BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 16, 2021 – North Dakota State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said her new Superintendent’s Student Cabinet includes 23 students from across the state, from a third grader to two high school seniors.
The Cabinet provides Baesler with advice and opinions about how to improve North Dakota’s schools and the direction of state education policy. The newly selected group will have its first meeting in March.
“My Student Cabinets have been an invaluable source of information and advice about what is good about our schools, and how things can be better,” Baesler said. “They have made their mark in improving education policy in North Dakota.”
Baesler founded the Cabinet in April 2015. The new group is the fourth Cabinet chosen since Baesler was elected state school superintendent in 2012. Its members serve for approximately 18 months. Student Cabinet members normally meet with the superintendent every three months, although meetings have been more frequent since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.
“It has been especially important to hear from the Cabinet members during the pandemic,” Baesler said. “They have provided essential information and details about how COVID-19 has affected education in their schools.”
The members of the new Cabinet are:
- Landon Pitner, a third grader at South Prairie Elementary in Minot;
- Chase Jackson, a fourth grader at Gussner Elementary in Jamestown;
- Autumn Newman, a fifth grader at Centennial Elementary in Fargo;
- Toby Rule, a fifth grader at Solheim Elementary in Bismarck;
- Marley Lotvedt, a sixth grader at Kenmare Elementary in Kenmare;
- Ella Franklin, a sixth grader at Ben Franklin Middle School in Fargo;
- Silvana Dembiti, a seventh grader at Mandan Middle School in Mandan;
- Olivia Grote, a seventh grader at Simle Middle School in Bismarck;
- Tristan Orton, a seventh grader at Dickinson Middle School in Dickinson;
- Cecelia Bear, an eighth grader at Montpelier Public School in Montpelier;
- Ann Muggli, an eighth grader at Oakes Public School in Oakes;
- Eli Zerr, an eighth grader at South Middle School in Grand Forks;
- Taylor Koster, a ninth grader at Century High School in Bismarck;
- Griffin Terras, a ninth grader at Horace High School in Horace;
- Ayden Frohlich, a 10th grader at Legacy High School in Bismarck;
- Tyson Odermann, a 10th grader at Parshall High School in Parshall;
- Zoe Bundy, a 10th grader at Davies High School in Fargo;
- Aidan Bertsch, an 11th grader at West Fargo High School in West Fargo;
- Amy Hong, an 11th grader at South High School in Fargo;
- Reilly Meyer, an 11th grader at Trinity High School in Dickinson;
- Sheyenne Waletzko, an 11th grader at Lisbon High School in Lisbon;
- Arianna Even, a 12th grader at Legacy High School in Bismarck; and
- Thomas Tiegs, a 12th grader at Ellendale Public School in Ellendale.
Applicants for Student Cabinet positions were asked to write answers to several questions, including an invitation to “describe a challenge facing students in school today” and “What is one thing you think your State Superintendent needs to know about your school?” The applications are reviewed and scored by a team of Department of Public Instruction employees outside the superintendent’s office.
“Including the student voice in our education conversations is especially important to me,” Baesler said. “This is a way to include student opinions in our debates and provide a forum for their views to be heard.”