving education for the students of Minnesota. " -- Amy Galatz, principal, King Elementary, Deerwood
“MESPA is the primary organization that keeps principals connected. MESPA provides a platform for discussions, legislative insight and best practices.  MESPA is the “glue” that holds us together.” -- John Garcia, principal, Cedar Park STEM Elementary, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan
 “I joined MESPA for the connections!  Whether it be for professional support, a quick question, or a funny story, MESPA has introduced me to so many wonderful professionals who understand and live the position of the elementary principal.  Through my connections, I sharpen my skills as a leader, re-energize my passion for improving education and stay up-to-date with best practice.  What a great organization!” --  Patrick Glynn, principal, Grainwood Elementary, Prior Lake-Savage

"I appreciate the opportunity to share with other principals and the excellent support from the MESPA staff providing professional development opportunities."   – Phil Gurbada, principal, Royalton Elementary, Royalton

“MESPA is such a collaborative organization.  I get to build relationships with principals across the state and take that new learning back to my building to make a difference for students.” Brad Gustafson, principal, Greenwood Elementary School, Wayzata
“Capital Outlay Budget…..dwindling.  Networking with MESPA colleagues…..PRICELESS.” Brad Gustafson, principal, Greenwood Elementary School, Wayzata
“Joining MESPA was the equivalent of me dabbling in rudimentary cooking at home to having the likes of Chef Emeril Lagasse and an expansive array of gourmet expertise available...any time.  BAM! You simply can't beat the networking opportunities and powerful collaboration that comes from institute and division meetings.  It's a recipe for success!” -- Brad Gustafson, principal, Greenwood Elementary, Wayzata
“I value MESPA for the ease of access to current information and a fantastic network of professionals who are willing to help each other.  A strong network is incredibly important to being a Successful Principal.  The MESPA Staff are truly phenomenal and make it all happen for us!” Patti Haasch, principal, Cass Lake-Bena Elementary, Cass Lake

"Being an elementary principal, most of us don’t have a team that we work with each day. MESPA offers me that opportunity to network with other principals across the state. This provides me the chance to gain perspective on the many changing and challenging issues that our schools face on a daily basis." --  Mark Hansen, principal, Mississippi Elementary, Coon Rapids

"One of the most valuable pieces of MESPA that I have been a part of are the division meetings. I enjoy meeting with my colleagues from other districts and connecting with the principals. The relationships and connections that are built during those times make me thankful for our division and for MESPA. I appreciate MESPA being there to bring us together." Liann Hanson, principal, Oak Crest Elementary, Belle Plaine
"MESPA is the glue that connects all of the elementary principals throughout the state and gives us the power and voice to share our thoughts and be heard.  I always know this is where I can go to find advocate for the principalship." -- Carolyn Hartwigsen, principal, Westwood Elementary School, Bloomington

“As a MESPA member, I have so many opportunities to grow professionally.  This past year I participated in Teacher Evaluation for Principal with John Eller, and learned a great deal on managing the difficult conversations with under performing teachers.  Additionally, I value Winter Institute and our Division meetings to network with my colleagues and to stay up to date with the latest in research regarding best practices in education. Lastly, I have developed long lasting relationship with colleagues throughout the state by staying connected through Colleague to Colleague.” Paul Helberg, Cherry View Elementary, Lakeville

“I have appreciated the connection MESPA provides me as I reunite myself with education in the state of Minnesota after starting my career here and returning after eleven years. I am  able to comfortably climb the steep learning curve of being a principal in a new state with all the professional development MESPA provides to all members.”  -- John Howe, Ramsey Elementary, Montevideo School District
“I value MESPA and my membership because of the wealth of resources I can quickly and easily access through the website.  I also can depend on Roger to give us updates as to what is happening in the Legislature, something that I need to know about but don’t always have the time to keep up with.” --  Wendi Jarson, assistant principal, Sheridan Arts Magnet, Minneapolis

"With just one phone call I can find answers to all of my questions both professionally and legally and I know that the advice comes from Minnesota's education experts." -- Pamela Kirsch, principal, Jefferson Elementary, New Ulm
“Being a member of MESPA has made me a much stronger instructional leader.  I have been able to collaboratively work with other principals for support, for encouragement, for reflection, and  for professional development.  MESPA truly is dedicated to promoting and improving education for children and youth by strengthening the role of educational leaders across the state. " -- Michelle Krell, principal, Kasson-Mantorville Elementary

