Summer Conference Program

Welcome to the 2023 Summer Conference and Breezy Point Resort

We are pleased to present you with a program of outstanding professional topics and an opportunity for you to spend some quality time with friends and network with colleagues. Click here for a downloadable Program Schedule.

Wednesday Concurrent Session Descriptions

Wednesday, June 14

10:30 - 11:25 AM & 11:30 AM - 12:25 PM

Minnesota School Board Association – Latest Policies

Terry Morrow, MSBA Director of Legal and Policy Services

This presentation will focus upon the MSBA Model Student Handbook, using the handbook as a springboard for discussing key issues facing Minnesota school administrators. Emerging issues will be covered, including AI and overdose medication. In addition, we will talk about policies and handbook provisions undergoing change, including cell phone rules, dress codes, and more.

Building from Within: Engaging and Supporting New Teachers

Andrew Frosch, Assistant Principal – Coon Rapids High School
John Pena, Coon Rapids High School
Deb Geiger, Coon Rapids High School
Jon Young, Coon Rapids High School

In this session, we’ll share about our work to build a new teacher development program that supports our newest staff members by anticipating their unique needs, setting up regular opportunities to dialogue and reflect with other new teachers, veteran teachers, and students, and creating focused mentor partnerships. While still a work in progress, we’re hoping to share what we’ve done and collaborate with others doing this important work.

Controlling Your Narrative: Why Student Experience Matters Now More Than Ever

Scott Gengler, Principal – Wayzata High School
Greg Sowden, Assistant Principal – Wayzata High School

During the pandemic, when most of the schools were moving to distance or hybrid models of learning, we took a different path at Wayzata High School that ultimately focused on student experience. Why? Because the narrative around education was changing and becoming more polarized and political, especially as it correlates to our work around equity. Equity is embedded in the student experience, and it shouldn't be complex or political. It's actually rather simple and purposeful. At Wayzata High School, we work purposefully and strategically to meet the needs of all students, individually, regardless of race, class, gender, or ability. We focus on their individual experience as it correlates to opportunities, expectations, and aspirations. Come see how this work has evolved over the past few years and how it is now yielding significant results.

School Safety – Lessons Learned & Thinking Ahead

Brian Boothe, Assistant Principal – East Ridge High School – Woodbury
Jason Gonnion, Assistant Principal – East Ridge High School – Woodbury

Safety never takes a day off. The goal of this session is to have time with other leaders to discuss important lessons we have all learned regarding safety within our schools and how we can collaborate together to improve the lived experiences of our students, staff, and community. We will work through specific case studies regarding emergency situations, discuss best practices, and share experiences from across the state.

Developing Student Leadership around Suicide and Mental Health

Aaron Nelson, Principal – Pequot Lakes High School
Janet Hennies, Parent Advocate – REEL

Following a couple of tragic deaths and numerous mental health concerns, Pequot Lakes High School students organized a group focused on taking action to address Mental Health issues in school. This student group partnered with caring adults in the local community to form the REEL North Alliance, a student led suicide prevention and mental health advocacy group. REEL North Alliance has organized student activities, school to school competitions, student section dress up nights, merchandise sales, and education activities that bring the issues of teen mental health to the surface.

Minding our P’s and Q’s

Dr. Tim Anderson, Principal – South View Middle School – Edina

In their book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum contend that continuous innovation is not a luxury anymore—it has become a necessity. Inspired by the need to innovate, much of our work at South View Middle School (SVMS) in Edina, MN, has centered around strategies in our own effort to improve teaching and learning through personalization. In a relatively short time, we have transformed our work to create independent learners in meaningful ways. This session will explore the leadership moves we made in transforming our school. Also, we will review particular ways to manage change and explore what works – and what does not – when shifting schools in the post-pandemic era.

Creating and Sustaining a Pathways Culture in your High School without Having to Spend Money

Tim Rohweder, Principal – Proctor High School

Do you want your students to graduate with a plan instead of just planning to graduate? This session will provide ways to develop a culture in your school where your students, teachers, and staff members all work toward the same goal of providing students with opportunities to explore and experience authentic learning around many different career areas within and outside the school walls without having to purchase programs or products. Through creative partnerships and the bundling of resources within different departments in your school, you can create an identity for your school where students and parents want to be because they know you are preparing them for what comes next.

