State Superintendent's Family Engagement Cabinet

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2021-2022 Family Engagement Cabinet

The purpose of the State Superintendent's Family Engagement Cabinet is to provide a safe space that allows members from all over the state to share their experience as a parent, guardian, caretaker, or educator in North Dakota with State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler. The Cabinet shares advice, ideas, and opinions about how North Dakota families and schools can better work together to support the education of all children.

Family Engagement Cabinet meetings are held in Bismarck at least quarterly, and may also include virtual meetings throughout the year. Cabinet members (up to 25 per term) will work collaboratively with each other, ND Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) staff, and outside partners as needed, and express views and opinions openly and constructively. The Cabinet will assist NDDPI in facilitating partnerships and collaboration with families and schools. 

Cabinet members are expected to:

  • Attend quarterly face-to-face meetings in Bismarck and potentially participate in virtual meetings throughout the year.
  • Come prepared for each session and work collaboratively with each other, NDDPI staff, and outside partners. 
  • Engage in open and respectful dialogue. 
  • Actively serve a term of 18 months. Members in good standing may apply for a second term.

Since it's inception in May 2019, the Family Engagement Cabinet has been very busy. Some of the main accomplishments during the first term, made while in the midst of a global pandemic, include:

  • Creation of the Family Resource Kit full of crisis interventions, social-emotional/behavioral health, and local family resources; educational resources for distance learning; common ND distance learning platform tutorials; and distance learning tips, tricks, and scheduling. 
  • Creation of the North Dakota Family Engagement Facebook Group.
  • Creation of the PreK-12 Alliance in April 2020, which includes several Family Engagement Cabinet members.
    • The PreK-12 Alliance is a team of family members, educators, and community leaders formed to build better, more responsive relationships between families and educators to support each PK-12 learner's success.
    • The PK-12 Alliance, in partnership with NDDPI and the Center for Innovation in Education, used a design process that began with a focus on learners and then asked how solutions that are good for learners could be designed so there were also good for families and educators. The result is a set of 8 specific innovations, called the Family Partnership Strategy Playbook, that have the potential to improve the experience of all stakeholders.
    • The PK-12 Alliance also held a series of 4 live Coffee Chat events to discuss the strategies in the Playbook with educators and families and is gearing up to aid local teams working to implement Playbook strategies in their own communities.

2021-2022 Family Engagement Cabinet Members

  • *Kimberly Berdahl, TGU
  • *DeAnn Bjornson, Fargo
  • *Jennifer Braun, Dickinson
  • *Courtney Davis Souvannasacd, Grand Forks
  • *Kristi Engelstad, West Fargo
  • *Jacqueline Frost-Hodney, Lankin
  • *Sarah Gackle, Kulm
  • *Bree Anne Hinojos, Devils Lake
  • *Sheila Hoffman, Williston
  • *Suzanne Kilichowski, Minto
  • *Mike McHugh, Mandan
  • *Kris Piehl, Marion
  • *Melissa Sagness, Bowbells
  • *Jayce Schumacher, Grafton
  • *Joy Sparks, Tioga
  • *Chantel Southam, Sherwood
  • *Maxine Thunder Hawk, Fort Yates
  • *Angie Waletzko, Lisbon

*Denotes member is serving their second term.

The current term is January 1. 2021 through June 30, 2022.