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2021 Minnesota School of Excellence Validations

Three Elementary Schools Validated as 2021-2022 Minnesota Schools of Excellence:

  • Byron Primary School, Byron Public Schools, Principal: Dr. Amanda Durnen

  • Discovery Elementary, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Public Schools, Principal: Dr. Mathew Nelson

  • Roosevelt Elementary, Detroit Lakes Public Schools, Principal Trisha Mariotti, and Assistant Principal Karilee Traurig

“Through the Minnesota School of Excellence (SOE) program, grounded in national research on high-performing schools, MESPA has created the premier opportunity in the state for validating excellence and a commitment to continual growth in a school community,” said Jon Millerhagen, MESPA Executive Director. “This school improvement program examines the entire school community through six national standards, ensuring there is a holistic approach to creating a plan for future achievement and celebrating the unique accomplishments of each School of Excellence.”

Tami Staloch-Schultz, chair of the Minnesota School of Excellence Committee, said, “It takes commitment and teamwork to honestly and thoroughly assess areas of strength and at the same time identify a plan for continual growth. The SOE process asks the entire school community – parents, students, staff, administration, and more – to reflect on and celebrate the collaborative work being done in school communities. Schools that receive validation have had important data-driven conversations about what a high-quality, modern learning experience should be for all students and have plans to make that learning experience a reality for many years to come. Honoring the important work of dedicated staff, eager students, and supportive communities is an essential component of becoming a School of Excellence.”

 Congratulations to our 2021 validated School of Excellence Principals!

Click below to read individual press releases:


Byron Primary School

Byron Public School District

Principal: Dr. Amanda Durnen


Discovery Elementary School

Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Public Schools

Principal: Dr. Mathew Nelson


Roosevelt Elementary School

Detroit Lakes Public Schools

Principal Trisha Mariotti

Assistant Principal Karilee Traurig

Want to become validated as a School of Excellence?
Letter of intent due October 29, 2021

Application (parts 1 & 2) due June 1, 2022

The Minnesota School of Excellence (SOE) program promotes excellence through a rigorous 1 or 2 year-long, self-directed evaluation process that showcases dynamic schools of the 21st century. The schools earn validation by completing a school community self-study, developing a plan to build on evident strengths & address areas needing improvement, and assessing ongoing results from implementing the plan. SOE also enables to principals to earn CEU's. Learn More

MESPA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

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Roseville, Minnesota, 55113
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