Minnesota Principals of the Year

2018 High School Principal of the Year

Mark Mischke, Buffalo High School

Mark Mischke has been an administrator for the past 15 years and the principal at Buffalo High School for the past decade. Mark has held several leadership roles in MASSP including representing Central Division as both President and MASSP Board of Director, E-12 Finance Committee, conference presenter on Alternatives to Suspension and currently serves as the Association’s Executive Committee Secretary. Mark’s constant focus on student needs and achievement has led to the creation and implementation of several programs including AVID, Bounce Back Project and the wRight Choice program. Faculty leaders share that one of Mark’s greatest strengths is his ability to engage staff in research as new programs are reviewed. “We feel like a team and all opinions and ideas are encouraged as we move to create innovative programs for students”.

Students share that because of Mr. Mischke’s leadership and caring, Buffalo High School is a safe and inclusive place to learn. A spring evaluation showed that 92% of students felt they had at least one adult at school to whom they could confide and 82% felt supported by other students. “I give my school an A+” shared a student, “Mr. Mischke is a great leader and always there to support us!” 

2018 Middle Level Principal of the Year

Matthew Aker, Discovery Middle School Alexandria

Matthew Aker has been an administrator for the past 15 years and the principal at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria for the past decade. Matt has been a very active MASSP member and served on the MASSP Board of Directors as well as the Western Division President. Perhaps nothing speaks better to Matt’s philosophy than the school motto; Every Student, Every Day. In the past few years a commitment to data based decisions has led to strong teacher leadership teams, Professional Learning Communities and the SNAP Initiative (Students Need Attention…Period!).

Students shared “Mr. Aker has a great love for his students and is able to see potential in everyone”. Programs such as A Day of Caring stress student development outside of the classroom and encourage all students to support community needs. Teachers share that Matt pushes everyone to grow professionally. “Matt constantly seeks input and works collaboratively to create programs and set building goals. He is very sensitive to the changing needs of staff and engages staff in the creation of innovative curriculum”. Parents point to programs such as You’re the Boss to prepare 8th graders for college and career readiness as creative initiatives that motivate students to explore their interests and plan their futures.

2017-2018 Assistant Principal of the Year

Jason Bakke, Century Middle School

Jason Bakke, dean of students at Century Middle School in Lakeville, has been named this year’s recipient of the Minnesota Assistant Principal of the Year Award, and is now eligible to be considered for the National Assistant Principal of the Year honors. Jason has been at Lakeville for the past 13 years and has been part of many dynamic changes that have positively impacted school climate and student achievement. Staff members share that work on two critical initiatives, WIN (What I need) and a strong model for PLCs have been critical to both staff and student growth. Several students and parents noted the creation of the Panther Prep program that supplements classroom instruction each month as a model of innovation and inspiration. Student leaders say Mr. Bakke’s daily greeting of “It’s a great day to be a Panther” motivate them to excel.

2016-2017 Assistant Principal of the Year

Angela Doll, Moorhead High School

Angela Doll, assistant principal at Moorhead High School, has been named this year’s recipient of the Minnesota Assistant Principal of the Year Award, and is now eligible to be considered for the National Assistant Principal of the Year honors. Angela has had a huge impact on the students and staff at Moorhead over the past four years. One critical initiative involved students with poor attendance. By focusing on creating an environment where students felt safe and respected and also strengthening relationships with these at-risk learners, Moorhead High School was able to reduce time lost to suspensions by over 75%. It is not surprising that staff members consider Angela’s ability to bond with “our most at-risk” students as one of her most important strengths.