In this week’s article, I will cover two very different topics.  First, I would like to comment about the Leadership in Educational Excellence Awards.  In addition, I would like to extend an invitation to the public to offer feedback on our educational programs.



I would like to take time to share information about an annual recognition program in which the ROCORI School District participates.  The program, sponsored by our regional service center, Resource Training and Solutions, is intended to honor the work and service of teachers across Central Minnesota.  

The teaching event is affectionately known as the LEEAs—short for the Leadership in Educational Excellence Awards.



This award is intended to be a celebration of the successes of our district teaching, administrative, and other professional staff who meet the criteria.  As outlined in the criteria for the award, the ROCORI School District seeks to recognize exemplary performance and leadership qualities in the award nominees. Nominators are asked to view the recognition process as a means to honor staff who give “above and beyond the call” on behalf of students.

Any staff member in the school district is able to submit nominations for the award.  Previous award recipients, however, are not eligible to receive the award a second time.  The district does not break the award down by building, location, grade level or any other format, but does encourage a broad array of nominees and candidates for the recognition.



Because the award is intended to recognize exemplary performance, the nomination form includes a set of criteria to help staff members select or consider nominees.   The criteria offered as guidelines for the LEEA awards include:

The honorees must be administrators, nurses, full-time, licensed PK-12 classroom teachers, counselors, and specialists (media, speech, special education, gifted/talented, etc.)

The honoree should:

*serve as an example to inspire fellow colleagues, students, and their communities through positive leadership and attitude toward the educational field;

*possess a thorough knowledge of subject matter;

*demonstrate a leadership in curriculum development;

*provide a positive role model for students and staff;

*be an exemplary instructor who recognizes students as individuals and motivates them to reach their maximum potential;

*show genuine respect and concern for others;

*seek to improve personal and instructional effectiveness through continuing education and staff development activities; and

*contribute to the implementation of the district mission.



The ROCORI recipients, this year, are Mary Waite, Natalie Spengler, Haley Haroldson, Leah Blonigen.

Haley Haroldson is a Secondary Health and Physical Education teacher.  Most of her classes are in the Middle Level and Haley serves as a coach for several activities.  Mary Waite is the Secondary Media Center Coordinator, serving students in grades 6 through 12 as well as all staff in the building.  Cold Spring Elementary fifth grade teacher Leah Blonigen, and Middle School English/Language Arts teacher Natalie Spengler were also recognized for the work they do in their classrooms supporting and encouraging students!  Congratulations to our award recipients!



The ROCORI recipients were honored at a banquet at the St. Cloud River Center Convention site on Wednesday evening, October 25th.   Nearly 500 recipients, administrators, and guests gathered for the celebration to honor the 152 Central Minnesota Leadership in Educational Excellence Award winners! 

The program included remarks by Farmington Superintendent of Schools Jay Haugen.  Superintendent Haugen offered reflections on his educational experiences and the many reforms that have been applied in the pursuit of personalized and individualized education!  His core message was that our efforts in education must be geared to meet the needs of individual students rather than building around the needs of an institution.   

Congratulations to the ROCORI recipients on this leadership honor!



The ROCORI School District will host an early morning meeting during the month of November.  We are in the process of formalizing the date of the meeting but when the meeting is set, we are encouraging members of the public to attend. 

The meeting will include information about the ROCORI academic program at each building.  More importantly, those in attendance will have opportunity to ask questions about the academic program and offer feedback on our system.

The meeting is part of the district reporting process for the Minnesota Department of Education’s World’s Best Work Force (WBWF) initiative.  As part of the WBWF requirements, the district must share information about the academic work of the system.  Within the reporting process, community residents and parents must be afforded opportunity to comment about or offer feedback on the educational programs.

Community members are welcome, and encouraged, to participate with the meeting.  We will share details about the date and time as the meeting is finalized.