Michelle Krell of the Owatonna School District has earned a statewide award from the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) as the Outstanding Central Office Leader. Owatonna superintendent Jeff Elstad said, "Michelle is a professional educator in every sense of the word," in a news release from MASA.

Krell began her current position of Director of Teaching and Learning in Owatonna in 2017 after teaching in Owatonna and Medford and being a principal in Owatonna, Waseca and Kasson-Mantorville. She holds degrees from St. Mary's University and Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The award is for "exhibiting a willingness to risk, possessing strong communications skills, being a progressive change agent, and having high expectations for herself and others," states the news release.

Krell was recognized for the award during a virtual spring conference for the MASA held last week. Elstad added, "Michelle has completely transformed the teaching and learning department into a data-based, yet people-centered department. She focuses on learning through real listening and finding unique ways to empower staff and students to find their best way forward. She is a true problem solver."

The news release credits Krell with "working collaboratively to build and support the design of a Career Pathways program at Owatonna High School to align coursework with fields of student to better inform students and families in making career or college choices."

Krell is also noted for "taking a leadership role in the passage of a $122 million bond referendum to build a new Owatonna High School, recruiting and hiring of a top-notch team in the teaching and learning department, and successfully planning and implementing "Courageous Educators: Racial Equity Training" for more than 120 district staff and administrators," according to the news release.

Visit the Owatonna Public Schools homepage here. Find out about the next "Coffee and Conversation" with Elstad on Friday, March 19 at 8:30 am in the district's March newsletter.

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