Albert Lea’s Dr. Michael Funk selected as MN Superintendent of the Year

(ABC 6 News) – Albert Lea Superintendent Dr. Michael Funk, has been named the 2022 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year.

Dr. Funk was selected for this honor by a panel of representatives from a variety of Minnesota education organizations and is now a candidate for National Superintendent of the Year.

During his tenure at Albert Lea Area Schools, Dr. Funk has led the development of systems to support an equity framework that has reduced barriers to student learning, provided focused resources for students, and provided quality professional development opportunities to staff. Albert Lea Area Schools’ equity work is focused within the pillar of opportunity and achievement with an emphasis on four key areas: understanding the culture of their diverse students; examining the impact of poverty on their student’s education; understanding the mental health needs of their students; and aligning special education instruction to support the needs of their students in a mainstream setting.

Under Dr. Funk’s leadership, Albert Lea Area Schools’ district-wide graduation rates increased from 68% to 81% from 2012-2021. The district also saw increases in graduation rates between 26% to 44% among Hispanic students, English language learners, special education students, and students on free and reduced meal programs.

“It is clear that Dr. Funk is a student-centered superintendent who has a sharp focus on equity and leadership development," said MASA Executive Director Deb Henton. "Dr. Funk is an exceptional model of leadership for his students, regional peers, and across the entire state of Minnesota. We are very proud to have Dr. Funk represent our administrators as Minnesota’s Superintendent of the Year."

Dr. Funk, originally from Rochester, has been the Superintendent of Albert Lea Area Schools since 2009. Dr. Funk earned a Doctorate in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas. Dr. Funk received a Bachelor’s degree in Government from St. John’s University.

The award for National Superintendent of the Year will be announced during the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Conference on Education on February 17-19, 2022, in Nashville, TN.