LERN Award

From left are Tim Litfin, Saul Thiesen, Jenny Bodurka, Mercedes Scott, Sheila Arnold and Sally Belgum-Blad. They hold the 2019 LERN International Award for Excellence in Programming.

Minnetonka Community Education was recognized in October by Minnesota Community Education Association for its March 2018 Top Customer Event. This award was a Project Award presented to outstanding projects that exemplify the concept of Community Education in Minnesota. The Project Award is given to the program or event that best displays cooperation, teamwork, use of resources, achievement and community impact. Minnetonka Community Education has been selected for an MCEA program or project award each year since 2012.

In November, MCE’s Top Customer event also won the International Award in Lifelong Learning for Best Programming by the Learning Resources Network, the largest continuing and community education association in the world.

Jenny Bodurka, Sheila Arnold, Saul Thiesen, Mercedes Scott, Sally Belgum-Blad and Tim Litfin accepted the award on behalf of MCE. The award was one of 20 given at LERN’s annual conference in Savannah, Georgia, attended by more than 650 professionals in lifelong learning from three countries.

“The award is for innovation in the field of community education and serving communities,” noted LERN President William A. Draves. This is the second consecutive year that MCE has been recognized by LERN and this year’s award was per William A. Draves, “was one of LERN’s top-four favorite programs of the year.”

The award-winning event began when the MCE staff undertook an in-depth analysis of their participants and identified their top 200 customers. MCE next held an appreciation dinner for the top customers, not only in recognition, but as a data-gathering and networking opportunity for the customers and the organization. MCE was able to gain invaluable knowledge about the demographics of their customers and receive feedback on the impact of MCE’s programming in the community. MCE strives to continually improve its offerings to better serve learners from birth through adulthood.

Minnetonka Community Education’s leadership team were recognized for these two awards and presented recognition certificates by the Minnetonka School Board at the Minnetonka School Board meeting on Dec. 13.