MREA each year recognizes leaders who are delivering results for schools in Greater Minnesota through its Educators of Excellence, Profiles of Excellence and Distinguished Service awards.

Educators of Excellence Award

MREA presents the Educator of Excellence Awards to recognize, reward, and promote excellence in education that achieves the highest outcomes for Greater Minnesota students. This award honors inspiring educators who demonstrate:

  • Positive impact on students and student achievement
  • Leadership in the school, district and community
  • Innovative and creative instructional practice that impact all students
  • Collaborative efforts with fellow educators, parents, families and the community

View eligibility and nominate.

Nominate an Educator

Nominations for 2018 Educators of Excellence must be received by May 18, 2018Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.

Nominate an Educator

2017 Honorees


Susan Akre

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Coordinator,  Deer River Schools

Focused on data-driven approaches, Susan Akre is getting results for students and helping teachers in northern Minnesota do the same. The teachers under her tutelage saw three grades increase in proficiency by nearly 20 percent each and four other grades improve by almost 30 percent per grade…

Read More

North Central

Angela Hartman

Business Teacher and Academic Advisor, Underwood High School

As a business teacher, Angela Hartman believes it is her job to equip students for the workforce. This has meant restructuring the courses available at the school, honing in on professional computer skills, career research and planning, and personal finance and economics…

Read More


Melissa Klapperich

Sixth Grade Teacher, Cannon Falls Public Schools

Melissa Klapperich enlivens the traditional junior high history and social study lessons with Interactive Notebooks, the making of parfleche bags, extensive fur exhibits to learn about the fur trade and other hands-on, tactile learning experiences…

Read More

South Central

Roger Ebnet

Second Grade Teacher, Benson Public Schools

For nearly 30 years Roger Ebnet has invested in the individual success of each of his second grade students and the community they all live in. He gains funds to provide unforgettable experiences in the classroom and in his community…

Read More
View Past Award Recipients

Profile of Excellence Award

From Ada to Zumbrota, across Greater Minnesota, MREA wants to know about members’ programs that serve as examples of innovative educational opportunities for our rural students. What are the compelling practices or programs at your school or educational organization? Programs throughout MREA member districts are nominated and then selected by the MREA Board of Directors based on these core criteria:

  • Innovation — What made this program unique?
  • Benefit to Students — How did your students benefit from this program?
  • Collaborative Effort — What other individuals, groups and/or agencies worked on developing this program?
  • Ease of Adaptability — How can other districts replicate this program?

Nominate a Program or Practice

Deadline for entries is Friday, May 18, 2018. Winning programs will be recognized at MREA’s Annual Conference Banquet in November.
Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.

Nominate a program

2017 Exemplary Programs

Three Chamber Classroom

Yellow Medicine East Schools

A desire for multi-disciplinary research and exploration resulted in the development of a unique three-chamber classroom in the school parking lot at Yellow Medicine East High School.

Learn More

Fabrication Arts Lab

Kelliher Public Schools

Kelliher students create cutting edge industry products that rival those produced in the commercial world in their high school’s fabrication arts lab. It provides opportunities to collaborate and connect with the community.

Learn More

Life Story Book Project

Fosston Public Schools

The Life Story Book Project brought together 10th Grade Language Arts students with residents of two of the town’s nursing home and assisted living centers. It led to the production and gifting of two dozen memory books.

Learn More
View Past Award Recipients

Distinguished Service Award

There are many leaders working behind the scenes and on the front lines to advocate for Greater Minnesota students and rural education. Each year, MREA recognizes one of these key leaders who has demonstrated contributions in one or more of the following areas:

  • Development of leadership potential of rural youth and adults in a rural district or region
  • Enhancement of rural community development
  • Support and assist in furthering the effectiveness of communications between local school districts and business/industry, governmental agencies, and/or institutions of higher education
  • Facilitation of sharing and partnerships among schools and between schools and the private sector
  • Support of legislation to enhance rural school/education
  • Recognition and support of exemplary practices and individuals
  • Promotion and advocacy of rural education
  • Leadership in the development of rural education-related conferences and workshops

Nominate an Individual

Deadline for entries is Friday, June 15, 2018. Winning programs will be recognized at MREA’s Annual Conference Banquet in November.
Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.

Download Nomination Form

Recent Honoree

Rep. Sondra Erickson and Sen. Eric Platt

MREA honors Rep. Sondra Erickson and Sen. Eric Platt for helping forge a path for teacher licensure reform during the 2017 legislative session. They developed and led legislation that created a new licensure structure that provides much needed clarity and flexibility for school districts and makes it easier for them to attract teachers.

Rep. Erickson of Princeton is serving her 10th non-consecutive term and was chief author of the bill in the House. As a retired English teacher, she understood the need for legislation such as this to continue to sufficiently staff the schools of Greater Minnesota.

Sen. Platt of Prior Lake is serving in his 2nd term and has a special interest in the area of education. He was chief author of the bill in the Senate.

“Teacher shortages are rampant and the new licensure structure provides avenues for non-traditional and out-of-state candidates to attain licensure in Minnesota,” said Sam Walseth, MREA Director of Legislative Affairs. “This legislation has a direct impact on our schools’ ability to attract quality teachers and it would not have been possible without the efforts of Rep. Erickson and Sen. Pratt.”

View Past Award Recipients

Award-Related News

一 Awards
November 5, 2017

MREA Honors Erickson, Pratt with Distinguished Service Award

Effectively staffing Greater Minnesota schools with teachers took a significant step forward this past year…
Read More