The Regional Centers of Excellence

The purpose of the Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) is to provide differentiated supports to identified districts and schools through a statewide regional delivery system that is equitable, effective, and efficient. Districts are identified by Minnesota Worlds Best Work Force (WBWF) criteria. Schools are identified by the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) criteria.

Find out more about the Regional Centers of Excellence:

Watch a video by the Minnesota Department of Education about RCE or find the information about the team on the Minnesota Department of Education's website.

The Central Lakes Region Center of Excellence (CLRCE) is a team comprised of educational professionals employed by Resource Training & Solutions. CLRCE Advocates are licensed and experienced educational specialists who collaborate with district and school leaders, implementation teams, teacher teams, and staff to positively impact students, families, and communities.

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 Scott Fitzsimonds, or call (320)255-3236.

Scott Fitzsimonds

Director, Regional Centers of Excellence

Scott Fitzsimonds holds licenses in K-12 instrumental music, and as a K-12 principal. He earned his master's degree 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.

headshot of Kristil McDonald

Kristil McDonald

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Kristil McDonald 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. 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. She has a master's degree of science and educational administration specialist degree with licensures in K-12 principal, director of special education, and superintendent of schools.

headshot of Barbara Marchetti

Barbara Marchetti

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Barb Marchetti has work 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, master's degree in special education program. She holds a director of special education and K-12 principal license.

headshot of Kim Wingrove

Kim Baartman

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Kim Baartman 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 master's degree in teaching and learning from St. Mary's University, and an Ed.S. in K-12 administration from the University of St. Thomas.

headshot of Sarah Sirna

Sarah Sirna

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Sarah Sirna has a passion for supporting leaders and teachers through adaptive challenges. She utilizes appreciative inquiry approaches to build school improvement teams that focus on creating equitable environments for students and staff. 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 CLRCE, Sarah served as a literacy specialist, and data, instructional, and PBIS coach in an intermediate district ALC. Sarah is certified to administer the District Capacity Assessment, she holds a master’s degree in English language arts education, K-12 literacy specialist and principal license.

headshot of Amanda Tegels

Amanda Tegels

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Amanda Tegels has been a teacher at all levels, from Kindergarten to post-secondary. Her teaching experience spans three states and she has gained much experience in leadership roles such as EL Coordinator, Achievement and Integration Specialist, and Migrant Specialist. Amanda is passionate about creating new, adaptive programming to better serve all students. Amanda holds a bachelor's of arts degree in Spanish, a master's of arts degree in teaching English as a second language and Ed. Specialist. Her licenses include K-12 principal, Director of Community Ed, K-12 ESL, and K-12 Spanish.

headshot of Julie Mitchell

Julie Novak

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Julie Novak supports excellence and equity in learning environments and pathways to success for all in the school setting. In her previous experience, Julie was an elementary and middle school general education and special education classroom teacher. She has also served as an instructional facilitator, Title I coordinator, curriculum and instruction director, and as an adjunct professor for the University of New Mexico. She has been a member of state committees addressing standards and literacy practices and holds licenses in both administration and teaching with accompanying reading and English language endorsements. Julie earned a masters in elementary education and an Ed.S. in administration from the University of New Mexico.

headshot of Hillary Johnson

Hillary Johnson

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Hillary Johnson was a high school math teacher for 15 years. She was a district math interventionist, a SIOP sheltered math instructor, and served on many district and school level committees. Hillary holds a teaching license in 5-12 mathematics, a master's degree in math education from the University of Minnesota, and is currently pursuing a license in K-12 administration from St. Cloud State University.

headshot of Jen Andrews van Horne

Jen Andrews van Horne

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Jen van Horne taught third grade in a large urban district, was the program director for a Pre-K through grade 12 non-profit English learner children’s program, and spent the last 11 years as the EL coordinator and lead teacher for two local charter schools. In addition to teaching and coordinating, Jen spends her time in schools leading professional learning communities and providing professional development for staff, family, and community engagement opportunities. She is dual licensed in both elementary education and English as a second language. Jen holds a master's of education degree from the University of Minnesota.

Susan Burris

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Susan Burris has a passion for continuous improvement, system level thinking and building the capacity of educational communities.  She builds relationships that focus on creating equitable environments for each student and staff member in the educational setting. She believes change happens “One Conversation at a Time” and is motivated by the success of those she serves each day.  After completing six years as a classroom teacher in San Diego County, Susan returned to Central MN to work at the district level and has served in many leadership roles over the last 25 years. Her most recent position was supporting districts statewide in using the Continuous Improvement process as they implemented the requirements of the World’s Best Workforce. Prior to that she served as an Elementary Principal, a Curriculum Coordinator and a Director of Teaching and Learning. Susan has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a master’s degree in both Educational Leadership & Curriculum and Instruction. She holds a Grades 1-6 Teaching license, a K-12 Principal license and a Superintendent’s license with the State of MN.  

Gwyn Burnett

Regional Centers of Excellence Advocate

Gwyn Burnett is a lover of people and learning! She taught 7th grade Language Arts for 4 years, and is currently studying to obtain her principal licensure. Within her schools, she has taught literacy and ELA, has been the equity co-lead, and has worked closely and collaboratively with the Instructional Leadership team and the School Climate team to build capacity in schools. Gwyn is an adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN, where she teaches a Middle and High School Methods course. In addition to being a licensed English teacher, an adjunct faculty member, and advocate for anti-racist and pro-justice learning, Gwyn holds an A.A.S degree in Nursing. She will finish her principal licensure program in May, 2021, at which time she will pursue a doctorate degree to further her learning and studies.