“MESPA is an outstanding organization!  In my brief tenure as an elementary principal, I’ve had the opportunity to gain top-notch professional development and insightful legal counsel.  I’ve also been able to connect with an experienced network of colleagues that have helped to shape my understanding and skills within the principalship.  It’s been a privilege to be a part of this cohort and to be able to further my learning through their collective knowledge and experiences.” Jeffrey Kuehn, elementary principal, Springfield Public Schools
"MESPA provides principals with the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the organization.  The leadership training throughout the year, the collegial nature of the organization, and the support provided to principals, in all facets of the profession is priceless." -- Wade Labatte, principal, Oak Hills Elementary, Lakeville

"MESPA is a professional organization that supports new Instructional Leaders in a number of ways including: 1) Hosting collaborative meetings and conversations, 2) Locating resources to support initiatives, and 3) Communicating current Information and decisions having a impact on education (legal, legislative, etc). "I'm proud to be a MESPA member!" – Nichole Laven, principal, Trailview Elementary School, Mora
“As a new principal and member, my knowledge and skills were expanded by the connections I made with principals from throughout the state. There also is something comforting and affirming to know that the challenges I face in the inner city have parallels with the challenges on the Iron Range or in the Driftless Area of southeast Minnesota." -- Jim Litwin, principal, Horace Mann School, St. Paul

“Being a MESPA member was one of the best things that I did for my career.  After joining in 2002, I found that networking with Principals from around the state allowed me the opportunity to listen and share experiences, enroll in classes that were pertinent to the Principal role and feel supported by colleagues who where dealing with the same day to day operations of the job.  You’ll find that you’re really not alone.” Gail Lewis-Miller, Tanglen Elementary School, Minnetonka
“MESPA is an invaluable resource. Division meetings help groups of regionally connected principals to work on issues that affect all schools. Institute and MESPA workshops help keep principals informed with high quality professional development. MESPA helps principals realize that we are not alone. MESPA keeps us connected, provides us with assistance, and supports us with our needs.” Jeffrey Lund, Elementary Principal and Community Education Director, Marshall County Central Schools
"MESPA provides educational best practices, legal advice, professional development opportunities, colleague dialogue, negotiations information and retirement advice. One stop shopping- with lasting results!" -- Rick Lund, Rosa Parks Elementary, Mankato

“For me MESPA is a fabulous resource to help me network and stay current.”
Patrick Marolt, principal Challenger Elementary, Thief River Falls

“MESPA is a tremendous resource for principals, no matter what stage of your career you are in.  MESPA is helpful in guiding principals new to the profession with it's workshop opportunities, divisional meetings, networking and of course Winter Institute.  MESPA is a guiding resource, helpful in providing assistance in nearly any professional area of need including negotiations or legal, financial or retirement assistance.” -- Roche L. Martin, Principal, Linwood Elementary, Forest Lake
“The one aspect I appreciate most about MESPA is the focus on issues related specifically to Minnesota elementary school principals. Issues are germane to the realities we work with and face each day. When I have a question or need help I know the person "on the other end" is looking through a similar lens.” -- Sean Martinson, Cohasset Elementary School, Grand Rapids
“One thing  I enjoy about MESPA is the collegiality and the ability to talk to colleagues in other districts and get different perspectives.” -- Jim Meyer, principal, Elm Creek Elementary, Osseo
“MESPA is an excellent resource for principals.  I can depend on the organization for professional development, state department representation, legislative interpretation and a connection to others doing this work.” -- Donna Montgomery, principal, Gatewood Elementary School, Hopkins
“MESPA has been my support system from the time I entered the Principalship. I have been nurtured with personal and professional development over the years, by attending association meetings and trainings. These learning opportunities have helped me become a better leader, therefore making me, my school, teachers, and students successful. The relationships I have established with all of the Principals I have met through MESPA are amazing. They have become my mentors and life long friends. Our association has helped me know the value of giving back to the profession I love. Thank you for being there MESPA!” -- Sandy Nelson, principal, Rossman Elementary School, Detroit Lakes
"Belonging to an organization like MESPA provides me with an umbrella of support. I appreciate the professional development and career support that I receive from both my local and state division" – Eric Olson, principal, Pinewood Elementary School, Monticello

"MESPA has been my lifeline... As a new principal and the only elementary principal in my district, it was my connection to other principals, my "go to" for professional development opportunities, and a safe place to ask questions.  Now with a few years of experience under my belt, MESPA continues to be my lifeline.  MESPA provides timely information focused on educational priorities throughout the state (and around the nation).  MESPA offers collegiality at multiple levels, opportunities for leadership, and a wealth of resources when and where I need it most.  MESPA is truely a voice for Minnesota principals and an amazing association." -- Jennifer Olson, principal, HLWW Schools

