What MESPA is Thankful For This Year

by Jon Millerhagen, MESPA Executive Director


Dear MESPA members,

Happy Thanksgiving! At this time of year, I like to reflect on what I’m thankful for here at MESPA.

The biggest thing I’m thankful for, of course, is all of you. Our members make MESPA what it is: a relevant, thriving, member-directed organization. So far this year we have 941 total members – that’s a staggering number of you from around the state who are committed to developing your skills and improving the educational experiences of the students you serve.

MESPA has always been about making sure members are getting what they need. That’s why we’ve made it an organizational goal to have as many of our professional development opportunities as possible be designed and led by MESPA members. No one knows what principals need like other principals who have been there before. So I’d like to send my thanks to our incredible professional development design teams who put together sessions including our Early Career Principals Workshop and 21st Century School Office, and helped design our PreK-3 series.

In 2016-17, nearly 1,600 principals and school teams took advantage of our 50 days of professional development. That number is already at 551 this year and on a similar pace as last year. In 2016-17, our sessions combined for 271 CEUs – an immense number that speaks to the variety of different options Minnesota principals have to expand their horizons and find the professional development opportunity that meets their particular needs or challenges.

I am thankful for MESPA’s flexibility and ability to explore new ideas and always stay on the forefront of providing our members with what they need. I am thankful that so many of our members are able to give themselves permission to leave their buildings for professional development – so they can come back reinvigorated and recharged with new ideas and new tools to accomplish them.

As one MESPA member said, “I appreciate this opportunity to learn more about how to serve the students, staff and families in my community!”

That’s what it’s all about. Giving you the tools and knowledge you need to succeed for your staff, your building, and, most importantly, your students. I’m thankful for all that you do for them, for all the hard work and long hours that can go unnoticed. We see you, and we applaud you. And we want to make sure that MESPA continues to champion the idea of principals helping principals. Because no one can do it better than you.

Wishing you all a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving,


Jon Millerhagen

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