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Character Recognition Day celebrates the statewide achievements of schools and community programs in their efforts to improve academic achievement, behavior, school climate, ethical leadership and character development. Synergy & Leadership Exchange (Synergy) hosts the Character Recognition Awards to spotlight character and ethical leadership development, bring recognition to schools and programs with exemplary efforts, motivate honorees for continued effort and success, and inspire others with examples to replicate. View Governor’s Character Recognition Day proclamation.  View event summary and photos from 2017 ceremony.
Character Recognition Awards
The 2018 Character Recognition Awards will be held Thursday, May 10 at the Science Museum of Minnesota. New this year is an award ceremony luncheon. We are currently looking for sponsors to help grow this amazing event. Learn more about available sponsorship opportunities. Submit a donation by mail or online. If you are interested in attending the event, please contact Barb Bergseth at or 507-389-5112.  
We are pleased to announce that Fred Kiel, Ph.D. will be the keynote speaker. As a founding partner of the leadership development and strategic analytics firm KRW International, Kiel has helped Fortune 500 CEOs and senior executives build organizational effectiveness through leadership excellence and mission alignment. He is author of the book, “Return on Character — The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win,” where his research demonstrates that leaders with strong character have a positive effect on business results.
Minnesota State Schools of Character
The Minnesota Schools of Character (MNSOC) program recognizes schools and/or districts that excel in exemplifying the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education and demonstrate outstanding character education initiatives that yield positive results in student behavior, school climate, and academic performance. It is a school improvement process, which offers the opportunity for self-assessment and expert feedback.

For more information, to apply, or to view current and past honorees, visit the Minnesota State Schools of Character page.

Minnesota Promising Practices
Promising Practices are successful and unique ways developed by schools, districts and youth serving organizations to promote character development in PreK-12 students. The practice should exemplify one or more of the 11 Principles of Effective Character Educationdeveloped by

For more information, to apply, or to view current and past honorees, visit the Promising Practices page.

Minnesota Ethical Leadership Award
The Minnesota Ethical Leadership Award (MELA) celebrates community programs with outstanding character and ethical leadership development. Anyone may nominate an exemplary program; nominees are invited to submit an application to become eligible for the award.

For more information, to place a nomination or to view current and past honorees visit the Minnesota Ethical Leadership Award page


"Civic education is a cornerstone of what makes Minnesota so special. We have long been home to responsible ethical leaders and residents who engage in civic life and contribute to our communities. Support for quality character education will strengthen Minnesota for generations to come.”

— Steve Simon,
Minnesota Secretary of State 

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