Error Correction Masters (10:30 Session Only)

Jim Gillach, Associate Principal – Chisago Lakes Middle School

Primarily for those who deal with student discipline on a daily basis. Join the group as we look at scenarios regarding working with students, parents and families. Also reflecting on your own experience as a student and how that experience affects how you do this work. Some alternatives for consequences will be discussed as well. It will be a discussion packed hour!

Getting Started in Your Role – AP/Dean/New Principals (11:30 Session Only)

Jim Gillach, Associate Principal – Chisago Lakes Middle School

Come join us as we brainstorm "what would you do in this situation?" scenarios that might help you in these first years as an Administrator. Some of the keys to working with your Principal (if you are an AP/Dean), Superintendent, School Board and parents. Primarily designed for APs and Deans, this session may be useful for beginning principals as well. It will be a discussion packed hour!

Wednesday, June 14

1:30 - 2:35 PM & 2:30 - 3:25 PM

MSHSL Direction and Updates (1:30 Session Only)

Erich Martens, Minnesota State High School League

The MSHSL has over 500 high schools and serves well over 100,000 students across the state. Attendees will encounter the newest information from the Minnesota State High School League about the current state of MSHSL Activities and Athletics as well as the work ahead. Primary topics will include working with students in our activities and athletics, implementation of new programs and opportunities, financial updates and focus areas for the year ahead. Information and discussions from the Principal’s Advisory Committee will also be shared. Interaction with attendees is a priority of this session and question and answer is always a priority for those in attendance. Please attend ready to discuss, provide feedback and share your questions.

Minnesota School Board Association – Latest Policies (2:30 Session Only)

Terry Morrow, MSBA Director of Legal and Policy Services

This presentation will focus upon the MSBA Model Student Handbook, using the handbook as a springboard for discussing key issues facing Minnesota school administrators. Emerging issues will be covered, including AI and overdose medication. In addition, we will talk about policies and handbook provisions undergoing change, including cell phone rules, dress codes, and more.

How to Tell You're Ready for the Next Step

Deb Henton, Executive Director – MASA
Lori Zimmerman, Director of Professional Learning – MASA

You're already a school leader – how do you know when you're ready for the "next step" in school leadership – the superintendency? What if you think you're ready, but you know there are things you don't know? Join us to talk about MASA's Aspiring Superintendent's Academy and how that learning might support you in making the decision to seek a new leadership role with even broader impact on students, families and your community.

Using Your SRO to Teach "Intro to Law Enforcement”

Nancy Bonnifield, High School Principal – Kimball High School
Brian Theisen, Officer – Stearns County Sheriff’s Department

Have you ever thought about using your School Resource Officer to teach a class? Officer Theisen, under a Tier 1 license, teaches an Intro to Law Enforcement class to Gr 11-12 students. We will address common questions about licensing, curriculum, liability, what happens if there's an emergency, etc. Time will be dedicated to small group discussions about how you use your SRO in your school.

Electives that Work: Repurposing Career and Technical Education Courses Toward Specific Career Spheres

Tyler Shepard, Associate Principal – Wayzata High School

Learn how Wayzata High School offers hands-on learning opportunities, professional connections and a chance to develop important skills that prepare students for college, careers and life through 70 unique courses organized by spheres of interest – Career Spheres.

Phone Free Schools: From Distracted to Engaged!

Leah Bourg, Principal – South St. Paul Middle School
Alex Simmons, Education Partnerships Manager – St. Paul

South St. Paul Middle School was struggling with student phone use. Students were distracted in class, fights were being scheduled and recorded, and staff were exhausted from being the phone police. Then, we made our school phone free with a revised policy and lockable phone pouches. Here, we will explain how we went from a frustrated staff and distracted student body, to a school where teachers focus on student achievement and students focus on learning.

