There are many leaders working behind the scenes and on the front lines to advocate for Greater Minnesota students and rural education. MREA recognizes one of these key leaders each year with the Distinguished Service Award.
The MREA Board established the Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and seeks to recognize individuals who have 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
2015 Honoree: Dr. Tom Melcher, Director of Finance at MDE
Dr. Tom Melcher brings important data and analysis to the issues to help illuminate needs and drive change in education policy in Minnesota. Melcher has dedicated his professional career to high-quality service in financial formulas and reporting, along with equity in funding for students across Minnesota. He is the Director of the Program Finance Division at the Minnesota Department of Education. He came to Minnesota from Florida in 1979, where he earned his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Florida. Read more about Dr. Tom Melcher.