Each year MREA recognizes leaders who are delivering results for schools in Greater Minnesota through its Educators of Excellence, Innovation, 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 Past Award Recipients

Nominate an Educator

Nominations are currently closed.
Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.

2023 Educators of Excellence Award Honorees

South Central

Carin Hagemeyer

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa School District

For 42 years, Carin Hagemeyer has been making the 60-minute drive each way to teach in the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa School District. Her passion and commitment for her students can easily be seen within the school building. The respect Carin has earned in her four decades of teaching is evident as she connects with students of all ages, teaching them real-life skills from her classroom.

See her story


Kristin Doeden

Worthington School District

Known for going the extra mile for her students, Kristin Doeden is a leader in her classroom, school building, and district. Kris continuously goes out of her way to help her students, many of whom are from immigrant families, feel welcomed, respected, and supported. Kris’s impact can also be seen in the way she’s helped create avenues for paraprofessionals to achieve their license – helping fill a much-needed gap in Worthington.

See her story

North Central

Angie Hurtig

Bertha-Hewitt School District

There’s no shortage of energy when you walk into Angie Hurtig’s second grade classroom at Bertha-Hewitt Public Schools . Her hands-on teaching style gives her students a unique, interactive learning experience that is often remembered for a lifetime. From Hurtig’s Hospital to Camping Week, Angie’s creativity and love of teaching shines bright.

See her story


Melissa Oberg

Cook County School District

After leaving the corporate world searching for something more meaningful, Melissa Oberg fell in love with teaching special education at Cook County Public Schools. Her impact is significant, and her care for her students is obvious. Melissa helps equip students with skills and connect them to meaningful work within the Grand Marais community, all while ensuring each student feels loved, seen, and respected.

See her story

Thank You to These MREA Award Sponsors

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Innovation 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?
View Past Award Recipients

Nominate a Program

Thank you for your interest in nominating an Innovative program! The deadline to nominate is February 29, 2024.
Questions? Call the MREA Office at (320) 762-6574.

Nominate a Program

2023 Innovation Program Award Honorees

Prairie Science Program

Fergus Falls School District

Fourth and fifth graders in the Fergus Falls Public School District have a unique opportunity to participate in the Prairie Science Program. This program takes place on the 300+ acres of prairie wetlands that are only a few miles from the elementary school.

Learn More

Nature Based Kindergarten Experience

Kasson-Mantorville School District

Kindergarteners in Kasson Mantorville are immersing themselves in the hands-on lessons of nature on Wilderness Wednesdays. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, teachers Kelly Schmidt and Megan Melhouse bring their classes of Kindergarteners outside to learn.

Learn More

Awards News

View Past Award Recipients