Farmington principal will be a national advocate for educationEverybody at North Trail Elementary School knows it. No doubt, there are still students and teachers and parents from Farmington Middle School West who know it, too. Pretty soon, so many more will know just how much Dr. Steven Geis cares about educating students.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Everybody at North Trail Elementary School knows it. No doubt, there are still students and teachers and parents from Farmington Middle School West who know it, too. Pretty soon, so many more will know just how much Dr. Steven Geis cares about educating students.
Principal at NTES since 2005, Geis was recently elected to represent Zone 7 on the National Association of Elementary School Principals board of directors.
It’s an honor not every principal achieves. Geis has been a member of the Minnesota Association of Elementary School Principals for a number of years – in 2010, he earned MAESP’s distinguished service award – and has been representing the state in that capacity for the past two years.
Last September, he decided to run for the Zone 7 seat on the NAESP board of directors. Zone 7 includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah and Alaska.
He had to get 25 letters of recommendation to even put his name on the list of interested candidates. He did so, getting letters from colleagues, local school officials and contacts around the state. He even received a letter from Gov. Mark Dayton.
All of the nominations were reviewed by the national association’s nomination committee. In January, Geis learned his name was on the ballot, along with that of a principal from Alaska.
At the Zone 7 meeting during the NAESP convention, Geis had to give a speech and provide a written testimonial before the vote was taken. Just over two weeks ago, he learned he had been elected to the position.
The new role will mean Geis has to be gone from NTES more often than he’s been in the past, so Supt. Jay Haugen had to approve Geis’s campaign to be elected to the NAESP board of directors. Of course, Haugen did.
“Jay has been incredibly supportive,” Geis said. “It’s really kind of a win-win for our district because ISD 192 will always know what’s happening at a national level first.”
That’s because Geis’s new role will put him front and center for some of the conversations and decisions that will affect students at a local, state and national level. He’ll be representing more than 2,500 principals from hundreds of rural, urban and suburban communities. He’ll meet with educators and lawmakers alike. He’ll tour schools and hear reports. He’ll see what works in one place not in another. And above all, he’ll be an advocate for every student in Zone 7.
“With that comes responsibilities and duties. The biggest is to get consensus and represent the interest of every student, teacher and parent in Zone 7,” Geis said. “I’ll be truly advocating for our students and principals around the nation.”
His term is for three years. He’ll be gone from Farmington for his first meeting in July, but he’ll be back long before school starts. In October, Geis will head to Washington, D.C., where, among other things, he will attend a gathering for educators at the White House.
“It’s a very cool opportunity,” Geis said. “I’m humbled by it but also incredibly excited by the opportunity.
“The reason I was so interested in running is that, unfortunately in society today, it’s so easy to have sensationalized stories about the bad thing that happen in classrooms. However, I believe, the true sensational stories are about what is taking place in our classrooms every day across the nation. Every day there are so many wonderful, exciting things happening in our schools. I want to get those stories out there.”
Geis came to Farmington as a social studies teacher at Farmington Middle School in 1993. In 1999, he was named principal of Farmington Middle School West. He was transferred to NTES in 2005, while he was also serving as an assistant principal at Saint Mary’s University.