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
Math Teacher, Win-E-Mac Schools
Jessica Strom has flipped her high school math classroom to allow her students to become the problem solvers and teach one another. It’s been a lightbulb moment for her students and other educators who have seen it in action.
Dragon Academy Instructor, Pine City Public Schools
Ryan Larson started a new academy inside his school district’s middle and high schools to provide a new approach to inter-disciplinary learning. The results have been life-changing for students.
Science Teacher, Plainview-Elgin-Milville Schools
Tony McGee teaches by walking around, asking good questions and engaging students in new, hands-on experiences once limited to schools in large metropolitan areas — like a mobile lab through a partnership with the Mayo Clinic.
Science Teacher, Westbrook-Walnut Grove Schools
Patrick Merrick helps students learn what they thought they couldn’t. He believes in them and constantly develops new science classes and community projects to engage students. He brings science to life with his humor and applications.
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?
- Collaboration — Who worked on developing this program with your school?
- Ease of Adaptability — How can other districts replicate this program?
Nominate a Program or Practice
Deadline for entries is April 3, 2019. Winning programs will be recognized at MREA’s Annual Conference Banquet in November.
Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.
2018 Exemplary Programs
Restaurant & Culinary Skills Academy
Aitkin Public Schools
A desire to teach students basic food preparation skills and allow them to explore potential career opportunities led Aitkin High School to develop a Restaurant and Culinary Skills Academy.
Learning Innovation Grant Program
Kasson-Mantorville School District
Kasson-Mantorville School District developed a Learning Innovation Grant Program to provide up to $50,000 in grants for PreK-12 instructors interested in exploring ways to deepen relationships with students, advance instruction and increase student achievement.
Marshall County Central Public Schools
A lot can be learned in the outdoors. A partnership between Marshall County Central Public Schools and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing students to step into nature to learn everything from science and math to social students, art and photography.
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 June 1, 2019. Winning programs will be recognized at MREA’s Annual Conference Banquet in November.
Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.
Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter
For over a decade, Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter has been a dynamic voice in the education field, working to prepare future teachers and to advocate for new programs to meet needs for K-12 schools across Minnesota.
As a professor at Southwest Minnesota State University and leader on a variety of state education boards, she’s known for her innovative thinking, collaborations with multiple organizations and elevating the field of teaching.
Among her most recent accomplishments was her visioning to create and gain legislative approval for a para-to-teacher program as a non-traditional pathway for mid-career individuals to join the profession.