January - March 2016

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2016 North Dakota Teacher of the Year
By Patricia Laubach, Program Administrator
Photo of Amy Neal
Governor Jack Dalrymple and State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler jointly named Minot educator, Amy Neal, as North Dakota’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Neal is the head kindergarten teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Minot.
 
Mrs. Neal was selected from a pool of four finalists that included Matthew Myrold, special education instructor at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School in Fargo; Heath Rydell, PE/health teacher at South Elementary School in West Fargo; and Heather Jane Tomlin-Rohr, kindergarten teacher at Louis L’Amour Elementary School in Jamestown.
 
Amy Neal’s work outside the classroom demonstrates the dedication and work ethic that is in constant overdrive.  She is an active participant in legislative issues concerning kindergarten. Ms. Neal also teaches and mentors peers and college students as they prepare to become our next generation of inspiring educators.
 
The North Dakota Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors the contributions of America’s classroom teachers.  The program is the oldest and most prestigious commendation to focus public attention on excellence in teaching.  The state’s Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in conjunction with the Council of Chief State School Officers.
 
A teacher may be recommended initially for nomination by any person within the school or community including parents, students, business leaders, school administrators, or colleagues and are reviewed by a seven-member selection panel.  Mrs. Neal will now advance to the National Teacher of the Year Program.
 
For more information on the North Dakota Teacher of the Year Program, please contact Patricia A. Laubach at plaubach@nd.gov or (701) 328-4525.  
 

North Dakota Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program
By Patricia Laubach, Program Administrator

Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp today announced the names of the two students who have been selected as delegates to the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 5 – 12, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Sara Hatlewick of Jamestown and Alexis Vannett of Fargo were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 54th annual Washington Week.
 
The USSYP has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making, not only for America, but for people around the world.”  In addition to participation in Washington Week, The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history, and public affairs.  Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations.
 
Sara Hatlewick attends Gackle-Streeter Public School and serves as the secretary-treasurer of her class and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter president. She has been a participant at the People to People Leadership Summit at Harvard and has received the Danforth I Dare You national award. She is active in FFA, 4-H, track, archery, chorus and speech. Sara reaches out to her community by mentoring students and serving as the founder of a local food drive.
 
Alexis Vannett attends Fargo North High School and serves as the Student Body president. She is the Key Club secretary and a member of the National Honor Society. She has served as a senator in Girls State, and is an intern in the North Dakota governor’s office. She has raised funds for the Great Plains Food Bank. Alexis plays guitar, piano, and sings. She hopes to major in political science and government.
 
Chosen as alternates to the 2016 program were Dawson Schefter, a resident of Langdon, who attends Langdon Area High School and Sedalia Mahlum, a resident of Bismarck, who attends Century High School.
 
While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with Senators, House Representatives and Congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
 
The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals.  This year’s delegates were designated by Kirsten Baesler, Superintendent of Public Instruction.  For general information about the USSYP, please contact North Dakota state coordinator, Patricia A. Laubach at plaubach@nd.gov or (701) 328-4525.