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Press Release

BISMARCK, N.D., April 21, 2023 – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Friday praised the 42 North Dakota educators who have been named as County Teachers of the Year for 2023, saying their passion for serving students and families uphold the state’s tradition of excellence in public education.

“Our county Teachers of the Year are among our best at educating the next generation of young North Dakotans. They impart knowledge in reading, math, science, and other subjects, and they do it with passion, empathy, imagination, and a spirit of service,” Baesler said. “They embody the best qualities of the teaching profession.”

The 2023 county winners are:

Adams: Cynthia Arndorfer, Hettinger Public School, Hettinger

Barnes: Kelly Scott, Barnes County North, Wimbledon

Billings: Jamie Prellwitz, Prairie Elementary, Fairfield

Bottineau: Jocelyn Grann, Westhope Public School, Westhope

Burke: Valerie Bolen, Powers Lake School, Powers Lake

Burleigh: Sheila Peterson, Wachter Middle School, Bismarck

Cass (2): Amy Braddock, Harwood Elementary, Harwood; Sara Lichtblau, South High School, Fargo

Dickey: Kelli Gebhardt, Oakes Public Schools, Oakes

Dunn: Mark Zastoupil, Killdeer Public School, Killdeer

Eddy: Laura Hager, New Rockford-Sheyenne Public School, New Rockford

Emmons: Joan Hettich, Linton Public School, Linton

Golden Valley: Denise Dietz, Lincoln Elementary, Beach

Grand Forks: Nikki Polum, South Middle School, Grand Forks

Griggs: Marissa Dahl, Griggs County Central, Cooperstown

Kidder: Jennifer Kallenbach, Kidder County Public Schools, Steele

LaMoure: Dawn Schmitt, LaMoure Public School, LaMoure

Logan: Tina Nitschke, Gackle-Streeter Public School, Gackle

McHenry: Magdeline Brandt, TGU Granville School, Granville

McIntosh: Jessica Schmidt, Ashley Public School, Ashley

McKenzie: Julie Gronos, Badlands Elementary, Watford City

McLean: Randall Hanson, Washburn Public School, Washburn

Mercer: Rebecca Johnson, Hazen Elementary, Hazen

Morton: Cheryl Wehri, Hebron Public School, Hebron

Mountrail: Kyle VanWagoner, Edwin Loe Elementary, New Town

Oliver: Brooke Boeshans, Center-Stanton Public School, Center

Pembina: Anna Mertz, Cavalier Public School, Cavalier

Pierce: Andee Mattson, Ely Elementary, Rugby

Ramsey: Megan Wasness, Central Middle School, Devils Lake

Ransom: Kortney Groettum Vesel, Lisbon High School, Lisbon

Renville: Rebecca Young, Glenburn Public Schools, Glenburn

Richland: Chandra Muller, Zimmerman Elementary, Wahpeton

Rolette: Eric LaRocque, Turtle Mountain Middle School, Belcourt

Sargent: Kimberley Dahlgren, Milnor Public School, Milnor

Stark: Trevor Conrad, Dickinson High School, Dickinson

Steele: Marita Erman, Finley-Sharon Public School, Finley

Stutsman: Danny Fischer, Medina Public School, Medina

Towner: Lindsay Bundermann, North Star Public School, Cando

Traill: Krista Hogfoss, Peter Boe Jr. Elementary, Mayville

Walsh: Haley Ulland, Park River Area School, Park River

Ward: Trisha Schaefer, Erik Ramstad Middle School, Minot

Wells: Kori Jensen, Harvey Public School, Harvey

Baesler’s goal has been to have County Teacher of the Year honorees from all of North Dakota’s 53 counties. Cass County has two 2023 County Teacher of the Year winners because they registered identical scores during their evaluations.

County Teacher of the Year candidates were nominated in January and February. A total of 146 educators were nominated from 48 counties; of those, 83 applied for a county award. The applications were then reviewed and scored, and winners from 41 counties were chosen earlier this month. Nominations came from students, family members, teachers, and school administrators. Anyone who believes a North Dakota teacher is deserving of recognition may make a nomination.

The county awards are part of North Dakota’s state Teacher of the Year recognition program. County Teacher of the Year winners will be sent applications to be considered for state Teacher of the Year.

North Dakota law requires that the 2024 state Teacher of the Year be named before Sept. 30, 2023. The 2024 North Dakota Teacher of the Year’s term begins Jan. 1, 2024, and will run through Dec. 31, 2024. Additional details about the selection process and qualifications are listed on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s website.

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