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Minnesota State Mankato Offering Streamlined Principal Prep Program

Other school districts added to what was initially a pilot program in St. Peter Public School District.

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, 8-8-2014

Mankato, Minn. — After a pilot last year with the St. Peter Public School District, Minnesota State University, Mankato has opened up a program to other area school districts that allows educators to gain credit toward a specialist degree in educational leadership by working in the field.

St. Peter Public Schools Supt. Paul Peterson said two St. Peter teachers were involved in the pilot last year, which the district called the Saints Emerging Leaders program.

They were allowed release for part of their work day to shadow principals and do other administrative work. Following the yearlong program, which also included completing Minnesota State Mankato coursework, both have landed jobs in administration in Minnesota school districts.

John Lustig, technology director in the St. Peter district, is enrolled this year in the program, which Minnesota State Mankato calls the Southern Minnesota Principal Preparation Program — Specialist Degree Year Long Internship. Lustig is one of about half a dozen in this year’s cohort, and about 15 credits of the 30-credit program will come from leadership study and initiatives in the district.

“It’s accelerated. Traditionally there is internship time. That usually comes at the end of the program. But this is job-embedded,” said Lustig, who was a teacher for 15 years in the Le Sueur-Henderson School District.

Peterson said when he went for his specialist degree to become a principal, 320 hours were required in a school to practice being a principal, adding a great deal of time onto the end of the program.

“This takes those hours and integrates them into the coursework time through their job,” Peterson said.

Lustig will be working with North Intermediate Principal Darin Doherty and will be implementing district programs, such as the recently adopted teacher evaluation system in St. Peter.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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