MPS announces new Southwest HS principal

Minneapolis Public Schools has hired a longtime principal and administrator to be the new principal of Southwest High School.


The district announced Monday that Michael Favor, who is currently interim superintendent of Monticello Public Schools, will become the school’s principal on July 1. Favor previously was an executive director in the Robbinsdale school district and a principal at Robbinsdale Cooper High School and Minneapolis North High School.

“Southwest High School has amazing students and staff committed to social justice and making our school, our community and our world a better place,” Favor said in a letter posted on the school’s website. “My job will be to give them the tools to make that happen and to set them up to achieve their dreams — both today and tomorrow. Together, we can make sure Southwest remains a world-class school where every student has the opportunity to thrive.”

In an interview, Favor said he misses the opportunity to work with a community and staff and to be around students and families. He said he’s excited to work with Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff and the Minneapolis district.

Favor said the size, demographics and communities at Southwest appealed to him about the school. He said he partnered with former Southwest principal Bill Smith to talk about ways to engage students in the learning process when he was principal at North.

Favor called himself a collaborative leader, adding that he believes in the power of shared leadership among teaching groups and the school community. He said he wants to help instill in students soft skills such as timeliness that are going to give them the edge up in the real world.

“I’m a firm believer in the importance of academic and social-emotional needs of students,” he said.

Favor began his career as co-director of the residential treatment center at St. Joseph’s Home for Children in Minneapolis, according to a bio posted by the district. He went onto work as an assistant principal and dean of students at St. Louis Park High School before working at North for six years, according to his LinkedIn page. He worked for the Robbinsdale district for about 10 years, serving the last four as executive director of schools and student services.

According to his bio, Favor was instrumental in expanding post-secondary opportunities for students in Robbinsdale by creating partnerships with local colleges and technical schools. The bio says student suspensions decreased over 75 percent while opportunities for students to earn concurrent college credit have doubled.

Graduation rates increased for all student demographic groups during Favor’s tenure as principal at Cooper, according to the bio.

Favor holds a doctorate in education from St. Cloud State University. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, inducted in 2011 after helping North Dakota State University to three Division II national championships as a center in the 1980s.

Favor also serves as an adjunct professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Favor’s hire comes about nine months after the district announced the retirement of longtime principal Bill Smith and the departure of two of the school’s assistant principals. Longtime MPS principal Karen Wells has served as interim principal this school year.