• Fergus Falls Mayor Selected as Presidential Leadership Scholar

    Ben Schierer, Mayor of Fergus Falls, MN has been named one of 60 Scholars and the only person from Minnesota who will form the Presidential Leadership Scholars’ (PLS) eighth annual class. PLS serves as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and create meaningful change in the United States and around the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson and their administrations. 
    Schierer is serving his second term as mayor of Fergus Falls, MN, having served two terms as a member of the city council prior to that. He was selected as a 2020-2021 Bush Fellow, a 2021 NewDeal Leader, and received his Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute in May 2022.

    In 2017, Schierer joined a handful of outstate and metro mayors throughout Minnesota for a conversation about how rural-urban divisions were limiting Minnesota’s potential. There were no policy aims or partisan affiliations, only an attempt to build relationships and bridge divides.
    Schierer said this was the start of a personal journey to understand our state’s history of overcoming political and geographic differences that lead him to this opportunity.  
    “I have always had a deep passion and interest in history, especially related to politics,” said Schierer. “The opportunity to learn from former presidents and those who advise them, is an honor and a privilege as I continue my leadership journey. I am committed to sharing what I learn with the people whom I serve, live, and work with in west central Minnesota.”
    During the six-month program, Schierer will focus on strengthening rural democracy in partnership with West Central Initiative. This work includes recruiting, training and supporting candidates for non-partisan, local offices in west central Minnesota. The project is grounded in the belief that effective government requires an informed and engaged citizenry, that civic life is an honorable calling, and that compromise, civility and decency demonstrate strength, not weakness.   
    “This is incredibly important work,” said Anna M. Wasescha, Ph.D., President of West Central Initiative. “We’re excited to take advantage of the leadership skills Ben will bring from the PLS Program nationally, as he works locally to spur interest and confidence in serving our communities through elected office.”
    The class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were chosen based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a critical challenge or need in a community, profession, or organization.
    Over the course of the program, Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact.
    The 2023 program will begin on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.

    About Presidential Leadership Scholars
    The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. To learn more, visit www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org. For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars and follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Instagram.