Building a School Improvement Plan for Success

Tim Feine, Principal – Andover High School
Tina Tamura, Assistant Principal – Andover High School

Andover High School will explain how they have redesigned their school improvement process to allow staff to take more of an active role. Staff were invited to join this leadership model in an area where they are passionate, while still remaining student focused in the process. This new design has created a living document that guides all of the professional development and school initiatives throughout the school year.

“Why BARR?” An Administrator's Perspective

Josh Omang, Principal – Detroit Lakes High School
Dick Ungar, Director of Engagement – BARR Center

This presentation will cover how the Building Assets Reducing Risks (BARR) program can help to transform your school culture into one that gets results with all students. Topics covered will include: why your staff deserves a great culture, how BARR helps to inspire greatness, how the BARR model ties everything together, what kinds of data school leaders can collect to make a difference, and more!

Using Your Equity Lens as a School Leader

Todd Van Erp, Principal Leadership Support – Western Lakes RCE – Lakes Country Service Cooperative
Kari Ross, Principal Leadership Support – Northern Sky RCE – Northwest Service Cooperative

School leadership includes education resource equity. This is what we do and believe to make sure that school unlocks every child's power to live a life of their choosing—and that race and family income no longer predict a student's life trajectory. This session will explore equity in your current context, and the 10 Dimensions of Educational Equity resource to help support your work.

Thursday Concurrent Session Descriptions

Thursday, June 15

10:30 - 11:25 AM & 11:30 AM - 12:25 PM

What is ChatGPT and Where is AI Headed? ChatGPT in Your Schools

Anthony Padrnos, Executive Director of Technology – Osseo Schools
Sean Beaverson, Director of Technology – Orono Schools
Eric Simmons, Director of Technology – Chisago Lake Schools

This session will focus on the use of Generative AI, specifically the ChatGPT service, in K-12 education. District tech leaders will engage in a guided conversation to provide attendees an overview of ChatGPT and its potential benefits for personalized learning experiences, improved communication channels, and more efficient administrative processes. The presenters will also discuss the history of technology disruptions, such as the rise of video in 2006, and how these disruptions can lead to greater opportunities for students, staff, and society.

TRA: A Mid-Career View (10:30 Session Only)

Dan Dixon, Director of Member Communication and Outreach – TRA

The Mid-Career presentation is geared toward mid-career school administrators looking to find out more about TRA and what we offer. The presentation will explain benefits available to members both pre- and post-retirement and demonstrate how to use their online account.

TRA: Planning for Retirement? (11:30 Session Only)

Dan Dixon, Director of Member Communication and Outreach – TRA

The Planning for Retirement presentation is tailored to those members within two to five years of retirement to provide information about the retirement process. The presentation will explain how your benefit is calculated, the choices you make about your benefits and the steps to retire.

Dr. J Skates – One Story of Resilience

Dr. Albert Johnson Jr. Ed. D, Principal – Two Rivers High School – Mendota Heights

Many times we are able to see the end result of someone's journey. For it is in the struggles that resilience is birthed. It is through the ongoing building of resilience that I've been able to achieve all that I have up to this point. So to that end, let me take you back to the beginning, to the "why" of my dropping out of high school and the journey to becoming Dr. Johnson.

Yes And…Social Emotional Learning through Applied Improvisation

Kelly Kautz, Co-founder – MNprov
Michael Bruckmueller, Co-founder – MNprov

How can you create a supportive learning environment that reinforces listening, accepting, supporting, taking risks and letting go of mistakes? “Yes, and . . . ” is the big idea in improvisation that allows students to strengthen their social emotional competencies. Students celebrate their strengths and interests, while also practicing the social-emotional skills they may find challenging. In this interactive session you will experience improv games, and learn how these games support mental wellness and incorporate Trauma Informed Practices.

Developing Innovative Work Experience Opportunities to Solve Post-Pandemic Challenges

Tyler Shepard, Associate Principal – Wayzata High School

Learn how we implemented student work experience opportunities to solve our post-pandemic hiring challenges and the outcomes which benefited our students, staff, and community.

