The Henton Headlines: January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Save the date for another conversation with Governor Walz!

MSBA and MASA will co-host another meeting with Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan on January 28 from 5:00-5:30 pm. Communication on Zoom link and the meeting format will be sent very soon.

Scheduling visits to the capitol:

Regional leaders are working with Jeanna Vohnoutka of MASA on scheduling virtual meetings at the capital. If you are a regional leader and need assistance in scheduling please do not hesitate to contact Jeanna!

A time to tap!

We are confidentially aware of 22 superintendencies open for the 2021-2022 school year. That number will certainly grow and MASA is committed to assisting in the development of education professionals to assume those positions.

If you know of someone who has the experience and skills necessary to become a superintendent, please tap that person/s on the shoulder and encourage them to join the MN Aspiring Superintendents' Academy. The Academy consists of five 2-day sessions (Fridays and Saturdays) and each participant is supported by an experienced superintendent coach.  Additional information has been emailed to you and will be available on the MASA website. The application deadline is Monday, February 22, 2021. You can apply online here:

A chance of your secondary principals to network:

The MASSP Virtual Winter Conference is approaching and will be held on January 25-28. Conference information may be found at:

Leadership Matters: 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The Henton Headlines: January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week…

A new podcast for you!

Thanks to Jane Sigford, we now have a new "Views to Voice" podcast! Episode #39 has been posted to the MASA website at:

Have ideas on how to assist the MSHSL with its finances?

Last week the MSHSL announced the formation of a Financial Advisory Committee beginning in 2021.  Here is more information on the committee and the application process:

Financial Advisory Committee Description

Financial Advisory Committee Application/Nomination Form Due Friday, January 22, 2021

Latest round of ESSER funds

On January 12 MDE released estimates for each school district’s share of the latest round of ESSER funds. Here is additional information based on questions I received after sending out an email with the MDE estimates:

  • The allocations are based on Title I formulas. MDE does not have any discretion regarding the formula used by the federal government.
  • Not all LEAs qualify for the funds in this category.  As the bill was just passed in December, MDE is not yet certain on additional pots of money that might be available for Intermediates, Cooperatives and Education Districts. Stay tuned...
  • Eligible uses are the same as the last round of ESSER funding and include three new categories. Watch for additional information to come from MDE.
  • The funds must be expended by September 30, 2023.

Leadership Matters:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. 

John Quincy Adams 


The Henton Headlines: January 7, 2021

January 7, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week…

House Select Committee on Racial Justice Report to the Legislature

In this report released on December 22, 2020, the “Select” committee established to address racism and to declare it a public health crisis released the following recommendations for Education that begin on p. 40:

  • Expand and increase state investment for Family Home Visiting and Early Head Start for communities experiencing the greatest educational disparities 
  • Increase subsidies for early childhood care and education, including through the Child Care Assistance Program and Early Learning Scholarships for communities experiencing the greatest educational disparities
  • Increase investment in recruiting, training, retaining, and promoting Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers through scholarship and loan forgiveness programs, GrowYour-Own Pathway grants 
  • Implement stipends for mentor teachers and paid student teaching opportunities to address income inequality challenges that create barriers to diversifying our pipeline of future teachers 
  • Increase investments to develop new full-service community schools focused on the districts with the greatest racial disparities
  • Increase funding for youth apprenticeships and work experience 
  • Implement civics and financial literacy requirements for high school students. 
  • Mandate training for teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in anti-racist, culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and restorative practices 
  • For districts with the most significant racial disparities, build protections for Teachers of Color and Indigenous teachers to improve retention rates 
  • Fund the hiring of school support professionals in order to meet recommended staff-to student ratios for school counselors, social workers, behavior specialists, psychologists, and nurses 
  • Expand the Full and Equitable Participation in Preschool and Pre-K to students in grades K-2 
  • Institute non-exclusionary discipline practices, including but not limited to: requiring districts to include non-exclusionary discipline policies and practices in their uniform criteria for dismissal, requiring districts to provide alternative educational services if a student is suspended for more than X days, requiring suspended students be able to House Select Committee on Racial Justice: Report to the Legislature 41 complete all assignments and receive full credit for satisfactory completion, and requiring districts complete and implement student readmission plans 
  • Require reporting on pupil withdrawal agreements • Increase access to dual credit and other rigorous courses in high school for all students, not just high-achieving students 
  • Increase access to technical and trade college courses in high school • Provide access to free post-secondary remedial classes 
  • Increases investments in tutoring for college students 
  • Provide tuition-free community college for students with financial needs 
  • Expand financial preparation and financial aid awareness/education high school students and families 
  • Develop emergency funding program for post-secondary students

The GOP members on the Select committee responded to the education recommendations separately which is linked here for you to review. 

