BISMARCK, N.D., July 7, 2021 – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler last week congratulated four North Dakota educators who have been chosen as finalists for the state’s Teacher of the Year award for 2022.
They are Bret Dockter, a sixth-grade teacher at Harvey Elementary School; Heather Ell, a first-grade teacher at John Hoeven Elementary School in Minot; Shari Jerde, a teacher of business education and family and consumer science at Grand Forks Community High School; and Matt Nielson, an 11th- and 12th-grade science teacher at Valley City High School.
In May, Baesler honored teachers from 40 North Dakota counties as 2021 County Teachers of the Year. The four state Teacher of the Year finalists were drawn from that group. The superintendent plans to honor the state Teacher of the Year finalists at celebrations to be held this fall at their respective schools.
“We have many outstanding educators in our state, and this group of four state Teacher of the Year finalists represent examples of our finest,” Baesler said. “They deserve our respect, admiration, and appreciation for the exceptional jobs that they do.”
The Teacher of the Year selection process is spelled out in state law (NDCC 15.1-02-21). Dockter, Jerde, Nielson, and Ell will be interviewed in the coming days by an eight-member screening committee, which will choose the 2022 Teacher of the Year. Baesler and Gov. Doug Burgum are required to announce the winner by Sept. 30.
“This past school year gave us another brilliant example of the important role our teachers play in the lives of our North Dakota students,” Baesler said. “So many of our teachers went above and beyond to make sure their students were safe, and able to continue learning despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
North Dakota's Teacher of the Year will become a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award, which is selected by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a Washington, D.C.-based organization that represents state education interests. Baesler is a member of the board of directors of the CCSSO.