MREA’s membership elected one new and re-elected two incumbent directors to positions open with the MREA Board of Directors as of January 1, 2023. With the Board also appointing one director, it welcomes two new faces to help represent and advocate for Greater Minnesota education.

New Directors

Doug Hazen
Minnesota Education Districts Assocation Representative

Doug_Hazen_MREABoardHazen was appointed by the Board to a four-year term to help represent the needs of education districts throughout Greater Minnesota. He has been with River Bend Education District in New Ulm for 14 years, the last 8 as Executive Director.  He has been a high school special education teacher and also has a master’s in school counseling. He earned his superintendent licensure from Mankato State University.

Rebecca PaluchRebecca (Becky) Paluch
School Board Representative, South Central Zone

Paluch was elected by membership to a four-year term 2023-2026. As a child she attended school in Ivanhoe (current pop. 550) and Hendricks and sends her children there currently. She is Chair of the Ivanhoe school board and has just started her third term on the Board. She is also active in the parent-teacher organization and substitute teaches.

Returning Directors

Jim Ferden
At-Large Representative, North Zone

Jim_Ferden_MREABoardFerden was re-elected to a 4-year term for 2023-2026. He is Chair of the Win-E-Mac school board and has served its Board for 14 years. He also serves on the Region 1 Joint Powers Board and the Board of Garden Valley Technologies. Ferden is starting his fifth year as an MREA director and has served as Secretary-Treasurer and President-Elect. He will be MREA Board President in 2023.

Michelle Rinke Koch
Teacher Representative, North Central Zone

Michelle Rinke KochRinke Koch was re-elected by membership to a new 4-year term ending in 2026. This will be her fifth year on the MREA Board. She has served on the MREA Board Executive Committee for two years and was Secretary-Treasurer in 2022. She is currently Dean of Students for Menahga Public Schools and coaches the UNC Speech team.