Staples, Minn.,
15:13 PM

Area Schools' Call for More Support Spurs Education Solutions Team Growth

Eight education professionals hired at NJPA since June 2017

Region 5 health and PE teachers practice what they teach at a recent PE/Health Network meeting. NJPA offers several professional networks for area educators.

In a little over four years, Kassidy Rice has seen her department more than triple in size.

When Rice joined the Education Solutions team at National Joint Powers Alliance just four-and-a-half years ago, the department consisted of five staff. Today, Rice is the Education Solutions Leader and oversees a team of 18 education professionals working to enhance professional development for teachers and support staff at the 22 school districts in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties – an area known as Region 5.

Since 2011, NJPA's Education Solutions team has made a concerted effort to support highly effective schools in Region 5 by providing services, support, and resources.

From state-of-the-art professional development and in-school trainings that are both flexible and affordable, to specialized programs focused on student academics and career and college readiness; Education Solutions remains dedicated to school success.

Additionally, the team provides teacher-recruitment services, collaborative networking groups, and a variety of funding options to support the unique needs and desires of schools.

“We are able to fill instructional supports for our regional schools, which small school districts often don't have the capacity to provide,” Rice says. “We invest in intensive training for our staff to ensure that they are delivering high-quality support with strong interpersonal skills.

“Schools are seeing how these supports can benefit their systems and are taking advantage of the opportunities more and more.”

From June 2017 to December 2017, eight education professionals joined the Education Solutions team – ranging from administrative and recruitment specialists to a senior education consultant.

Mary Klamm was among those eight. Prior to being hired at NJPA in July, Klamm was an end user as a former administrator at Menahga Public Schools from 2008-2015 and Staples-Motley Schools from 2015-2017.

“Having been a principal and superintendent in Region 5 for the past several years, I have watched NJPA grow into an organization that diligently works to listen, understand, and then partner with its members to provide solutions to the issues they face,” Klamm said. “I retired last spring and I was looking for something that would feed my creative tendencies. The Teacher Recruitment Specialist position definitely fills that bill.”

As a Teacher Recruitment Specialist, Klamm works to increase the pipeline of high-quality applicants for teacher positions in Region 5, as well as find short- and long-term solutions to address the area's teacher shortage crisis.

“I have participated in Education Solutions offerings since 2011,” Klamm said. “The districts I worked in participated in many of the programs they have offered throughout the years. The investment in high-quality programming and value in professional development of their own staff has resulted in some of the best educational opportunities in the entire nation. The best service our Education Solutions department offers is value and consistency. We search for the highest-quality programs and processes, offer them to our schools and then follow through with the kind of support that results in improved instructional practices and higher student achievement. Another amazing asset to this organization is how purposefully we respond to the needs of our region. My position is a testimony to NJPA's commitment to our area schools.”


With the increase in staff and capacity, Rice says her team has been able to double the number of professional networks and is able to offer and respond more timely to school requests for services.

“Every year, we have an increase in requests for onsite support in our schools,” Rice said. “To meet the growing number of requests, we have had to expand our staff. The requests are also in an increasing variety of areas so we have had to extend our expertise to be able to provide service in more specialty areas.

“Because of our strong partnerships with leading educational organizations and trainers, we are able to provide world-class professional development that would otherwise be limited mostly to the metro area.”

New to the Education Solutions team since June 2017 include: Andrea Mortensen, administrative specialist; Cindy Swenson, Lisa Pingrey, Lisa Worden, education consultants; Brenda Sprenger, data integration specialist; Mary Jacobson, senior education consultant; Katie Embree, student academics coordinator; and Mary Klamm, teacher recruitment specialist.

For more information on Education Solutions offerings and opportunities, visit

About NJPA

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota's nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.