Regional Centers of Excellence

Centers of Excellence Flow chartResource is home to one of three Statewide System of Support (SSOS) teams that assists Focus and Priority school leadership in achieving success. On July 1st we began efforts to expand the program under the leadership of Susan Burris. We are now part of six Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) throughout the state. The goal of this initiative is to create the same type of support and service that was previously available to Focus and Priority schools and make it accessible to all schools and districts on a variety of topics. “The Centers of Excellence will respond to district and school needs and build capacity to improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps.” – MDE RCE Design Team
The partnership between the MN Dept of Ed, the six Regional Service Cooperatives and the school districts creates a unique and customized team. They can handle the specific needs of schools and districts and ensure access and consistent support throughout Minnesota. In fact, recently the Regional Centers of Excellence program: Statewide System of Support won the U of M’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs 2014 State Government Innovation Award. The award recognizes excellence in state government agencies and encourages experimentation and innovation in Minnesota. This is a major achievement for a program that is only 2 years old!
The SSOS initiative remains a major part of our team at Resource with 7 of our 8 staff giving it full-time support. Lowell Haagenson will now be the SSOS Team Coordinator and his primary responsibilities will include the day to day operation and support of the SSOS work and team.
To take advantage of this new and improved support system please contact Susan Burris, the new Director of the Central Lakes Regional Center of Excellence at 320-255-3236 ext.317 or

Susan Burris, Director of the Regional Centers of Excellence

Susan Burris

Director of the Center of Excellence

Resource is pleased to announce that Susan Burris is the new Director of the Regional Center of Excellence. Susan has over 20 years of experience in education - as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, and most recently Director of Teaching and Learning for the Cambridge-Isanti School District.

Susan will be responsible for providing direction and oversight of all Regional Center of Excellence activities in collaboration with MN Department of Education (MDE). Susan will work with the MDE Director of School Support and other Regional Center Directors to develop the Center of Excellence model for the Statewide System of Support. You can contact Susan directy at

Dr. Lowell Haagenson

Statewide System of Support Team Coordinator

Lowell leads a team of school advocates and specialty area specialists (e.g., ELD, SPED, Literacy, Math and Implementation) coaching leadership teams within Minnesota "Focus" and "Priority" schools in the Central Lakes Region of Excellence. Prior to his present position, Lowell was a School Advocate and Special Education Specialist on the Central Lakes Region team.

Lowell is completing his doctoral dissertation during 2014 in Educational Administration and Leadership at Saint Cloud State University. He is a Minnesota licensed Superintendent, Special Education Director, Principal (K-12) and Special Education Teacher (EBD). He served in leadership positions with successful outcomes at elementary, middle, secondary and district levels.

Prior to his work in public education, Lowell completed 25 years of successful leadership and adult education within the information technology (IT) industry.

Lowell also served in the United States Marine Corps from 1981-1985 earning meritorious promotions to the ranks of Lance Corporal, Corporal and Sergeant. He received a Good Conduct medal, nomination for the Joint Service Medal while at the Pentagon, and an Honorable Discharge. You can contact Lowell directy at

Sarah Sirna

K-12 Reading Specialist, School Advocate

Sarah Sirna is a licensed K-12 Reading Specialist and has her Master’s English Language Arts education. After serving 5 years as a classroom teacher, Sarah moved to the district level and has served in many leadership roles including EL Coordinator and Multicultural Literacy Coordinator in an Office of Equity and Integration. In her most recent position before joining The Centers of Excellence, Central Regional Office, Sarah served as a literacy specialist, and data, instructional and PBIS coach in an intermediate district. Sarah’s passion is in developing equitable systems in education that advance all students towards college and career readiness. Sarah is currently pursuing her administrative licensure at the University of Minnesota. When she isn’t in class, Sarah enjoys training for triathlons, walking her Labradoodle and road biking with her husband. You can contact Sarah directy at

Dr. Mary Jenatscheck

Implementation Science School Advocate 

Dr. Mary Jenatscheck is the Implementation Specialist for the Central Lakes Region. This position supports schools in ensuring their planned processes of school improvement are implemented with fidelity. Prior to this position she was the Lead Regional Service Provider for South Central Minnesota. In this capacity she oversaw school improvement processes of regional schools. For thirteen prior years Mary was an Elementary Principal. From 1999-2006 she was the Elementary Principal at Hartley Elementary in Waseca, and from 2005-2006 a Director of TEAM Academy, a charter school in Waseca. In addition, Mary was principal at North Winneshiek School District in Decorah, from 1993-1998. Mary has teaching experience as an adjunct professor at Gustavus Adolphus College and K-12 teaching experiences in Hokah, and Mabel School Districts. Mary has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Superintendent and Principal licensure, a Masters in Physical Education and undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Physical Education. You can contact Mary directy at

Kristil McDonald

Special Education Specialist, School Advocate

Kristil McDonald is a School Advocate and Special Education Specialis. Kristil has more than 35 years of experience as a teacher and administrator at the high school, middle school, and elementary school levels.  She also has been involved in three Minnesota Department of Education projects involving technology integration, classroom behavioral management strategies, and assisting Minnesota schools in the integration of standards within their curriculum as an Improvement Support Team member.  Mrs. McDonald has had an extensive administrative career as a high school principal as well as a middle school and elementary principal. School teams under her leadership have been recognized at both the state and national levels as a Minnesota STEM integration Model School and National School of Distinction.

Mrs. McDonald holds licensures and has experience in teaching elementary education, the special education areas of specific learning disabilities, emotional behavioral disorders and developmental cognitive disabilities, and secondary developmental and remedial reading. She has a Master of Science and Educational Administration Specialist Degree with licensures in K-12 Principal, Director of Special Education and Superintendent of Schools. Kristil is excited to be a part of providing service and support to schools in our region. You can contact Kristil at

Michelle Wang

Reading Specialist School Advocate
Michelle Wang is a School Advocate/Reading Specialist with the Central Lakes Statewide System of Support at Resource Training & Solutions. Prior to joining the Statewide System of Support, she served three years as an elementary principal and district curriculum coordinator and ten years as an elementary teacher. She holds an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in K-12 Leadership at Bethel University. Michelle’s professional interests include professional learning communities, effective leadership skills, literacy instruction, and early intervention. You can contact Michelle directy at

Kim WingroveKim Wingrove

Math Specialist School Advocate

Prior to joining the SSOS team, Kim was a junior high math teacher for 12 years and spent an additional 2 years as an Instructional Coach.  During those 14 years Kim worked on a multitude of district level committees and various curriculum committees.
Kim holds licenses in Teaching Mathematics Grades 5-12, a Masters in Teaching & Learning from St. Mary's University, and an Ed. S. in K-12 Administration from the University of St. Thomas. You can contact Kim directly at

Sophie SnellSophie Snell

English Language Development School Advocate

Sophie Snell is a School Advocate and ELD Specialist for the Statewide System of Support’s Central Lakes Regional team. Prior to joining the team, Sophie spent six years an ELD (English Language Development) teacher.  Her wide variety of teaching experiences has given her a rich knowledge of diverse community and educational settings. She has worked in elementary newcomer centers and middle school sheltered instruction classes as well as classrooms on the islands of Saipan and Guam. Sophie has extensive knowledge of the WIDA ELD standards, MN ELA standards, and SIOP instruction. As an avid reader, she is continually in search of materials that empower teacher leaders to bring culturally relevant and equitable services to all students. You can contact Sophie directly at