Growing Student Leaders

Danette Seboe, Principal – Duluth East High School
Kyle Rock, Assistant Principal – Duluth East High School
Jon Flaa, Assistant Principal – Duluth East High School

Duluth East has an incredibly active student body. We have been working with intentionality on evaluating everything we do at East, including student clubs and events, through equity and accessibility lenses. We identified a need for student voice and leadership through this process and for a way to create student leaders who could use a structure to become the final decision making body for events and clubs after being trained. Our POV (Point Of View) student group is made up of the leaders from all of our advocacy and leadership groups. All building administrators meet twice per month with this group to evaluate and approve all activities and themes and to have open dialogue about student life at East High School. In this session we will share tools and resources used by the group as well as the structures we have established internally and throughout the school.

Can I get a BI?

Steve Drewlo, Assistant Principal – Blaine High School – Anoka Hennepin
Tony Boos, Behavior Intervention Co-Lead – Blaine High School
Jessika Brustuen, Behavior Intervention Co-Lead – Blaine High School

The BI program at Blaine High School aims to restore the school's culture and empower individuals in navigating life's systems by ensuring a secure and inclusive educational environment. They implement visible measures such as action plans and cognitive coaching through restorative chats and circles, and work with staff on behavior management support while refining the MLC process. Additionally, they gather data to inform future programming and collaborate with the MTSS team to provide interventions for students facing education barriers.

MDE – Non-Exclusionary Discipline

Suzan Samaha, EDI Center Assistant Director – Safe and Supportive Schools Supervisor

This session will focus on what is non-exclusionary discipline. We will share research on non-exclusionary discipline practices. By the end of the session, participants will have a broad understanding of non-exclusionary practices and an introduction to the implementation of these practices.

Breezy Point Resort Conference Rooms

Breezy Point Floor Diagram

MASSP Conference Presenters

Dr. Tim Anderson has served as building principal for seven years and was executive director for eight years prior. A former social studies teacher, he works to find practical ways to translate the research into action for leaders and programs. He received his doctorate in educational administration from the University of MN, has two kids and a wife who teaches at St. Catherine's University. He likes sports, exercise and green tea.

Dr. Marcus Belin serves as the Principal of Huntley High School, National Association of Secondary School Principals Board Member, and Immediate Past President of the Illinois Principals Association. Recently Dr. Belin was awarded the 2021 National Association of Secondary School Principals Digital Principal of the Year and was named an ASCD International Emerging Leader.

Nancy Bonnifield has been walking the halls of Kimball Area High School for 24 years, but only five as Principal. Before serving as Principal, she was a business teacher. This is her first time at the Summer Conference.

Tony Boos, Blaine High School's Behavior Intervention Co-Lead, strives to instill in students the key qualities of resilience, responsibility, and integrity for success while nurturing Bengal pride. He is incredibly focused on building a Behavior Intervention program that can be implemented throughout the district.

Brian Boothe has been an Assistant Principal at East Ridge High School since 2019. Prior to his time at ERHS, he was a social studies teacher in rural Minnesota and Las Vegas, Nevada, and he served as the Director of Professional Development and Accountability for the South Washington County School District.

Leah Bourg is Principal of South St. Paul Middle School, where she started in July 2020. She has been a secondary teacher in the metro since 2002. She is passionate about helping students and staff reach their goals. Leah and her family live in West St. Paul.

Michael Bruckmueller is a teaching artist with 25+ years of experience in theatrical improvisation. He is the Director of Education at CSz Twin Cities and does freelance coaching and instruction. Bruckmueller is a co-founder of MNprov and provides applied improvisation workshops focused on strengthening students' social, emotional, and communication skills.

Daniel Dixon is Director of Member Communication and Outreach at Teachers Retirement Association. With seven years of state service experience, he loves to serve educators’ needs and assist them in understanding their pension benefits.

Steve Drewlo has dedicated 30 years of service to Blaine High School, driven by a mission to enhance the school climate for both staff and students. With an eye to the future, he works tirelessly to leave a positive legacy that will benefit countless generations to come.

