The Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) has presented Rep. Denise Dittrich with its 2012 Friend of Education Award.
The AMSD Friend of Education Award is given to Minnesota leaders who demonstrate leadership, advocacy and support of public education and AMSD legislative platform initiatives.
Dittrich was selected for the AMSD Friend of Education award because of her tireless work to reform the management and oversight of Minnesota’s school trust lands and for her overall support of public education.
In addition, AMSD members greatly appreciate her ability to work on important education issues in a bipartisan and cooperative manner.
Dittrich is a former teacher and served on the Anoka-Hennepin District 11 School Board for two terms before becoming a state legislator.
During her time at the Legislature she has served on the K-12 Finance and Education Policy committees and has also chaired the School Trust Land Oversight Committee.
Dittrich has a reputation as a legislator who is willing to work across party lines to enact legislation that benefits the students of Minnesota, according to AMSD Executive Director Scott Croonquist.
She has represented the communities of Champlin and Coon Rapids at the Legislature since 2004 and announced in 2012 that she would not seek reelection.
During her time at the Legislature, Dittrich has been a tireless advocate for reforming the oversight and management of the school trust lands, Croonquist said.
She championed legislation to bring greater accountability to the management of school trust lands to generate additional funding for students, he said.
Her legacy will be the passage of HF 2244 (Session Law Chapter 249) during the 2012 session, according to Croonquist.
The bill creates a legislative commission and a school trust lands director to oversee the management of the school trust lands and establishes principles for overseeing the lands.
In addition to her work on school trust lands, she has been a consistent advocate for reforming Minnesota’s education funding, Croonquist said.
“Representative Dittrich has been an exceptional and tireless advocate for reforming the management and oversight of Minnesota’s school trust lands. We are thankful for her commitment to public education,” he said.
According to George Kimball, chairman of the AMSD board of directors and a member of the White Bear Lake School Board, Dittrich is known for her thoughtful leadership and working in a bipartisan manner.
“Her advocacy efforts were pivotal in reaching a bipartisan agreement on the school trust lands bill during the 2012 session and her efforts will mean increased resources for the students of Minnesota,” Kimball said.
In existence since 1974, AMSD represents 37 K-12 school districts, three intermediate school districts, three integration districts and 47 percent of the state’s students.