The Minnesota Association of School Administrators named Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson recipient of the 2021 Kay E. Jacobs Memorial Award.

The award recognizes excellent leadership and involvement in Minnesota Association of School Administrators and other educational organizations by a female administrator. Larson will be honored for her leadership, concern for students and active involvement in professional and community affairs at a statewide recognition ceremony during the association’s virtual spring conference March 11-12.

“Laine not only dedicates herself to the big needs and issues, she dedicates herself to the little things that make a huge difference in the lives of her students and staff," Assistant Superintendent Heidi Hahn said in a news release. “Laine is an experienced, ethical, driven and compassionate leader that demonstrates and possesses more ‘grit’ than any other leader I have had the privilege of working alongside. I am humbled and honored that I get a front-row seat to learn from her and be mentored by her.”

During her 38-year career in public education, Larson has focused her leadership effort toward enhancing, promoting and providing equitable teaching and learning opportunities for all students in her districts. Larson has served as Brainerd superintendent since 2016 and also served as superintendent in Bagley and Thief River Falls. Prior to the superintendency, Larson was a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent.

In Thief River Falls, Larson and her team implemented a 1:1 technology program in grades K-12, aligned and embedded curriculum with the academic standards and enlisted membership in and led an American Indian advisory team. Through her leadership, the district passed a $748 operating levy referendum and a voter-approved $70 million four-site facility bond referendum. Larson also sought to expand the skills and professional learning of her staff and encouraged her entire leadership team to participate in the Minnesota Principals Academy.

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Throughout her time as a superintendent in Minnesota, Larson developed strong multidisciplinary advisory teams to guide the diverse educational needs of their American Indian students. Recently, Brainerd Public Schools committed to an equity initiative for all students by leading a district and community-wide effort.

In 2018, Larson successfully led Brainerd Public Schools in the passage of a $205 million comprehensive facility bond referendum which has allowed the district to build or remodel 13 building sites and establish a 1,200-seat performing arts center.

Larson is an active member of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Minnesota Rural Education Association, regularly presenting at conferences and workshops.

Larson received the 2012 Minnesota Association of School Administrators Region 8 Regional Administrator of Excellence Award.

Larson earned a master’s degree in special education from Bemidji State University and a bachelor’s degree in home economics and child development/family relationships from North Dakota State University. She earned administrative licenses from St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University-Moorhead.