MREA is the only advocate exclusively for Greater Minnesota education. Under the leadership of school board members, administrators, teachers and community members, MREA focuses on what puts first the education, growth and development of learners to bring about our best possible future.

Who makes up MREA?

MREA brings together teachers, administrators and school board members from across Greater Minnesota and partners with education cooperatives, higher education, nonprofits, businesses and community members.

How did MREA get started?

A grassroots organization, MREA was founded in 1985 by a group of school board members and administrators who believed that non-metro school districts needed a clearer voice in St. Paul and every student deserved a voice.

How Does MREA Serve Schools?

MREA serves school districts by advocating for the issues that matter to them, communicating changes and the impact they’ll have and providing high-quality professional development and networking.

Meet Our Team

Dr. Fred Nolan

Dr. Fred Nolan

Executive Director

Diane Vosen

Diane Vosen

Administrative Coordinator

Sam Walseth

Sam Walseth

Legislative Affairs Director

Dawn Zimmerman

Dawn Zimmerman

Communications Director

Board of Directors

The MREA Board of Directors is comprised of 21 persons – 16 representative directors elected by the membership (4 per zone) and 5 statewide directors  (higher education, agencies, and education districts) appointed by the Board. View membership zones.

Member-Elected Positions

Luther Heller

Administrator (Montevideo)
Term expires 2020

Susan Knutson

Teacher (Eden Valley-Watkins)
Term expires 2021

Dennis Laumeyer

At-Large (Benson)
Term expires 2019

Maydra Maas

School Board (Westbrook-Walnut Grove)
Appointment expires 2018

Lance Bagstad

At-Large (Park Rapids)
Term expires 2020


Term expires 2018

Gary Gauldin

School Board (Park Rapids)
Term expires 2021

Gerald “Jerry” Ness

Administrator (Fergus Falls)
Term expires 2019

Kelly Berg

Teacher (East Grand Forks)
Term expires 2021

Tim Lutz

Administrator (Bemidji)
Term expires 2021

Mike Vasek

School Board (Fisher)
Term expires 2019

Scott Vedbraaten

At-Large (Newfolden)
Term expires 2018

Lee Carlson


Teacher (Windom)
Term expires 2019

Micheal Hamilton

School Board (Plainview-Elgin-Millville)
Term expires 2020

Todd Holthaus

Board President

Administrator (Hills-Beaver Creek)
Term expires 2019

Matt Schultz

At-Large (Lanesboro)
Term expires 2021

The Board meets 5-6 times in a calendar year, including the Annual Conference. Meetings are held in St. Paul during the legislative session and in Greater Minnesota outside of session.


2018 Meeting Dates:

  • October 22-23, Alexandria
  • November 11-13, Brainerd (Annual Conference)

2019 Meeting Dates:

  • February 20-21, St. Paul
  • April 10-11, St. Paul
  • July 23-24, Detroit Lakes
  • October 28-29, Alexandria
  • November 17-19, Brainerd (Annual Conference)

Board-Appointed Positions

North, Agency

Mark Schmitz

Resource Training & Solutions, St. Cloud

Term expires 2020

North, Higher Ed

Chris Mills

Minnesota State University, Moorhead
Term expires 2020

South, Agency

Cliff Carmody

Southwest-West Central Service Cooperative, Marshall
Term expires 2021

South, Higher Ed

Wendy Schoolmeester

Southwest Minnesota State University – Marshall
Term expires 2019

Minnesota Education District Association

Karen Jacobson


MN River Valley Ed District, Montevideo
Term expires 2018


Rick Frederickson

Board Past-President


View Past MREA Presidents

2018 Todd Holthaus
2017 Rick Frederickson
2016 Jeremy Kovash
2015 Chris Mills
2014 Mike Vasek
2013 Scott Vedbraaten
2012 Rhonda Bonnstetter
2011 Loy Woelber
2010 Dawn Koennicke
2009 Luther Heller
2008 Curt Tryggestad
2007 Tim Berg
2006 Irv Peterson
2005 Deb Andries
2004 Lloyd Styrwroll
2003 Dan Zimansky
2001-02 Lee Warne
2000-01 Dennis Drummond
1999-2000 Corny Smit
1998-99 Art Brandli
1997-98 Gerald Ness
1996-97 Jan Mussak
1995-96 Marcia Jones
1994-95 Herb Benz
1993-94 Judy Nielsen
1992-93 Maxine Penas
1991-92 Linda Krabbenhoft
1990-91 Jack Wysong
Change from Chair of Board to President of MREA
1989-90 Olav Thormodson
1988-89 JulAnn Meech
1987-88 Harold Remme
1986-87 Bruce Kasden
First Chair
Pat Mohn

Our Values

Putting Learners First

MREA supports legislation developed with students in mind and focused on helping them reach their potential.

Achieving Equity

MREA supports legislation that achieves equity of educational opportunity and funding for all.

Increasing Accountability

MREA supports legislation that increases student achievement and invests public money efficiently and effectively.

Encouraging Collaboration

MREA supports legislation that strengthens cooperation and flexibility to best meet the needs of learners and communities.

Keys To Our Continued Effectiveness


Together with members, MREA identifies key issues impacting schools and works with legislative leaders to bring about positive change for students.


MREA works to keep leaders informed on legislative changes, show the impact and how they can use their voice to make a difference.


MREA partners with a variety of organizations and individuals to address issues and provide better opportunities for students.

You can help.

Talk to your legislators, and invite them to your schools and facilities.  Tell your story. Contact us today to learn more about how you get involved in MREA’s efforts.