2017 MASE Fall Leadership Conference

Brainerd, Minnesota
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
2017 MASE Fall Leadership Conference
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 4:30 PM -
Friday, October 27, 2017 1:00 PM (Central Time)

Cragun’s Conference Center
(218) 825-2700
11000 Craguns Drive
Brainerd, Minnesota 56401
United States

Map and Directions

Education leadership is all about a vision for the future and doing what we can to build systems supporting that vision. How can we be anything but optimistic about the outcomes we imagine? Easy! The stresses of daily practice, the setbacks that frustrate, the excuses, the challenges, the disappointments … there are a lot of factors that seem to stand between us and our optimism. Sometimes we even question the possibility of a bright future, as though our optimism is a result of our naiveté or our refusal to accept “the reality of the situation.” But here is the good news. Research has shown that optimism is instrumental in creating highly functional human systems, and it can be intentional, learned, and practiced. Your own mindfulness can support your own health, and help you bring out the best in the people you lead. Optimistic leaders communicate a vision that their teams see as inevitable.  Join your MASE colleagues this fall and explore mindful optimism and how it helps us become better leaders.  

Fees: Please register by Monday, October 16.
Cancellation Fee:  $50
No refunds after Monday, October 16.
No-shows will not receive a refund.
Lodging cancellations are the responsibility of the participant, without exception.

Member:                                                               $319
Member after Monday, October 16 (4:30 pm)      $369
Nonmember:                                                         $399
Nonmember after Monday, October 16                $449
Spouse/Partner (not also a MASE member)        $0.00
Retirees                                                                $0.00

Wednesday, October 25

4:30 - 5:30 pm

Registration Open 

5:30 - 6:30 pm


6:30 - 8 pm

Dessert and Speaker

Beyond Limits
A theatrical presentation about defeating the odds, based on the life of Nikki Abramson
presented by
Breaking Barriers with Toolbox Theatre LLC

Join Nikki and a cast of colorful characters as she refuses to accept the predictions of her doctors. Told at age 5 she would die in her teens, Nikki Abramson pushed past her limits and defied barriers to live her life to the fullest.  Teaching Artist, Educator, and Author Nikki Abramson has teamed up with local playwrights Sara Truesdale and Gizelle Erickson, along with Dennis Dienst, to bring her story to life. A diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder—1 of 10 cases known in the world—gives Nikki a perspective on life that is unique. Along with that come the challenges of disabilities that are often not seen outwardly, the identity of being an adoptee and a woman of color. Overcoming assumptions and ignorance, including her own, with humor and wisdom, she gives the audience members a toolbox of strategies for maintaining hope, even in difficult times. The cast will bring a story that will entertain, inspire, and uplift you.  

8 - 10 pm

Wine Tasting
benefiting the Stenswick Benson Scholarship Fund

Our theme for the Wine Tasting this year is “Live from MASE, it’s Saturday Night Live!” Channel your SNL favorites, whether Bobby Moynihan, Seth Meyers, or Tina Fey … or something more “classic” from the time before Al Franken was a senator (coneheads, anyone?) and get ready to sample your favorite beverages, all to support the Stenswick Benson Scholarship Fund. Our MASE Areas will once again sponsor tables and our theme this year invites the regions to show off their best odes to SNL through their table themes. Everyone votes for their favorite table, and the beautiful (oo-ahhhh) MASE traveling trophy is at stake!

Thursday, October 26

8:00 AM

Silent Auction
benefiting the Stenswick Benson Scholarship Fund

Bidding is open all day until 5 pm.

A wonderful fall conference tradition, the Silent Auction is great shopping for an even greater cause! Start your holiday shopping now ... an auction item might make a great staff recognition ... isn’t it about time you treated yourself?

Please bring your auction items to the registration desk Wednesday or Thursday. Auction items will be on display throughout the day. Be imaginative and donate items you think your colleagues will value. In past years, popular items have included consulting time, books, gift certificates, tickets, home-cooked meals, gift baskets and more.

8:00 am

8:30 am

Tier III Member Exhibitor Set-Up

General Exhibitor Set-Up

9 – 10:30 am

Welcome and Keynote

Positive Psychology and Optimism: Pathways to Well-Being and Resilience
presented by

Gabe Paoletti, EdD

Lead Trainer of Resilience and Positive Psychology Training Programs

Positive Psychology Center
University of Pennsylvania

The mission of the Positive Psychology Center is to promote empirical research, education, training, applications, and the dissemination of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. This field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. At the core of the theme of this conference is the examination of intentional optimism, satisfaction, and well-being. While there are many sources of perspective in popular culture about how to find happiness, this session will help us examine the topic from the standpoint of research and experimental social psychology. Join Dr. Reivich and learn how the Positive Psychology Center addresses its mission—and perhaps enhance your own happiness as well!

10:30 – 11:00 am

Break in the Exhibit Area

11 am – 12:15 pm

Breakout Sessions - information coming soon!

12:15  – 1:30 pm


Dessert in Exhibit Area

1:30 – 2:45 pm

Breakout Sessions - information coming soon! 

2:45 – 3:15 pm

Break in the Exhibit Area

3:15 – 4:30 pm

General Session

MASE Annual Meeting
Join your colleagues for the MASE Annual Meeting, a chance to get updated on Association activities and hear from State Special Education Director Robyn Widley. One lucky participant’s district will win an Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. Must be present to win!

4:30 – 5 pm

MASE Nominating Committee Meeting
(Immediately following Annual Meeting - May break for members to get their final Silent Auction bids in.)

5 – 6 pm

Reception in the Exhibit Area 

6:00 pm

Dinner and Program:

MASE Legacy Award
Keith Erickson, Recipient

Live Auction
Chad Williams and Keith Erickson, Auctioneers

8 – 10 pm

The Pumpkin Patch Bash
The District

Time to celebrate at The Bash with good friends old and new.  The District is a classic rock and roll band playing everything from the Stones to Black Eyed Peas—and every artist in this band is a Brainerd educator!

Friday, October 27

9 – 10:15 am

Breakout Sessions - information coming soon!

10:45 am – Noon 


Closing Session Kidjacked – A Father’s Story of Optimism and Resilience 
presented by 
Scott Lesnick 

Imagine how much the guy who figured out a way to rescue his two small children when they were kidnapped to the Middle East can teach you about resilience, leadership and seeing the big picture in your professional and personal life. In this session, Scott Lesnick will tell his story of how he amazingly devised a daring plan to reunite with his two small children who were kidnapped to the Middle East. No laws required them to be returned! This proved to be a significant test of both his resolve and the strength of his conviction. The abduction and how Scott ultimately regained custody of his children led to the principles of optimism shared in this presentation. And you will be invited to reflect—and tie together our challenges, growth and triumphs. Powerful takeaways are layered throughout.



Contact Information

  • For questions:
    Deb Larson

Payment Instructions

  • We accept the following credit cards:
    American Express

    Please Note: Retired Members/Spouses/Partners: There is no conference fee for for this group. Participants in these categories pay for meals and lodging only. The complimentary fee does not apply if a former or current member is attending as a representative of a business entity or serving as an interim. If so, please register as an exhibitor or member.

    Registration Deadline: Monday, October 16, 2017 (4:30 pm) (fees increase after this date/time)

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