Alaskan Educator Kelly Tonsmeire Recognized By National Dropout Prevention Network with Crystal Star Award of Excellence

CLEMSON, SC — The National Dropout Prevention Network (NDPN) recognized Kelly Tonsmeire as a recipient of the 2014 Crystal Star Award of Excellence for his contributions in the field of dropout prevention. Tonsmeire has devoted the past three decades of his career to providing leadership throughout the state in several critical areas of dropout prevention.

Tonsmeire serves as the director of the Alaska Staff Development Network, non-profit education organization that provides staff development services to educators in Alaska’s K-12 grades. Alaska Staff Development Network is by the Alaska Council of School Administrators. Tonsmeire also directed the Rural Alaska Principal Preparation and Support program, which is designed to reach out to Alaska’s remote districts in order to provide support and education.

In addition to the aforementioned programs, Tonsmeire has further demonstrated his leadership in dropout prevention as director of the Graduation and Academic Improvement for Native Students project, a four-year program located in Bering Strait School District. The program aims to identify at-risk youth and assist them in reaching graduation. This project has increased the graduation rate of the Bering Strait School District by nearly 42%.

“Kelly Tonsmeire is a stellar example of the kind of educator and whose broad-based commitment to dropout prevention generates significant results,” said John Gailer, Assistant Academic Program Director for Programs and Outreach for NDPN. “His tireless advocacy has benefitted students, teachers and throughout Alaska.”

Tonsmeire has also written and directed grants from the U.S. Department of Education and private donors totaling more than $50 million. The money secured by these grants has been utilized to improve student achievement in Alaska’s low-performing schools and districts.

The award to Tonsmeire was announced at the NDPN’s recent National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and will be presented personally during NDPN’s At-Risk Youth Forum taking place February 15-18, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Clemson, South Carolina, the NDPN provides research and evidence-based effective solutions that can be utilized by schools, districts, and communities in the effort to increase graduation rates nationally and provide support to at-risk youth. NDPN’s Crystal Star Award is presented annually to individuals, organizations and programs in recognition of their commitment to education and dropout prevention.

In addition to Tonsmeire, individual winners of this year’s NDPN Crystal Star Awards in the area of dropout prevention include Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and Governor Steven L. Beshear; former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao; and Seith Bedard of the Peabody Learning Academy, in Peabody, MA. Dropout prevention program winners were Mountain Educational Charter High School in Cleveland, GA and Edmonton Catholic Schools in Alberta, Canada.

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