“What I really find valuable with MESPA is you can participate and have the opportunity to learn about breaking news in your career, learn "best practices" or new ideas, hear about key achievers in your field and also meet and brainstorm with principals who are also looking to share and learn new information.” -- Joey Page, principal, The Richfield S.T.E.M. School, Richfield

“MESPA is a wonderful way to connect with principals across the state and create a network of people who face the same challenges in our profession. As a new principal, it provides the opportunity to learn from and share with other principals.” Lillie Pang, principal, Hale Community School, Minneapolis

"MESPA provides the leadership and the resources that many of us use to better meet the challenges we face every day. MESPA is the foundation which keeps me grounded and focused on what is most important for my school. Whether it is the main office personnel, the division leadership teams, or the smaller cohorts such as our East Central group, MESPA is dedicated professionals committed to making our students successful." -- Randy Pauly, principal, Isanti Middle School, Cambridge-Isanti Schools
“MESPA is like a safety net.  It's an organization that provides such a vast amount of information that almost any concern or question can answered. I enjoy the networking and professional relationships I established at Institute.  Institute is a great place to connect with colleagues and receive professional development as well as professional energy.” -- Julie Pederson, principal, New Heights Elementary, East Grand Forks

“MESPA provides limitless networking opportunities to grow and develop professionally. I highly recommend all building leaders to undertake the MN School of Excellence program. This is a process all leaders may undertake and is grounded in the foundation of six national standards that all principals should know and be able to do. Undertaking the MN School of Excellence school program with a school community and receiving validation is like receiving a ”State Championship” recognition.  MN School of Excellence validation is lots of celebration taking place validating the work that teachers do in your school everyday, a testament to your students and community for the work they do and the energy around it, and a symbol for your school and district of a commitment to high standards." -- Laura Pierce, Director of Innovative Programming, Farmington Area Schools

“MESPA provides principals with networking which is so valuable! You can find wisdom, enthusiasm, support and professional development from the MESPA organization and through the networking.” -- Lisa Pikop, principal, Garfield/Miltona/Carlos Elementary, Alexandria

“I value my MESPA membership because without it I would not be entering my 20th year as an elementary principal.  The friendships, connections and experiences have been invaluable. I would highly recommend MESPA to anyone involved in the position of elementary principal.” Pat Pribyl, principal, Raven Stream Elementary, New Prague

 “MESPA has been my way of finding support and networking with colleagues the past 18 years.  The friendships and connections that my wife and I have made through my involvement with MESPA will last well beyond my career as an elementary principal.  I would highly recommend MESPA to any elementary principal looking to connect with a professional organization that will keep you on the cutting edge." -- Pat Pribyl, principal, Raven Stream Elementary, New Prague

"As a first year principal, I fully understand and respect that my formal education could take me so far. For me to be successful, I need to continue to learn on the job and reach out for support. My MESPA membership is an excellent resource for such support. The organization's website, regional meetings, the MESPA Institute, and casual conversations/mentoring have all been extremely valuable for my professional growth. Thanks MESPA!" Jillynne Raymond, principal, Pine Island Elementary, Pine Island
“MESPA provides opportunities to learn new strategies from other principals. MESPA also brings people together to have discussions that can’t happen due to the busy schedules people deal with each week.  In a short time, the principals are colleagues and friends who will support you.” -- Sam Richardson, principal, Glendale Elementary School, Savage
“For me, MESPA is my "down the hall" resource. Back when I was a teacher, when I had a question, an idea, or situation that I was pondering, I knew various places "down the hall" that I could stop in to collaborate. Although MESPA isn't down the hall, I utilize it as the same type of resource. I benefit from a network of people that I am acquainted with through MESPA. I have resources available on the website and with a simple call to the MESPA office. Each time we get together at a MESPA function, I come away with the understanding that I am not alone in the many issues and tasks that we face in the principalship.” -- Dave Riebel, principal, Lewiston-Altura Elementary, Lewiston-Altura
 “When I came to Minnesota six years ago, I knew very few people in the state. MESPA was one of the first contacts that I made as I know the importance of having support from state organizations and its members, and I was encouraged right away to become involved, which I did. Fred, Olivia, and the MESPA staff have been very helpful and supportive every time I have contacted them. The principal friends that I have met over the years are invaluable to my professional growth. Attending the MESPA yearly Institute, being on the MESPA board, and attending MESPA functions have always rekindled the joy of being a principal and having the knowledge to do the job to the best of my ability. – Susan Risius, Ph.D., principal, Royal Oaks Elementary, South Washington County
“As a member of MESPA the two items I value most are the opportunities to meet and connect with others as well as learn and grow professionally.  Through MESPA I have met other principals across the state and nation while developing the skills necessary to be an effective leader.  I can honestly say that my experiences within the organization have maximized my ability to be the school leader I am today.”  --  Abe Rodemeyer, principal, Byron Elementary School, Byron

