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Riverside principal recognized for state leadership award

The Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association recognized Jonathan Clark, principal of Riverside Elementary in Brainerd, with the 2016 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award.

Jonathan Clark, principal of Riverside Elementary in Brainerd, is a recipient of the 2016 Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association’s Division Leadership Achievement Award.
Jonathan Clark, principal of Riverside Elementary in Brainerd, is a recipient of the 2016 Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association’s Division Leadership Achievement Award.

The Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association recognized Jonathan Clark, principal of Riverside Elementary in Brainerd, 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. Clark was recognized by colleagues statewide on Feb. 4 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, Clark in an email stated, "Never accept less if one can become more," a quote inspired by Mrs. Pergol, his former junior high English teacher.

Clark was nominated by Molly Raske, principal at Nisswa Elementary School.

"For the last 14 years, Mr. Jonathan Clark has exemplified what it means to be an elementary principal," Raske stated. "Regardless of what may be going on around Mr. Clark, he is a man of reason, research, personal relationships and professionalism. He puts people over paper and has a way of making you feel like there is nothing more important than listening and helping you in that moment. Mr. Clark is incredibly well read and continuously reevaluating our instructional practices to ensure that we are providing students with the best learning opportunities."

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Concerning his most significant career accomplishments, Jonathan wrote, "I define leadership as a quality that inspires others to follow. Three accomplishment I am most proud of, but are not

accomplished alone are: development of special education programs to meet specific needs of

students, working with a team of educators to meet the needs of all learners, establishing a culture of using data to better instruction."

Past honors and recognition received by Clark include, leading Kimball Elementary to receive the Minnesota School of Excellence validation in 2007-08 and leading Garfield Elementary School to become a 2014-2015 National Blue Ribbon School.

ESPA members selected 12 of their peers to receive the 2016 MESPA Division Leadership

Achievement Award. "MESPA members who receive the Division Leadership Achievement Award are the heart and soul of their schools, their communities and our association," Jon Millerhagen, MESPA Executive Director, said in congratulating the award winners. "They are true leaders who empower their schools to be successful. Our association benefits greatly from their wisdom, energy, expertise and commitment."

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