Tim Feine is currently the Principal of Andover High School. He earned his Bachelor's Degree at the University of St. Thomas in Health Education and his Master's Degree and K-12 Administrative Licensure at St. Mary's University. This is his 26th year as an educator in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Jon Flaa is an Assistant Principal at Duluth East and has been in this AP role for 11 years. Prior to this he was a special education teacher and social studies teacher in the district.

Andrew Frosch taught social studies at Anoka High School and is now an assistant principal at Coon Rapids High School.

Scott Gengler has been a high school principal for the past 22-years serving schools ranging from 500 to 3700 students. For the past 9-years, he has been the principal at Wayzata High School. Scott has been in education for 29-years working in private, rural and suburban high schools. He believes that cultivating a positive school culture and improving the experience for students, staff and families is a principal's ultimate responsibility.

Jim Gillach taught American History for 13 years before becoming a Dean of Students for 6 years at the same school – Chisago Lakes Middle School. He was the Teacher of the Year in 1999 and was the Minnesota History Day Teacher of the Year in 2000. Jim spent 4 years as an AP at Oak-Land Junior High in Stillwater, 1 year in Forest Lake as a Jr. High AP and came back to Chisago Lakes in 2016 as an AP once again at CLMS. He has been here in Chisago Lakes as an AP at the Middle School ever since.

Jason Gonnion has been an Assistant Principal and School Emergency Response Team lead at East Ridge HS since 2017. Prior to this assignment, he was an Activities Director at Woodbury HS for 6 years and a Dean of Students at Forest Lake HS for 3 years.

Janet Hennies is a mother, personally impacted by suicide, and an advocate for teens struggling with mental health. She has turned the tragic experience of suicide into a mission of educating teens that help is available.

Deb Henton serves as the Executive Director of MASA. Coming from the social studies classroom and serving in roles that include assistant principal, principal, chief of staff and superintendent, she is dedicated to ensuring Minnesota's students and districts have the best in leadership that is representative of our communities and committed to meeting each student where they are and making sure they have the skills needed for whatever they choose to do next.

Dr. Albert Johnson is currently the principal at Two Rivers High School in Mendota Heights, MN. Dr. Johnson started his career in sales, but realized he had a passion for education. Johnson served seven years in the St. Cloud school district in various roles, including principal at McKinley and Apollo High School and director of equity services. He also spent two years as the site administrator at Humboldt High School in West St. Paul. Johnson also served five years as an equity integration specialist in Hopkins, MN Dr Johnson has a bachelor's and master's degree from Northwestern University of St. Paul and holds a doctorate in education from Bethel University.

Kelly Kautz is a national board-certified special education teacher with 25+ years of experience. She is a MNprov co-founder and provides professional development for educators and service providers to allow them to use applied improvisation strategies to support their students' social, emotional and communication growth.

Erich Martens is in his third year as the Executive Director of the Minnesota State High School League. He has served as high school principal in Sauk Centre and in Sauk Rapids-Rice. In 2013, he was selected as the Minnesota High School Principal of the Year. He has served on numerous committees including the NASSP Committee on School Contests, Programs and Activities, Region 8AA Committee and was the MASSP Central Division President. He served on the Board of Directors for the MSHSL from 2012 to 2016 and was the Board President in 2015-2016. He also served on MASSP’s Board of Directors and has been a presenter at numerous previous MASSP conferences.

Terry Morrow is the Policy and Legal Services Director for the Minnesota School Boards Association and a Nicollet County Commissioner. He is a former member and chair of the St. Peter School Board and the Minnesota Valley Education District. Morrow served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for three terms, serving on the K-12 Education, Higher Education, Agriculture, Transportation, and other committees. At Gustavus Adolphus College, Terry taught communication studies for 18 years. For three years, Morrow was the Legislative Director and Legal Counsel for the Uniform Law Commission.

Aaron Nelson is the High School Principal at Pequot Lakes High School.

Josh Omang is the Principal at Detroit Lakes High School. He has had several roles in education over the past 20 years in both large suburban schools and now back home in Detroit Lakes. DLHS has completed their 2nd year of implementation with the BARR program.

