Regional Centers of Excellence

The purpose of the Regional Centers of Excellence is to meet a State obligation by providing differentiated supports to districts and schools through a statewide regional delivery system that is equitable, effective, and efficient.

Learn more about the Minnesota Department of Education Regional Centers of Excellence

The Minnesota Department of Education website information on the Regional Centers of Excellence

The Central Lakes Region (CLR) is a team comprised of educational professionals employed by Resource Training & Solutions. Schools Advocates licensed and experienced within respective educational specialist or administrative areas work together with district and school leaders, implementation teams, teacher teams, and staff to positively impact students, families, and communities.

Under the Minnesota No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Waiver, the RCE CLR team provided differentiated support services, training, and coaching to 55 Minnesota designated “Priority” and “Focus” school leaders, leadership implementation teams, and teacher professional learning communities.

Today, that team provides support services to districts and schools identified and designated as lowest performing with regard to content proficiency, achievement gap reduction, language acquisition proficiency, high school graduation rates, and not meeting World’s Best Workforce Goals.

Specific RCE grant “Aims” have evolved from Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), NCLB, the Minnesota NCLB Waiver, World’s Best Workforce (WBWF), and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Given school identifications under ESSA or district identifications under WBWF legislation, the RCE priorities for providing differentiated support within Minnesota designated districts and schools are to coach:

  • equity throughout the educational experience of each student
  • school climate and culture conducive to learning
  • comprehensive needs assessment
  • Principals in turnaround principles
  • leadership implementation teams
  • professional learning communities
  • standards-based instruction, and
  • evidence-based strategies implementation.

RCE work in partnership with a core team from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and Minnesota Service Cooperatives (MSC) to attain the aims of the above priorities. Also, there are the RCE Advisory Committee and the MDE Cross-Agency Implementation Team (CAIT) that work collaboratively with RCE regional directors to guide the RCE statewide system of support implementation and fidelity.

The specific aims of the RCE are to increase the capacity within Minnesota’s:

  • lowest performing schools defined within the Minnesota Consolidated State Plan
  • high schools with low graduation rates, or
  • districts and charters not making progress toward WBWF goals.

The Regional Centers of Excellence has many helpful resources available for use

If you have any questions about the Regional Centers of Excellence or the Central Lakes Regional team please contact Dr. Lowell Haagenson via email at or call 320-255-3236.

Dr. Lowell Haagenson

Director, Regional Centers of Excellence, Central Lakes Region

Lowell is a licensed Superintendent, Special Education Director, K-12 Principal, and Special Education Teacher (EBD). He earned his doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership at Saint Cloud State University. Dr. Haagenson served in K-12 leadership positions with successful outcomes at elementary, middle, high school, and district levels. He presently leads the RCE CLR team of Minnesota licensed professionals consisting of an equity specialist, education data specialist, education systems specialist, systems improvement specialist, English learner specialist, special education specialist, math specialist, and reading specialist.

Kristil McDonald

Education System Specialist & Advocate

Kristil is an Education System Specialist and Advocate. 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. Kristil 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.

Kristil 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

Scott Fitzsimonds

Education System and Data Specialist & Advocate

Scott is an Education System and Data Specialist and Advocate. Scott holds licenses in K-12 Instrumental Music, and as a K-12 Principal. He earned his M.Ed. from St. Mary's University in Teaching and Learning. Prior to joining the RCE, Scott worked in public school education for 15 years. Eight years as an instrumental music teacher, six years as a principal, and one year as Director of Teaching and Learning. Additionally, Scott has served as an activities director, district assessment coordinator, technology integrationist, and data coach. You can contact Scott directly at

Barbara Marchetti

Special Education Specialist & Advocate

Barbara is a Special Education Specialist and Advocate. Barb's work is direct support of school improvement implementation that contributes to increasing student growth and proficiency while reducing Minnesota student-group achievement gaps. Barb's previous experience has been as a special education director and has taught special education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has also served as an adjunct teacher for the University of St. Thomas, Masters in Special Education program. She holds a Director of Special Education and K-12 Principal license.You can contact Barbara directly at

Kim WingroveKim Wingrove

Math Specialist & Advocate

Kim is a Math Specialist and Advocate. Prior to joining the RCE team, Kim was a junior high math teacher for 12 years and spent an additional two 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

Sarah Sirna

Reading Specialist & Advocate

Sarah is a Reading Specialist and Advocate and has her Master's English Language Arts education. After serving five 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

Gwen Anderson

English Language Specialist & School Advocate

Gwen is an English Language Development Specialist and School Advocate. Prior to joining the RCE team, Gwen taught EL and Spanish for fifteen years in southern, metro, and central Minnesota. Within her schools, she has taught elementary through high school learners, and she also been an EL coordinator, migrant coordinator, staff development representative, and QComp leadership team member. She has also been adjunct instructor in English—TESL for five years at St. Cloud State University. She has been an EL trainer for Education Minnesota for five years. She is also a certified trainer in SIOP. Gwen holds licenses in K-12 Spanish and English as a Second Language, a Masters in English—TESL from St. Cloud State, is seeking licensure in K-12 Educational Administration from St. Cloud State, and has completed the certification requirements for National Board Certification in English as a New Language. You can contact Gwen directly at