Mark French, principal at Rice Lake Elementary in the Osseo School District has been named as one of three finalists for Minnesota 2012 National Distinguished Principal.
"It is an honor to be nominated for something I love doing," French said in an email interview with Patch. "My nomination is representative of the great things happening at Rice Lake and the efforts of so many people, not just myself."
It’s the 29th year the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) have presented the award, according to a press release. French is also a member of MESPA.
"Being an elementary school principal is the best job in the world. I get to work with students, teachers, staff members, family members, district colleagues, and members of the community. It is a great match for my skills, abilities, and interests. Seeing students make gains, whether small or large, is very rewarding and knowing that I helped in some way is the reason I am an educator."
The National Distinguished Principals program recognize elementary and middle level principals who set “high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.”
Anoka-Hennepin principal Cheryl Kortuem nominated French from the North Suburban MESPA division, along with references from parents, peers, and supervisors.
A statewide selection committee reviewed his nomination in January, along with letters of reference, a written application, and a short video highlighting the programs at Rice Lake Elementary. French and two other finalists will be interviewed in early May before the committee chooses the 2012 Minnesota National Distinguished Principal.
Other finalists vying for the honor include the principal of Madelia Elementary School Mary Hanson (Madelia Public Schools) and Jon Millerhagen, principal of Washburn Elementary School (Bloomington Public Schools).
“At the helm of every successful school is a successful principal,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP executive director. “Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and their commitment to creating successful learning communities. Because of them, students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and communities are strengthened.”