Anthony Padrnos is an innovative educator pushing the boundaries for how technology can redefine education. He has been in public education for over 15 years as a teacher, digital learning coach, and administrator. Anthony is currently serving as the Executive Director of Technology for Osseo Area Schools.

Kyle Rock is an Assistant Principals at Duluth East. Kyle is in his 5th year as an AP at East. Prior to this he was the Dean at East and has worked as a special education teacher in the district.

John Pena is the Principal at Coon Rapids HS; Deb Geiger is a former English teacher, AVID Coordinator and now Media Specialist and PD Coordinator at Coon Rapids HS; Jon Young is a former special education teacher and now Achievement Coach at Coon Rapids HS

Tim Rohweder has been the Principal at Proctor high school for 11 years and has served the MASSP as a Northeast Division representative on the MSHSL Principal Advisory Committee for 4 years and currently serves as the secretary for the Northeast Division. Tim has worked as an advocate for CTE programming and funding and has developed numerous community partners to bring a Pathways culture to his school.

Kari Ross works with school, district, and regional leaders to increase leadership capacity and change predictable academic outcomes for marginalized learners. She is an educational leader and Principal Leadership Support team member working with schools and districts to create learning environments where students thrive.

Suzan Samaha – Minnesota Department of Education, EDI Center Assistant Director – Safe and Supportive Schools Supervisor.

Joe Schmit is an award-winning broadcaster, community leader, author and popular keynote speaker. As a sports broadcaster he has covered every major sporting event in the past 4 decades and has interviewed many of the biggest names in sports. He joined KSTP-TV in 1985 and has won 18 Emmys from the National Television Academy. In 2020, Joe was awarded The Silver Circle designation by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the Emmys for extraordinary contributions to the broadcasting industry. He was honored with a National Headliner Award in 2001. Joe is also an author of two books: “Silent Impact” and “The Impact Blueprint.”

Danette Seboe is the Principal at Duluth East High School. With 12 years in principal roles, 7 of them at East, and a background in School Counseling, she has experience in both small and large school settings.

Tyler Shepard has been an Associate Principal at Wayzata High School since 2016. Prior to that, he was a Dean of Students and a Computer/IT teacher. Tyler grew up in Onalaska, WI. He attended Winona State University (BS), Minnesota School of Business (MS), and U of MN (Principal Licensure).

Alex Simmons is a former Dean of Culture at a high school in Boston, MA. He returned back home to MN in 2017, at which time he joined Yondr to help make schools phone free. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and 16 month old daughter.

Greg Sowden is an Associate Principal at Wayzata High School. He is in his fourteenth year in education and sixth as an administrator. Greg began his career teaching English and coaching multiple sports. He believes in the value of positive relationships in helping students and staff reach their goals.

Tina Tamura is currently an Assistant Principal at Andover High School. She earned her Bachelor's Degree at the College of Saint Benedict and her Master's Degree in Literacy at Bethel University. She also earned her K-12 Administrative Licensure at Minnesota State University - Mankato. This is her 17th year as an educator in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Officer Brian Theisen has served with the Stearns County Sheriff's Department for 22 years. His roles have included patrol deputy, drug task force, SWAT team member, honor guard member, and now School Resource Officer.

Dick Ungar has more than 30 years of experience in public education, having most recently served as a high school principal, Dick is dedicated to helping teachers build meaningful relationships with their students.

Todd Van Erp has been a middle and high school Science teacher for 12 years, as well as a school administrator for 11 years before coming to the Western Lakes RCE. Todd is energized when he gets to support and coach principals and school leadership teams in all aspects of their work. His motto in his work is that "All we can do, is all we can do."

Lori Zimmerman serves as the Director of Professional Learning for MASA. Coming from the elementary classroom and serving in roles that include leadership in alternative and Setting IV programs, she is dedicated to providing quality professional learning opportunities for Minnesota's school leaders.

Click here to download the 2021 Summer Conference Program

Special thank you to Northern Division for hosting the 2023 Summer Conference.

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