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Independent School District 318 Assistant Principal, Clayton Lindner, Receives Professional Leadership Award

(Roseville, MN, March TK, 2022) – The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) recognized Clayton Lindner, assistant principal of West Rapids Elementary School, Independent School District 318, with the 2022 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. He was recognized by colleagues statewide on February 3, 2022, 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.

Lindner summed up his educational philosophy in a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Lindner was nominated by Robbi Mondati, principal at Washington Elementary School in the Cloquet Public Schools District. On behalf of MESPA Northeast Division principals, Mondati stated: “Clayton is currently our division's President-Elect, and has been for the past two years. Prior to that he was our EPAC representative for two years. Within our division he has done a great job serving, leading, communicating well, and investing in the needs and interests of our division.”

Among his most significant career accomplishments, Lindner includes:

  • Spending ten years in the classroom and spending ten years in administration impacting the lives of students and staff.
  • Attaining his first assistant principal position in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Attaining his first principal position at Northland Community Schools (K-12) in Remer, MN.

Other honors Lindner has received include: Graduating Summa Cum Laude from both Saint Mary’s University and Northern Arizona University, serving as a representative for the Elementary Principals’ Action Committee (EPAC), and serving as President-Elect of the Northeast Division of MESPA.

MESPA members selected 13 of their peers to receive the 2022 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.”

2022 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award Recipients

  • Sam Court, Rocori School District, Central Division
  • Travis Barringer, North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale, East Suburban Division
  • Renee Montague, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Division
  • Amy Oliver, Anoka-Hennepin School District, North Suburban Division
  • Clayton Lindner, Independent School District 318, Northeast Division
  • Chris Bjerklie, Red Lake Falls Schools, Northern Division
  • Nancy D. Páez, St. Paul Public Schools, St. Paul Division
  • Josie Koivisto, Shakopee Public Schools, South Suburban Division
  • Jared Groehler, Rochester Public Schools, Southeast Division
  • Amanda Feterl, Sibley East Public Schools, Southwest Division
  • Melissa Ness, Hopkins Public Schools, West Suburban Division
  • Dana Christensen, Alexandria Public Schools, Western Division
  • Elmer Koch, Retired Principals of MESPA

MESPA works to: Improve education for Minnesota students through collaboration and advocacy; Unite current, past, and future licensed elementary and middle-level principals; Encourage and support a cooperative relationship between MESPA and other state/national organizations; and Advocate for the professional ethical, economic, and social welfare of its members.  


MESPA Mission: The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association strives to be the premier leadership resource for elementary and middle-level principals and a strong leading voice for public education. MESPA is committed to ensuring a high quality education for all children through strengthening and enhancing the principal’s role as educational leader in our schools.