Superintendent Bob Jaszczak of Kittson Central interviewed by PBS

The topic of the interview was how Kittson Central was able to remain open all year. Link follows:

Licensure Assignment and Assignment Licensure tables:

If you or your staff are in need of a resource to assist you with understanding which license can fulfill different assignments in your school district, click on the link below and go to “STAR Documents.” Under that heading select “2020-21 Licensure Assignment Table.” This resource is updated annually. It may be especially helpful to you with CTE licensure questions.

School Board Recognition Week

This annual event will be observed from February 22 to February 26, 2021. You may want to consider presenting school board members with certificates, honoring your board in a press release or in a weekly superintendent column.  There are myriad ways to recognize your board members, and they will be grateful if you do!

Guidelines for wearing masks/face coverings 

The MN Department of Health worked with the MSHSL to develop the guidelines found in this link:

Leadership Matters: 

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion." - Abraham Lincoln


The Henton Headlines: December 17, 2020

December 17, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Listen today: have questions regarding the updated Safe Learning Plan?

MDE is offering a webinar today, December 17, at 4:00 pm. Hopefully, the many questions you have will be answered during that time. If not, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I have been in contact with Dr. Mueller and will continue to share your concerns and questions. Here is the information on the webinar:

Stream the webinar live on Thursday, December 17, from 4-5 p.m., on the Minnesota Department of Health’s YouTube channel (

This is our ONE pandemic!

I have taken on this mantra. The vaccine is on its way and I believe all the learning we have gone through this past year will enable us to keep others at bay.

We will get through this together. Hang in there. Keep networking. Help keep hope alive. We’ve got this. Leadership matters and our school leaders are exceptional!

Henton Headlines:

There will be a pause for the next two weeks and the headlines will return the first week of January 2021. Happy holidays!

Leadership Matters: 

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." - Theodor Seuss Geisel

The Henton Headlines: December 10, 2020

December 10, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Is your contract expiring June 30, 2021?

Superintendents who want to remain in the same position and have a contract expiring at the end of June should have a conversation with their board chair about starting the renewal process.   MN statute allows school districts to approve another contract during the final 12 months of the previous contract, so now is that time to get it done!

Second meeting of the Learning Model Transition Group

The group met on December 9 under the leadership of Deputy Superintendent Heather Mueller. Information was shared primarily by MDH and summarized in the bullets that follow:

  • The original case county data they used to drive the school learning model and create the Safe Learning Plan guidance was the best tool at the time, based on the best data they had. They have learned a lot since then. 
  • They did see a relationship between the ability to staff schools effectively and when case count numbers per 10k went above 50.
  • Transmission is happening in communities more than schools, but as background transmission increases it influences schools. We need to be operationally safe and be sure schools don’t cause harm to other agencies. For example, causing more cases where patients must go to the hospital creating a shortage in hospital beds.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, December 16 and will focus more on possible changes in criteria and reentry plans.

Feel free to contact the superintendent representatives listed below, Scott Croonquist, or me with your thoughts on the return to school and learning model transitions:

Region 1: Jeff Elstad (

Region 3: Sherri Broderius (

Region 5: Laine Larson (

Region 7: Matt Grose (

Region 9: Cory McIntyre (

Region 9: Sandra Lewandowski (

Region 9: Theresa Battle (

Region 9: Jeff Ronnenberg (

MASA Board of Directors makes a decision about MSHSL constitutional amendment process

MASA continues to appreciate its partnership with the MSHSL, and agrees that having permanent superintendent representation, like that from other state organizations on the MSHSL Board would be beneficial to both organizations.  To that end, MASA will work with the Minnesota Legislature to modify language in the current statute to secure two permanent seats for Minnesota Superintendents. The MASA Board of Directors has decided not to attempt to amend the MSHSL constitution as the process for doing so is the same process that was attempted by MASA in 2015-16 and failed. 

Days at the Capitol

House Speaker Melissa Hortman confirmed during the evening of December 8 that House staff are to continue to work from home if they can do so, “ least through May 31, 2021 and House space will be closed to the general public.” MASA lobbyist Valerie Dosland and I will be determining in initial meetings with legislative committee chairs how we should conduct our typical Days at the Capitol during this year. Stay tuned...

Spring Conference format

Given the uncertainty of our times, MASA will hold its annual Spring Conference scheduled for March 11-12 virtually.  Look for more information in the coming months. 

