Held In-Person and On-Demand

Nov. 14-16, 2021

Cragun’s on Gull Lake
Brainerd, Minnesota

2021 MREA Annual Conference

Rural Strong

Join us at the 2021 MREA Annual Conference as we celebrate the strength and impact of Greater Minnesota and share practices and programs for being #MNRuralStrong.

The MREA Annual Conference is the only conference in the state that brings together educators, administrators, school board members and other advocates across Greater Minnesota for quality professional development, networking, and career recognition.

We’re planning to host the 2021 conference through a hybrid approach with in-person and virtual experiences.


“I had great conversations with a variety of professionals—superintendents, principals, teachers, school board members. I LOVE the professional energy in celebrating and learning from success!”



  • Kick off celebration and awards ceremony honoring educators and the innovation we’re seeing in Greater Minnesota schools. Join in-person or via the livestream at 6:30 pm on Nov. 14.
  • Keynote speakers and general sessions on rural resiliency, strength and community vibrancy (available in-person and livestream)
  • Breakouts on a variety of relevant topics for teachers, school administrators and school board members
  • Gallery Walk of best practices for schools today

Submit Your Conference Proposal

Proposals for conference breakout sessions will be accepted through Sunday, May 9. Package your best education practices, ideas and solutions into a 50- or 75-minute workshop and submit your proposal to present at this year’s conference. Learn more.


Sunday, Nov. 14

4:00 pm         Check-in & Registration

5:30 pm         Social & Connections

6:00 pm         Awards Banquet

7:30 pm         Dessert Reception

Monday, Nov. 15

8:15 am           Opening Keynote

10:00 am         Breakout Sessions

11:05 am          Breakout Sessions

12:00 pm          Lunch

1:30 pm            Breakout Sessions

2:45 pm            Mindstorm

4:15 pm            Legislative Lessons

5:30 pm            Gallery Walk Vendor Show, Social & Dinner

Tuesday, Nov. 16

7:00 am           Breakfast

8:15 am            Breakout Sessions

9:30 am           Closing Speaker

10:30 am         Annual Meeting

11:00 am         Closing & Giveaways

Ron Berger

Rural Strong

Ron Berger is Chief Academic Officer for EL Education, a nonprofit school improvement organization that partners with public schools across America and creates open educational resources. He is a well-known speaker nationally and internationally on inspiring a commitment to quality, character and citizenship in students. Ron will share how to make your rural community a source of learning and your school the center of your community.


Sam Walseth

Legislative Lessons: What’s Next for Rural Schools?

Sam Walseth has logged 21 legislative sessions lobbying at the Minnesota State Capitol and leading successful coalitions to improve equity in educational opportunities for rural students. He will provide an insider’s perspective on the 2021 legislative activities and share what’s next for rural schools.


Dick Beardsley

Staying the Course

Dick Beardsley is a best-selling author, renowned marathon runner and motivational speaker. His performance at the 1982 Boston Marathon is still considered one of the greatest marathons races of all time. The Duluth native is best known for tying for first place in the inaugural 1981 London Marathon and his close finish with in the 1982 Boston Marathon. Dick will talk about overcoming, being resilient and emerging stronger after tough times. 


Check back soon for registration details.

We will be requesting proposals for breakout sessions in April. Contact us to learn more.

Presented by: