MREA announced today that Jeremy Kovash and Dr. Boyd Bradbury  have been named the 2019 honorees of the Distinguished Service Award for their leadership, creativity and collaboration in creating a new statewide continuing education program for teachers.

When the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) raised the credentialing standards for high school teachers to teach concurrent enrollment, Kovash and Bradbury collaborated to find a solution. They led a partnership between their two organizations Lakes Country Service Cooperative and Minnesota State University Moorhead along with the Northwest Service Cooperative.

The result is 18 Online, a graduate initiative for high school teachers in Minnesota to gain the 18 credits they need to teach concurrent enrollment under the new credentialing standards – for free. Both tuition and books are covered and teachers anywhere in the state have access through the online program that includes flexible classes taught by MSUM faculty.

“There was tremendous angst and concern about the ability for schools to continue to provide these valuable college-level classes to high school students given the changes,” Nolan said. “How could teachers get what they need in such a short period of time? The obstacles were many, but Jeremy and Boyd worked swiftly to overcome them and provide a true asset to our state in the 18 Online program.”

Kovash and Bradbury worked through the details to make the process easier on teachers and gained support from the State Legislature. Minnesota House of Representatives bill H.F. 3326 and Senate bill S.F. No. 3062 provided $3 million in funding to provide curriculum development for the Northwest Regional Partnership continuing education program.

18 Online now offers concurrent enrollment credentialing courses in nine subject areas.

“Jeremy and Boyd did not just think about their communities when developing this program. They had a bigger vision to impact our state,” Nolan said. “18 Online has served hundreds of teachers in all six economic regions in Minnesota and as of this fall, enabled teachers to earn nearly 6,000 credits for their benefit and the benefit of students across our state.”

Kovash and Bradbury will be honored at an awards banquet on Nov. 18 at Cragun’s on Gull Lake near Brainerd.