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Press Release

State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Wednesday celebrated 49 North Dakota educators who have been named as County Teachers of the Year, saying they are leaders in their schools and communities.

“Across our state, in rural areas and larger communities alike, our teachers bring their skills, compassion and dedication to their North Dakota classrooms,” Baesler said. “These County Teachers of the Year are examples of educational excellence, who have been recognized as such by their colleagues, their students and their families.”

The 2024 county winners are:

Adams: Anna Block, Hettinger Public School

Barnes: Tresa Cruff, Barnes County North

Benson: Abel Sacatani, Warwick Public School

Billings: Jennifer O’Brien, Prairie Elementary School

Bottineau: Casey Mills, Westhope Public School

Bowman: Amy Burke, Bowman County

Burke: Whitney Rick, Burke Central

Burleigh: Kendall Bergrud, Wachter Middle School

Cass: Deb Pieper, West Fargo High School

Cavalier: Lane Lindseth, Langdon Area Schools

Dickey: Anna Kemmer, Southeast Region Career and Technology Center, Oakes

Divide: Rayme Haggin, Divide County Elementary

Dunn: Vicki Carney, Killdeer Public School

Emmons: Kadie Walls, Linton Public School

Foster: Kristen Hewitt, Carrington High School

Golden Valley: Chelsey Erdmann, Lincoln Elementary

Grand Forks: John Stempinski, Valley Middle School

Grant: Kayla Tatro, Roosevelt Public School, Carson

Griggs: Kayla Danielson, Griggs County Central

Hettinger: Eamon Alido, Mott Regent Public School

Kidder: Danielle Wachter, Kidder County Public School

LaMoure (2): Cameron Young, Edgeley Public School; Heidi Mathern, Edgeley Public School

Logan: Christina Gross, Napoleon Public School

McHenry: Emma Cook, TGU Towner

McIntosh: Alli Mogen, Wishek Public School

McKenzie: Tiffany Olson, Fox Hills Elementary

McLean:  Seleena Briones, White Shield School

Mercer: Katie Isaak, Beulah Elementary School

Morton: Mary McHugh, Sweet Briar School

Mountrail: Erica McRae, Parshall High School

Nelson: Jill Wall, Lakota Elementary School

Oliver: Lynn Schwalk, Center-Stanton High School 

Pembina: Heather Lafferty, North Border

Pierce: Ashleigh Blikre, Ely Elementary 

Ramsey: Kelly Anderson, Sweetwater Elementary

Ransom: Ashley Nudell, Lisbon Public Schools

Renville: Chaleigh Clark, MLS Mohall 

Richland: Kristi Nordick, Zimmerman Elementary

Rolette: Brooke Zupan, St. John’s Public School

Sheridan: Lucas Senske, McClusky-Goodrich High School

Sioux: Tessa Jahner, Solen High School

Steele: Denise Carlson, Finley-Sharon Public School

Stutsman: Charity Dosch, Montpelier Public School

Traill: Wendy Dafforn, Hatton Eielson School

Walsh: Trisha Cole, Park River Area School

Ward: Macie Harris-Nelson, Kenmare Public Schools

Wells: Angel Opdahl, Central Regional Special Education Unit

Williams: Kari Hall, Williston High School

Baesler has expanded North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year program during her tenure as state school superintendent, with a goal of having county award winners from all 53 of North Dakota’s counties. The 2024 class has 49 award winners from 48 counties. LaMoure County has two County Teacher of the Year winners because of a tie in the program’s scoring metrics.

The county awards announced Wednesday are part of North Dakota’s state Teacher of the Year recognition program. County award recipients are eligible to apply for state Teacher of the Year honors. 

North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year for 2025 will be named Sept. 27 at a ceremony in the state Capitol. The person who is honored will succeed the incumbent, Sheila Peterson, a physical education teacher at Wachter Middle School in Bismarck. The tenure of the new state Teacher of the Year begins Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31, 2025.

County Teacher of the Year candidates were nominated in January and February. A total of 356 educators were nominated from all 53 counties; nominated teachers in five of those counties chose not to apply for County Teacher of the Year consideration. In all, there were 496 nominations for the 356 teachers (many were nominated more than once), including 166 nominations from Williams County alone. 

Of the 356 teachers who were nominated, 183 applied to be considered for county awards. The applications were then reviewed and scored, and winners from 48 counties were chosen earlier this month. 

Anyone who believes a North Dakota teacher is deserving of County Teacher of the Year recognition may nominate her or him, including students, family members, teacher colleagues, or administrators.

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