May 11, 2016 | 3 p.m.
By Monique Kleinhuizen ’08, New Media Strategist
Tracy Reimer, associate professor in Bethel’s Leadership in K-12 Administration Ed.D. program, was selected to give a multimedia talk, “Principal as Leader Learner: It Begins with Self-Awareness” at the annual Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA) Institute in February.
Kelsey Gantzer, communications manager for MESPA, notes that there has been a “shift in principal professional development from a ‘sit and listen’ model to a collaborative learning model.” With that in mind, this year members were invited to submit proposals—and some chosen to speak—at the 61st annual MESPA Institute Conference. Says Gantzer, this new portion of the conference gave members a chance to hear from their colleagues. It also allowed for more voices to be represented.
Reimer selected the topic for her talk and submitted a proposal before the conference. Her proposal, along with eight others, was selected for the conference. “A quick Google search or review of literature will lead to a list of research-based attributes a school leader should hold and practices a school leader should carry out. These attribute and best-practices lists are well known,” says Reimer. “What is unique at Bethel is the emphasis on fully understanding the research and understanding individual strengths and areas for growth so that our students can identify a starting point and know when to lead and when to learn along the way.” She notes that assessments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), StrengthsFinder, and Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) help students understand who they are and how they're wired to lead, regardless of the wide range of settings in which they might end up.
“Since we are a smaller graduate program, we know our students very well. We know our students’ leadership skills and abilities, their hopes and dreams for the field of education, their faith values, as well as their families,” says Reimer. “It is exciting to know that these quality individuals are the leaders in K-12 education and will be forging the path for education’s future.”
The element of peer research and presentations was a new one for the MESPA network. “In the past couple of years we have also begun using an ‘unconference’ model at Institute,” says Gantzer. “Not only do we emphasize the continued learning model for our principals, but we see them taking this back to their buildings and sharing these ideas with their teachers.” Gantzer adds that conference attendees enjoyed Reimer’s talk and it generated a lot of interest at the conference and through social media.
View Reimer’s talk, or to view other resources from the MESPA Institute, visit www.mespa.net/institute.