The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) recognized Mark Ziebarth, principal of Isanti Intermediate School, with the 2020 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award for MESPA’s Central 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. He was recognized by colleagues statewide on February 6, 2020, 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 principals.
Ziebarth writes, “My philosophy has always been based on a quote from Maya Angelou: “When you learn, teach, when you get, give,” I feel it is important to share what I learn and to give back to the communities I serve and to the students I serve.”
Reflecting on his career, Ziebarth wrote: “My most significant accomplishment was being provided the opportunity to serve as a principal. I was first able to do this wonderful work in Ogilvie, and then further realizing my dream to serve as a principal in the town we call home: Cambridge-Isanti. Through these experiences, I have been fortunate to work with dynamic educators, hard-working students, and supportive parents who are all part of these incredible school communities.”
“I am thankful for the opportunity to work in a district that allows me to lead as I professionally see fit, to be a part of an amazing school community and to explore and implement new ideas. Through this experience we’ve been able to travel to learn from other high-energy innovative schools, fully embraced PBIS work, expanded the reasons students and staff want to come and stay at Cambridge-Isanti, celebrated continued strong academic performance, and supported creative ideas that help us achieve our mission.”
MESPA members selected 13 of their peers to receive the 2020 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.”