In the summer of 1988, the family of Morris Bye, former MASA member and superintendent, approached the leadership of MASA and indicated an interest in establishing a memorial in the name of their father to recognize the tremendously important work of superintendents in Minnesota.
Morris Bye died November 6,1983, and left a legacy of dedicated professional service, faith in the dignity of people, a commitment to the welfare of students and a belief in active community involvement. Bye's life exemplified the service principle.
Morris Bye's career began as a school superintendent in York, North Dakota in 1918, upon graduating valedictorian from Concordia College in Moorhead. In 1923, Bye moved to Thief River Falls, Minnesota where he taught and served as high school principal.
In 1926, Bye was appointed Superintendent where he served until 1943.From 1943 until his retirement in 1964, Bye served as Superintendent in Anoka guiding the district through tremendous growth and change. Under his leadership the district grew from a small rural district to the third largest in the State. The district grew ten-fold,combined all or parts of thirty separate districts and constructed 20 schools during his superintendency.
"All of us remember his strong leadership. The one thing people remember is we never lost a bond issue vote during his time. When Mr. Bye said we needed it, we got it. The community had faith in his leadership," said Pauline Chamberlain, a retired Anoka teacher and administrator. Bye was also actively involved in professional organizations serving as President of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators from 1943-45, and as President of the Minnesota Education Association from 1950-52.
The recipient must be a current active or associate member of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, will have at least twenty(20) years of successful administrative experience in Minnesota public schools, and will have served successfully as a superintendent for a minimum of ten(10) years and be a practicing superintendent at the time of nomination.
The recipient shall have demonstrated the following attributes or characteristics throughout their career:
- A life long commitment to educational programs that would insure the maximum development of each and every student.
- Creation of an atmosphere in the schools that allows students to learn and teachers to teach.
- Fostered innovations and ideas enabling teachers and students to enjoy education and to experience and develop
- personal skillsand values such as dedication, perseverance, responsibility,discipline,self-confidence, leadership and citizenship.
- Promoted education for all students providing the opportunity to participate and excel to their potential.
- Participated and demonstrated personal leadership in community affairs, over a long period of time, both within and outside education.
- Shared knowledge and experience with a wide body of Minnesota educators.
- Conduct themselves in a professional manner that bears emulation, and reflects integrity on the school and community.
- Has regard for persons throughout the educational structure as full partners in the process of learning.
Past Morris Bye Memorial Award Recipients 1989-2005
- 1989 Sheldon D. Johnson, Monticello Schools
- 1990 Kenneth J. LaCroix, Hastings Schools
- 1991 Norman R. Miller, Luverne Schools
- 1992 Chris L. Huber, Spring Lake Park Schools
- 1993 Leila R. Anderson, Bloomington Schools
- 1994 Richard H. Berge, Faribault Schools
- 1995 Gerald McCoy, Eden Prairie Schools
- 1996 Burton Nygren, Moundsview Schools
- 1997 Carol Erickson, Roseville Schools
- 1998 Corny Smit, Murray County Central Schools
- 1999 Les Potas, Benson Schools
- 2000 Don Ruble, Chisago Lakes Schools
- 2001 Steve Kjorness, Westbrook-Walnut Grove Schools
- 2002 Keith Klein, Pelican Rapids Schools & Burton Nypen, BrownsValley Schools
- 2003 Edward Anderson, Atkin Schools & Eric Bartleson, WinonaSchools
- 2004 John Tritabaugh, Albany Area Schools
- 2005 Ken Dragseth, Edina Schools