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Michelle M. Krell
Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School
Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools
Kasson, Minnesota

Described by a colleague as an “inspiring leader and passionate advocate for students,” Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School principal Michelle M. Krell took a high-poverty, failing school and in three years increased state test scores by double digits and narrowed the achievement gap by more than fifty percentile points. Professional learning communities, data-driven decision making, curriculum alignment, high expectations, and instructional support are the key ingredients to the school’s successful turnaround under Krell. In 2012 and 2013, the 810-student, kindergarten through fourth grade school was named a Minnesota Reward School, and in 2013, it was also named a Minnesota School of Excellence. Krell began her leadership of the school’s journey to success by meeting with staff and having them embrace the need for change on both rational and emotional levels. Reviewing and employing several research-based best practice programs such as Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (S.M.A.R.T.), Krell and her staff gathered information to set a clear direction and long range plan. With a goal to educate the whole child, Krell crafted a safe and respectful environment based on bullying prevention, peaceful buses, and love and logic programs. She also partnered with community experts to create STEM, music, Spanish, and technology programs, a school garden, and a Healthy Snack Cart to create an atmosphere where healthy bodies make healthy minds. Krell holds a B.S. in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Coaching from Minnesota State University; an M.A. in Education from St. Mary’s University; and Sixth Year Administrative and Superintendent Licensure credentials from Minnesota State University.