Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association

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St. Paul, MN 55108

Contacts: Kelsey Gantzer, Communications Manager


Bill Gibbs, principal, Kenny Community School

Minneapolis Public Schools Principal, William (Bill) Gibbs

Receives Professional Leadership Award

(electronic photo attached to this news release)

Bill Gibbs

(St. Paul, MN, February 2016) – The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) recognized Bill Gibbs, principal of Kenny Community School, Minneapolis Public Schools, with the 2016 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award. Principals are responsible for a school’s instructional, school culture, and resource leadership. The award honors principals whose exemplary leadership and sustained efforts have made noteworthy contributions to the operation of effective school learning programs — improving education, their communities, and their profession. He was recognized by colleagues statewide on February 4, 2016 at the MESPA Awards Banquet – held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Bloomington Hotel during the annual MESPA Institute, the statewide convention of Minnesota’s elementary and middle level principals.

Of his education philosophy, Bill said: “The harder you work, the smarter you get.”

Bill was nominated by Tammy Goetz, principal at Seward Montessori School in the Minneapolis Public Schools. On behalf of MESPA Minneapolis Division principals, Tammy stated: “Bill has turned Kenny School around. He inherited a school with declining enrollment and test scores, as well as low staff morale. Kenny is now a vibrant learning community and has been identified by MDE as a Rewards School! He serves in MESPA, is a mentor for an aspiring principal, and is a strong instructional leader. Bill is well respected by his peers.”

Of his most significant career accomplishments, Bill wrote, “Eight years ago, I was placed at Kenny Community School. At that time, Kenny was suffering from declining enrollment, declining test scores, and missed 5 different cells in the former [Adequate Yearly Progress] system. The school was a MDE ‘Focus School’ at that time. The school moved to proficiency in every cell. Kenny received Celebration status for school years 2012, 2013, 2014. Last year, we received Reward status, the only school in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In eight years, our enrollment has nearly doubled; I started with 9 classrooms that first year and next year, we are projected to have 18. Minneapolis Public School uses our school as a model for RTI/MTIS and PLCs.”

Bill further described his career accomplishments by highlighting his achievements prior to becoming principal: “…I led the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) in the state of Minnesota. I was able to promote teacher evaluation and performance pay. As part of that position, I was able to train schools across the country on evaluation, coached and planned professional development to increase teacher effectiveness. The TAP program was used as a model to create the current Q Comp model.”

“As a teacher leader, I taught teachers how to present 4th -6th grade Montessori math and geometry lessons, through the College of St. Catherine. In addition to teaching in St Paul, I helped to train and certify teachers in San Jose, CA; Princeton, NJ; Kansas City, MO; Springfield, MA; Portsmith, VA; and Kalamazoo, MI.”

MESPA members selected 12 of their peers to receive the 2016 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award. Jon Millerhagen, MESPA Executive Director, congratulated the award winners by saying, “MESPA members who receive the Division Leadership Achievement Award are the heart and soul of their schools, their communities and our association. They are true leaders who empower their schools to be successful. Our association benefits greatly from their wisdom, energy, expertise and commitment.”

2016 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award Recipients

·  Jonathan Clark, principal, Riverside Elementary, Brainerd Public Schools

·  Jacob Donze, principal, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Elementary, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Public Schools

·  William Gibbs, principal, Kenny Community School, Minneapolis Public Schools

·  Brad Gustafson, principal, Greenwood Elementary, Wayzata Public Schools

·  Darla Harstad, principal, Woodland Elementary, Alexandria Public Schools

·  Paul Helberg, principal, Cherry View Elementary, Lakeville Area Public Schools

·  Jennifer Larva, principal, Lowell Elementary, Duluth Public Schools

·  Patti Machart, principal, Cedar Mountain Elementary, Cedar Mountain Public Schools

·  Randy Pauly, principal, Isanti Middle School, Cambridge-Isanti Public Schools

·  Catherine Rich, principal, Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet, St. Paul Public Schools

·  Erin Shadick, principal, Hillside Elementary, South Washington County Public Schools

·  Janel Wahlin, principal, Morris Bye Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools

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MESPA works to: Improve education for Minnesota students through collaboration and advocacy; Unite current, past, and future licensed elementary and middle level principals; Encourage and support a cooperative relationship between MESPA and other state/national organizations; and Advocate for the professional ethical, economic, and social welfare of its members.

MESPA Mission: The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association strives to be the premier leadership resource for elementary and middle-level principals and a strong leading voice for public education. MESPA is committed to ensuring a high quality education for all children through strengthening and enhancing the principal’s role as educational leader in our schools.

Bill Gibbs, page 2