Do your students who were laid off due to COVID-19 know they qualify for federal unemployment benefits?

A new court decision finds that MN high school students who lost their jobs due to COVID 19 are eligible for federal unemployment compensation provided through the CARES ACT. Students must apply by December 25. This can mean thousands of dollars for individual students.  Here is an article from the StarTribune, explaining this decision. Instructions for what students must do to apply are linked here.   Notifying students would be a valuable service to them and their families.

Request for your help with a brief survey you received from Katie Pekel

The University of Minnesota and MDE are working together to produce some research-based information paired with practical ideas surrounding the diversification of our educator workforce. Part of that work involves hearing from you. While you may have already received an email from Dr. Katie Pekel asking you to complete a short survey, I would ask if you have not already done so, to please take the brief 5 minutes to do so now. Diversification of the workforce was a theme from the MASA focus groups, and we want to provide our ideas and voice into the work Katie and her colleagues at the U of M and MDE are trying to do in service to Minnesota. 

Thank you! 

Survey Link:

Leadership Matters

"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."  

                                                                                        -Ralph Nadar


The Henton Headlines: December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

First meeting of the Learning Model Transition Group

On November 30, Deputy Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller convened the group that included eight superintendents, representatives from MDH, Regional Support Teams, local health officials, school nurses, and MDE. The superintendents met prior to the first session with the executive directors of AMSD and MASA and framed return to school issues they later presented to Dr. Mueller and the group during the meeting. The superintendents conveyed a sense of urgency for return to school information to be shared with superintendents/school leaders across the state.  Consequently, Dr. Mueller agreed to move from a bi-monthly meeting schedule to weekly meetings with the next session scheduled for December 9. The first meeting was introductory in nature.

Following the first meeting the superintendent representatives met again with the executive directors and identified specific questions that will be presented to Dr. Mueller prior to the meeting so she has time to prepare and hopefully by doing so the group will see expedited results. It is clear that superintendents/school leaders across the state want answers soon.

Feel free to contact the superintendent representatives listed below, or me with your thoughts on the return to school and learning model transitions:

Region 1: Jeff Elstad    

Region 3: Sherri Broderius 

Region 5: Laine Larson 

Region 7: Matt Grose 

Region 9: Cory McIntyre

Region 9: Sandra Lewandowski

Region 9: Theresa Battle

Region 9: Jeff Ronnenberg

MSHSL & MASA Executive Officers Discuss Process for Permanent Superintendent Representation on the MSHSL Board of Directors:

  • The ongoing discussion of the MSHSL and MASA Executive Officers has led to improved communication from the MSHSL to the superintendents.
  • A draft timeline and process for amending the MSHSL constitution to include permanent superintendent representation was provided to MASA by the MSHSL The Executive Boards of both the MSHSL and MASA will be presented with this information in the upcoming week.
  • Another meeting was set for December 10 to review comments from the respective boards on the MSHSL constitutional amendment process, the forthcoming MASA request to amend the MSHSL constitution to secure permanent superintendent representation, the constitutional amendment process timeline, and next steps.

Have you found the MASA Elf on the Shelf?

Hint: See Deb Larson’s 12/3 email - and in the eUpdate!

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 11.28.38 AM

Leadership Matters:

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." - Henry Ford


The Henton Headlines: November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

MDE Creates Learning Model Transition Group

In response to a request from AMSD (Association of Metro School Districts) and MASA, MDE has created a new group that will study learning model transitions. For example, the group will consider what data school districts should consider when moving back and forth between models. Superintendents from Regions 1, 3, 5. 7, and 9 have been invited to join the group that will be led by Deputy Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. Stephanie Graff of MDE and representatives from regional teams, school nurses, and MDH will also serve as members. The AMSD Executive Director Scott Croonquist and I will join the meetings to listen in so that we can assist with communication state-wide.

Here are the superintendent representatives:

  • Jeff Elstad Region 1
  • Sherri Broderius Region 3
  • Laine Larson Region 5
  • Matt Grose Region 7
  • Cory McIntyre Region 9
  • Sandra Lewandowski Region 9
  • Theresa Battle Region 9
  • Jeff Ronnenberg Region 9

Give yourself some grace!

For months you have been giving grace to your staff, your students and communities.  This Thanksgiving, it’s time for you to grant what you have given others-grace. Thank you for all that you do for the children of Minnesota!

