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Christopher Sonju named ’17 Administrator of Excellence

The Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) has named Christopher Sonju, superintendent at Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) Public Schools, as a 2017 Administrator of Excellence.
Sonju received this award in recognition of his leadership, concern for students, and active involvement in professional and community affairs. He will be honored at a statewide recognition ceremony during the MASA/MASE Spring Conference, March 9-10, at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park.
Sonju’s achievements reflect his ability to lead important changes in the educational system. As superintendent at GSL Public Schools, Sonju was able to spearhead the passage of a $24.9 million dollar bond referendum for an addition to GSL’s high school and junior high school. A bond referendum had not been passed in the district since 1969. This addition will have a major impact that will support the district’s teaching and learning for many years to come.
In 2009, Sonju and GSL Public Schools successfully consolidated the former McLeod West School District into three different school districts. It was a major process with GSL Public Schools taking over the former school districts’ property.
Recently, GSL Public Schools have successfully implemented a K-12, fully accredited Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program through Project Lead the Way. All students will experience the program as they go through their years at GSL Public Schools. This STEM program also goes hand in hand with GSL Public School’s technology advancements over the years. The district owns devices for all of their students and all classrooms are equipped with interactive boards to enhance student learning. GSL Public Schools has implemented a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy and has expanded its technology infrastructure to meet the needs of the surrounding community, staff, and students.
Sonju also has begun bringing in community business members to work and interact with students and staff. He started this collaboration to help connect the district’s schools with the surrounding business community. Other programs Sonju has worked to implement include: a recycling program, Books on the Bus, Books for Babies, “Random Acts of Greatness” letter-writing program, and “Get To” Day, where the entire student body and staff celebrate a positive attitude, culture and mind set.
Sonju began his teaching career in 1992 as a sixth-grade teacher and coach at Central Public Schools. In 2004, he served as an assistant principal at the Glencoe-Silver Lake Public Schools before being named as superintendent of the district in 2007.
Sonju has been an active MASA member for 10 years. He has served on the MASA Nominations, Executive Development and Legislative committees. Sonju is a member of Little 10 and the West Central Superintendents Group.
Sonju serves on the steering committee and leads the student leadership portion of a countywide leadership program called McLeod For Tomorrow. This program involves students from all of the high schools in McLeod County and brings them together to support leadership and networking.
He also is a member of the Economic Development Committee for the city of Glencoe, the Glencoe Rotary Club, and the McLeod County Toward Zero Deaths Coalition.
Sonju received his superintendent’s license, master’s and specialist degree, and sixth-year certificate from Minnesota State University-Mankato. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hamline University.
Each year, MASA recognizes members for their contribution to public education. MASA is a professional organization of Minnesota’s school leaders, including superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors of special education, and other central office administrators, as well as state department administrators, college, and university professors, and other educators throughout Minnesota dedicated to educational leadership for students.