Bogart named state's 2023 NAESP National Distinguished Principal

MESPA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals present the prestigious award.

Brendan Bogart, principal of Lincoln Elementary School, has been named Minnesota’s 2023 NAESP National Distinguished Principal.
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ALEXANDRIA — Brendan Bogart principal of Lincoln Elementary in the Alexandria School District and a member of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, is Minnesota’s 2023 NAESP National Distinguished Principal.

MESPA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals present the prestigious award.

“Brendan has been an active and supportive member of MESPA and has gained high respect from his colleagues," Jon Millerhagen, executive director of MESPA, said in a press release. "This recognition indicates that Brendan has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and achievements in his role as a principal, and we are proud to have him represent MESPA as our National Distinguished Principal.”

Bogart began his career in education in 1996 as a sixth-grade teacher in the Watertown-Mayer School District. In 2001, he earned his MA EDAD/Leadership 6th year K-12 degree, following his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minn., in 1993, and his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Morris in 1996.

Twenty years ago, Bogart transitioned from teaching to the principal role.


“One of my notable accomplishments was serving as the Appleton/Milan Elementary Principal in the Lac qui Parle Valley School District for four years," Bogart said in a press release. "I developed great relationships with staff and learned so much during that time. While some readers might initially question the significance of this achievement, its impact became evident later in my career and has influenced my work over the past 16 years as principal of Lincoln Elementary School.”

At Lincoln Elementary, the vision is for all staff members to feel valued, and families to feel welcome and supported. The mission of Lincoln Elementary is to work as a team to ensure all students learn and grow. It is the engagement and partnership between school and home that create conditions where staff do their best day in and day out to create a desirable daily experience where students can be their best selves.

“Brendan has effectively established a clear mission and vision for Lincoln Elementary," Rick Sansted, superintendent of Alexandria schools, said in a press release. "When you walk into the building, you will see banners affirming the mission and vision and that all are welcome. Brendan also focuses on what matters most — our students. This commitment to students comes through in all of Brendan’s work as the principal at Lincoln Elementary. Mr. Bogart is an exemplary principal in our region. It is without reservation that I recommend Brendan Bogart for consideration in the National Distinguished Principal Program.”

Another proud moment for Lincoln Elementary was achieving the 2019 National Blue Ribbon School Award distinction.

“It is humbling to receive the MN National Distinguished Principal Award," Bogart said. "MESPA, NAESP, and the Western Division Principal Association have all influenced my leadership over time. I look up to many peers in the association and hope to reflect on the passion and perseverance they have for serving Minnesota's children and families.

"I am also grateful to Alexandria school leaders, past and present, who have shaped my career and provided lessons and inspiration, and to the community of Alexandria where we have raised a family, lived, and learned for much of my principalship," he said. "I am fiercely proud to work alongside a team at Lincoln Elementary that day in and day out embraces our mission of 'working as a team to ensure students learn and grow.' I do not have to look far to find joy and satisfaction in my work. From the office staff, paraprofessionals, cooks, custodians, and teaching staff, my heroes and motivation walk the halls and are seen in classrooms throughout our building supporting Lincoln Learners and families.”

The National Distinguished Principal program was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staff in their learning communities. Each year, NDPs represent Pre-K through grade 8 public schools from all across the country as well as principals in U.S. private schools and those from the United States Department of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the United States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools.

The selection committee responsible for reviewing the applications consisted of representatives from each of the 12 geographical divisions of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association, including the committee chair, Kenny Newby, Minnesota's NAESP state representative. Also on the committee was Ariana Wright, the 2022 NAESP National Distinguished Principal from Kasson-Mantorville Elementary.


On May 5, Bogart and two other finalists underwent interviews conducted by the selection committee. The other finalists for this honor were Duane Dutrieuille, principal at Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, and Ronald Salazar, principal at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts.

For more details on the NDP process, visit National Distinguished Principal under Honors on MESPA’s website: .

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