“MESPA is a way for Principals to network with each other and to ensure acadamic growth for all of our students in Minnesota.” Joe Rossow, principal, Michael Dowling Urban Environmental Magnet, Minneapolis
“My membership in MESPA has been a valued resource during my tenure as a principal. From the networking at division meetings to the professional development that is offered to membership, one can always find someone to help you learn and grow in the increasingly important work of the principal.” --  Louis Rutten, principal, Wadena-Deer Creek
"I cherish the time spent with colleagues at our Division Meetings and at MESPA Institute each year. We learn together, discuss issues and create great friendships and support systems. The time we spend together is informative, renewing and priceless."  -- Linda Schmidt, principal, Minnewaska
“MESPA means support.  If I have an issue I need to bounce of other professionals, MESPA is there. “-- Timothy R. Schochenmaier, principal, Independence Elementary, Big Lake Public Schools
"MESPA email updates and seasonal meetings have been very helpful for networking, collaborating, and information sharing.  MESPA is a vehicle for support in being instructional leaders." Ranae Seykora, principal, Forest Lake Elementary, Grand Rapids
"One thing I value about MESPA is the fact that I know I can call the office at anytime and someone will help me or tell me where I can go for help on just about any issue.  I also appreciate the promptness of the response from MESPA staff." -- Kristine Stueve, principal, Isanti Primary School, Cambridge-Isanti
“Being a MESPA member gives you peace of mind knowing that help is just a phone call away.” -- Joe Thimm, principal, Taylors Falls Elementary School, Chisago Lakes

Professional Development
Advocacy” – Merry Tilleson, assistant principal, Lake Harriet Upper School, Minneapolis

"I value my MESPA membership for the many great opportunities to develop my leadership skills with colleagues at the annual Institute, share strategies for our improving our daily work and responsibilities through the Colleague to Colleague networking system, acknowledge great leadership work through the leadership awards like the National Distinguished Principal Award, and the Division Leadership Award, and growth through the MN School of Excellence school improvement program. " -- Yeu Vang, principal, Jackson Preparatory Magnet, St. Paul
“As a member of MESPA, I value the opportunities to connect with colleagues from around the state and within my division.  The MESPA organization is current with the latest trends in education, and provides the information and professional development in a very timely manner!” -- Teresa M. Vibar, principal, Highland Park Elementary, St. Paul

“I was a principal for 4 years before I joined MESPA.  After my first meeting, I realized how much I had missed by not joining.  The support given and the knowledge gained from being part of MESPA is priceless.  Without MESPA, I would be lost.  Also, I was so utterly amazed that Fred remembered who I was and greeted me by name at each MESPA event.  Any organization that makes it’s members feel that important is worth joining!!” Rae Villebrun, superintendent/principal, Nett Lake School, Nett Lake

"As I look back on my 18 years as a Principal, and member of MESPA, I have found the networking, seminars, and Winter Institutes of the highest quality!  MESPA is, without a doubt, a professional's organization, supporting every aspect of our careers!" Sam Wilkes, principal, Mesabi East Elementary, Mesabi East
“MESPA – Optional acronym interpretation: Member focused, Excellence dependent, Student driven, Professional saviors, Accessible.  Just a few reasons why I value my MESPA membership!” -- Deb Williams, principal, Edgewood School, Prior Lake-Savage
“I belong to MESPA for the opportunity to network with other principals at the MESPA Institute.  This is the best professional development I get each year.  Being able to talk to my colleagues about the profession and learning from each other is very valuable and why I join MESPA each year.” – Mark Ziebarth, principal, Isanti Intermediate School, Cambridge-Isanti

"MESPA is the glue that connects all of the elementary principals throughout the state and gives us the power and voice to share our thoughts and be heard.  I always know this is where I can go to find advocate for the principalship."
 -- Carolyn Hartwigsen, principal, Westwood Elementary School, Bloomington

 “The world of a principal is often very solitary, especially for those of us who are relatively new to the profession. MESPA has opened up the doors of communication with other principals and resources around the state helping me discover ways to improve, cope, grow, learn and succeed with our staffs and our students. Thanks in no small part to MESPA, none of us are alone.”
 -- Jacob Donze, PreK-3 principal, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Elementary

“What I really find valuable with MESPA is you can participate and have the opportunity to learn about breaking news in your career, learn "best practices" or new ideas, hear about key achievers in your field and also meet and brainstorm with principals who are also looking to share and learn new information.” -- MESPA President Joey Page, principal, The Richfield S.T.E.M. School, Richfield