Craig Bahr

Congratulations! Principal Craig Bahr was selected by his peers to receive the 2023 MESPA Western Division Leadership Award.

(Roseville, MN, February 20, 2023) – The Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) recognized Craig Bahr, principal of Lake Park-Audubon Elementary, Lake Park-Audubon School District, with the 2023 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award for MESPA’s Western Division. Principals are responsible for promoting a positive school culture, guiding instruction, and providing 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. Principal Bahr was recognized by colleagues statewide on February 2, 2023, 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. Principal Trisha Mariotti of Rossevelt Elementary wrote, “It is my honor and pleasure to recommend Mr. Craig Bahr for the 2023 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award for the Western Division. I have had the opportunity to work with Craig as a teaching colleague, as well as a peer in my current role as Principal of Roosevelt Elementary in Detroit Lakes. Craig Bahr was a gifted classroom teacher and now shares his knowledge and expertise as the Elementary Principal in Lake Park, MN. He collaborates exceptionally well with staff and administrators, alike, eliciting feedback from both groups to determine what works and what is best for his students.”

Dr. Timothy Godfrey, Superintendent of the Lake Park Audubon Public School District, shared the following accolades regarding Mr. Bahr. “Craig Bahr is a consummate servant leader. His first and primary focus being on student achievement and social emotional well-being. While he leads with distinction, he also realizes that an effective leader leads through teams. He always seeks teacher input and recognizes that his building is full of experts. He has created a culture and climate that encourages everyone, teacher and support staff alike, to support student growth. Lake Park Audubon Elementary is a PBIS exemplar school in the state of MN. Mr. Bahr was pivotal in ensuring that recognition continues and is in the forefront of student support. Mr. Bahr also helped lead a successful bond referendum to bring critical additions and renovations to the elementary building. Above all else, Mr. Bahr is a lifelong learner. He spends much time researching important ways to continue delivering high caliber educational experiences to his students. Because of his dedication to public education, he was invited to become a member for the MN Education Policy Fellowship and had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. as a representative of the state of MN. MESPA’s Western Division benefits from Craig Bahr’s experience, inclusive leadership style and commitment to student growth. We are truly fortunate to have him in our division!”

MESPA members selected 13 of their peers to receive the 2023 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award. Jon Millerhagen, MESPA Executive Director, congratulated the award winners 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.”

2023 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award Recipients

  • MESPA Central Division - Randy Qual, Mora Elementary, Mora School District
  • MESPA Northern Division – Rick Aulie, Pine River-Backus Elementary, Pine River-Backus School District
  • MESPA Western Division – Craig Bahr, Lake Park-Audubon Elementary, Lake Park-Audubon School District
  • MESPA East Suburban Division – Staci Souhan, Turtle Lake Elementary, Mounds View School District
  • MESPA West Suburban Division – Jeff Radel, Glen Lake Elementary, Hopkins School District
  • MESPA North Suburban Division – Anissa Cravens, Brookside Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • MESPA South Suburban Division – John Garcia, Cedar Park STEM School, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District
  • MESPA Northeast Division – David Wangen, Churchill Elementary, Cloquet School District
  • MESPA Southeast Division – Amanda Durnen, Byron Primary School, Byron School District
  • MESPA Southwest Division – Dan Beert, Lake Crystal-Welcome-Memorial Elementary, Lake Crystal-Welcome-Memorial School District
  • MESPA Saint Paul Division – Duane Dutrieuille, Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, Saint Paul School District
  • MESPA Minneapolis Division – Ryan Gibbs, Loring Community School, Minneapolis School District
  • MESPA Retired Principals’ Division – Patti Haasch

Full News Release (PDF)