Leadership Matters:

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill


The Henton Headlines: November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

“If you wanted everyone to like you; then you should have sold ice cream”

Superintendent and Lieutenant Colonel Chip Rankin recently sent a video to his colleagues in the Minnewaska area from his post in the Horn of Africa. He offers his thoughts on leadership and ice cream! While Chip is away, Interim Superintendent Rick Ellingworth has assumed Chip’s position in Minnewaska. Click on this link to watch Chip’s VIDEO.

Chip will not be home for Thanksgiving and is checking his school email. Let’s send Chip our gratitude for his service to our county!

Contracted/private transportation question answered:

According to Daron Korte of MDE, Executive Order 20-94 applies only to special education contracted transportation.  A number of MASA members have asked if their school district needs to continue to pay for contracted transportation even when in a distance learning and/or hybrid model and routes have been reduced.  Daron shared that special education transportation is reimbursed while transportation for general education is formula based. Districts can use their formula dollars to pay their contractors, but are not required to do so unless the contract they negotiated with their contractor requires they do so. 

First Master Class in the books:

Dr. Kaz Nelson led MASA’s first Master Class on November 17. Those who participated learned about why we are all not feeling great and what to do about it! Look for more Master Classes to come-they are free and will provide you with practical and relevant information!

Leadership Matters: 

"Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out."- Stephen R. Covey

The Henton Headlines: November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

COVID-19 no cost saliva test information to share with your communities:

The state is now offering free COVID-19 saliva tests to Minnesotans. See this website for more details on how to order:

Have you spent your Coronavirus Relief Funds yet?

The deadline for spending your Coronavirus Relief Funds is December 30, 2020.  If you have not spent 100% of your funds, MDE staff will be contacting you by the end of next week.  

Bills to address declining pupil aid introduced in November 12 Special Session:

Senator Utke introduced--

S.F. No. 4: A bill for an act relating to education finance; directing the commissioner of education to adjust pupil units for certain fiscal year 2021 revenue formulas.

Referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration. 

Representative Davnie introduced:

  1. F. 4, A bill for an act relating to education finance; authorizing the use of the prior year's pupil count for the 2020-2021 school year to reflect COVID-19 changes in enrollment; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 126C.05, subdivision 5; Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 11, article 1, section 25, subdivision 2, as amended.

The bill was read for the first time and referred to the Education Finance Division.

Superintendents send letters to Governor Walz and Commissioner Ricker seeking clarity & support:

Anoka County Superintendents wrote a letter to Governor Walz and Commissioner Ricker this past week that spawned similar letters from their colleagues across the metro area. As of this writing, Superintendents in Ramsey County, Washington County and Dakota County sent letters modeled after this letter from the Anoka County Superintendents that was delivered to the Governor’s office on Tuesday, November 10.

Let’s celebrate all of our educators next week-and that includes you!

National Education Week is celebrated November 16-20.  MASA celebrates and thanks each of you for the incredible job you do everyday to provide Minnesota’s children with a high quality education. The importance of what you do cannot be overstated.  

Leadership Matters

As I have transitioned to this position, I have looked for ways to involve our retirees more in our daily work as they have an abundance of wisdom to offer. I recently asked retired Superintendent Jerry Ness to assist with inspirational quotes around leadership. He agreed without hesitation and I am grateful as I know that he continues to research what makes and inspires great leadership.  Here is the first of many quotes to come from Superintendent Ness:

"What a leader learns after he [or she] has learned it all counts the most". ~ John Wooden 

The Henton Headlines: November 5, 2020

November 5, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

A new learning opportunity coming your way!

MASA has heard your need for additional support and will now be offering “Master Classes.”  Please be sure to read about this new opportunity on the front page of this publication that will begin with our first class on Tuesday, November 17, from 9:30-11:00am with Dr. Kaz J. Nelson.

Meeting of the MSHSL/MASA Executive Officers:

  1. Another productive meeting of the MASA & MSHSL Executive Officers and Executive Directors was held on November 3.
  2. Agenda items included an update on the remittance of additional MSHSL fees, MSHSL engagement sessions, the process to secure permanent representation of superintendents on the MSHSL Governing Board, communication, and leading in a pandemic.
  3. The Executive Directors and MASA Treasurer will meet and draft a document outlining a timeline and steps to secure permanent superintendent representation that will be shared with the MSHSL Governing Board and MASA Executive Board of Directors during the month of December. 

Meeting with Governor Walz, Commissioners Ricker and Malcom:

A virtual meeting has been scheduled with Governor Walz on Friday, November 6, from 10:00-11:00am. You should have received an email from MSBA with a link to the meeting. If not, here it is:

Zoom Meeting Link:

Meeting ID: 831 7300 1966

Leadership Matters

"The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them." -John Maxwell