Gene Dillon Principal Ami Aalgaard selected for regional leadership award
Longtime Bemidji educator and current Gene Dillon Elementary principal, Ami Aalgaard, was recently recognized for her leadership.
BEMIDJI -- Longtime Bemidji educator and current Gene Dillon Elementary principal, Ami Aalgaard, was recently recognized for her leadership.
The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association has honored her with the 2021 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award for the northern region of the state.
“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,” according to a release from the organization. “Principals are responsible for a school’s instructional, school culture and resource leadership.”
Aalgaard has been at the helm at Gene Dillon since its opening in 2018. Prior to this, she was a principal at Horace May Elementary in Bemidji, a position she began in 2012. She graduated from Bemidji High School in 1988, Bemidji State University in 1992, and, other than a brief sojourn at Kasson-Mantorville, has spent the entirety of her teaching and administrative career in Bemidji Area Schools.
To receive this honor, Aalgaard was nominated by David Gooch, the assistant principal at Gene Dillon Elementary.
Aalgaard to lead Gene Dillon Elementary
“Ami set up our schedule and put in place several procedures for COVID-19. Our district cabinet went to her because of the example she set at our school, and our district cabinet asked the other elementary schools in our district to follow her model because it worked to keep our staff and students safe,” Gooch said in his nomination.
“Students need to know that you care before they will care what you know," Aalgaard said of her educational philosophy. "Students are the energy that keeps all educators energized to teach the next generation of learners.”
She listed her proudest career accomplishments as:
Being elected representative for multiple roles within the Bemidji Education Association.
Being elected multiple years as a negotiator for the Bemidji Principals’ Association.
Being hired as the principal to lead the development and implementation of curriculum, staffing and overall planning of Gene Dillon Elementary.
Developing and presenting a large school modeling system for potential hybrid instruction to over 100 Minnesota school districts.
According to the organization’s website, 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 leaders in schools.
“MESPA members who receive the Division Leadership Achievement Award are the strong foundations of their schools, their communities and our association," MESPA Executive Director Jon Millerhagen said. "They are transformational leaders who care deeply for their students. Our association benefits greatly from their knowledge, enthusiasm, passion and commitment.”
Aalgaard was recognized by colleagues statewide on April 15, via YouTube live stream.