Dr. Laura Pingry-Kile Receives MASE Legacy Award

Dr. Laura Pingry-Kile Receives MASE Legacy Award

The Minnesota Administrators for Special Education (MASE) has named Dr. Laura Pingry-Kile, Specialized Education Services Director of Eastern Carver County Schools, recipient of the 2023 Legacy Award. Dr. Pingry-Kile will be honored for her commitment to encouraging, developing, and mentoring leaders who reflect the MASE mission at a statewide recognition ceremony during the 2023 MASE Fall Leadership Conference, October 22-24, 2023, at Madden’s on Gull Lake.

Dr. Pingry-Kile has dedicated 29 years to the field of education and administration. She currently serves as the Specialized Education Services Director for Eastern Carver County Schools and Adjunct Professor for Administrative Programs at the University of Minnesota. Prior to her time in Eastern Carver County Schools, Dr. Pingry-Kile served in a number of leadership positions with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Schools, including Special Education Coordinator, Staff Development Coordinator for Special Education, Due Process Facilitator for Elementary and Setting IV Program, and Lead Teacher for Special Education. She began her career in education as a special education teacher in a day treatment program at Albert Lea Area Schools.

“Laura has demonstrated a true commitment to training, mentoring, and supporting leaders who go on to make a positive impact on special education in our state," said Michelle Cuka, Director of Student Support Services of Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools, in her letter of support. "Laura's true legacy is demonstrated by the long list of special education leaders she has developed - and will continue to develop for many years."

Throughout her career, Dr. Pingry-Kile has been dedicated to the mentorship of emerging special education leaders, providing them with guidance, support, and preparation for “the next step.” Her invaluable mentorship has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of numerous administrators who have gone on to assume leadership roles throughout Minnesota. Dr. Pingry-Kile’s passion for mentoring future leaders is illustrated in one letter of support for her award nomination, where seven current directors of special education were named as having previously worked under her leadership and mentorship.

Beyond the technical skills and complex knowledge of the inner workings of special education administration, many of Dr. Pingry-Kile’s peers applaud the adaptive and intuitive leadership that she applies to complex aspects of the field. One example is the issue of teacher support and retention. For several years, Dr. Pingry Kile has led an annual department, “Workload and Wellness Data Dive and Analysis,” aimed at gathering quantitative and qualitative information about staff workload, work-life balance, and the effectiveness of special education supports. The process results in meaningful data from which to drive decisions at all levels with a focus on the support and retention of a high-quality special education leader workforce.

Dr. Pingry-Kile is an active member of MASE and advocates for the positive impact the association has in professional growth, networking, legislative action, and support of its members. She has served in several leadership capacities, including MASE Board of Directors President (2018-19), Strategic Planning, Professional Development, Federal Advocacy, Nominating, Business Partnerships, and Legislative Committees.

Dr. Pingry-Kile earned a doctorate degree in Educational Administration and Policy and a Director of Special Education licensure from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She received a master's degree in Special Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a bachelor's degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

MASE is a professional association organized to promote programs and services to improve the education of children with disabilities, to foster high quality programs of professional development, and to study problems relating to serving children with disabilities and improving the leadership of administrators for special education.