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Elementary Principal, Deb Reynolds, Recognized for Exceptional Leadership

Hermantown Community Schools Principal, Debra Reynolds, Receives Professional Leadership Award


(Roseville, MN, March 29, 2019) – The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association

(MESPA) recognized Debra Reynolds, principal of Hermantown Elementary, Hermantown

Community Schools, with the 2019 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award for MESPA’s

Northeast Division. 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. She was recognized by colleagues statewide on

February 7, 2019 at the MESPYs, the premier elementary principal celebration of the year celebrated

during MESPA Institute, the annual statewide convention of Minnesota’s elementary and middle-level



Reynolds summed up her educational philosophy in a quote: “You must be the change you wish to see

in the world.” —Mahatma Gandhi


Reynolds was nominated by Jennifer Larva, principal at Lowell Elementary School in Duluth Public

Schools and president of MESPA’s Northeast Division.


Of her most significant career accomplishments, Reynolds writes: “The most impactful experience that

prepared me to be an effective principal was serving for several years in the classroom as a teacher. I

have had the honor to serve as the principal at Hermantown Elementary School for the past ten years.

So many wonderful experiences have significantly affected my growth as a principal. With

expectations of growth and excellence, we are continuously improving our learning opportunities and

school culture to care for our students. Our teachers have been transforming education to meet the

needs of 21st century learners.


“My leadership focus has included building relationships with staff, students, and families. Parents and

visitors frequently share that Hermantown Elementary School has a safe, positive climate, and that

staff members are extremely welcoming and friendly. Some of the contributing attributes to this

climate include a school-wide positive behavior program, mentoring program, kindness program, peer

helper program, and ongoing communication. Recently, through the hard work, fundraising, and great

support from our students, community, district, PTO, and staff playground committee, we raised the

funds and accomplished a community build for a wonderful new playground for our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

grade students.


“By leading and implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), our staff members have

worked together to offer instruction to meet the needs and challenge all students to work at their levels

and reach their full potential. Our teachers meet weekly as grade level PLCs to look at data, share

interventions, and problem-solve. We have a strong behavior intervention team, academic intervention

team, child study team, and most recently, we added a mental health intervention team. This process

continues to improve over time.”


MESPA members selected 13 of their peers to receive the 2019 MESPA Division Leadership

Achievement Award. Jon Millerhagen, MESPA Executive Director, congratulated the award winners

by saying, “MESPA members who receive the Division Leadership Achievement Award are the strong

foundations of their schools, their communities, and our association. They are transformational leaders

who care deeply for their students. Our association benefits greatly from their knowledge, enthusiasm,

passion, and commitment.”