Christenson receives professional leadership award

The award honors principals whose exemplary leadership and sustained efforts have made noteworthy contributions to the operation of effective school learning programs.

Dana Christenson_Division Leadership PR
Dana Christenson

ALEXANDRIA — The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association recognized Dana Christenson, principal of Voyager Elementary School, Alexandria Public Schools, with the 2022 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award for MESPA’s Western 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.

Christenson was recognized by colleagues statewide on Feb. 3 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.

Christenson summed up his educational philosophy in a quote from Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem, "The Hill We Climb": “There is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Christenson was nominated by Corinna Erickson, principal at Breckenridge Elementary School in the Breckenridge Public Schools District.


In a press release, Erickson stated, “Dana is a positive, professional leader at Voyager Elementary in Alexandria and in the Western Division MESPA principal group. He has a calm, comforting presence and leadership approach. He is well-read and knowledgeable in educational topics that improve his approach to what is happening in the world of education today. He is very supportive and recognizes others in their accomplishments.”

Among his most significant career accomplishments, Christenson includes:

  • Providing staff development around trauma-informed practices.
  • Implementing school culture/climate promising practices in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education.
  • Leading during a pandemic.

Christenson has also served as the MESPA Educational Advisory Committee representative for the Western Division for the past two years.
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 in a press release 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.”

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