For the first time of its kind, West Fargo Public Schools are celebrating staff accomplishments and years of service at the annual Staff Appreciation Party on Monday, June 14. The new District Staff Appreciation Party honors the recipients of the 2021-2022 Staff of the Year award, state-level Educator of the Year award, Apple Teachers, 2020-2021 retirees and those who have taken a milestone for years of service in West Fargo Public Schools.
Liberty Middle School is hosting this year’s party, with the official recognition party scheduled from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the school theater. A social and community celebration is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with light refreshments and musical entertainment.
West Fargo Public Schools recognizes two district staff through our Staff of the Year program. Nominees for the award are nominated by colleagues, students, parents and / or community members through a letter of support outlining the nominee’s commitment to education, professional development and dedication to the West Fargo community.
Lisa Vasichek, Head School Nurse, received the 2021-2022 Classified Staff of the Year award. Vasichek’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic has been invaluable not only to the school district, but also to the community: as stated in her appointment, “the efforts she has helped lead across the district throughout. last year to bring us to the point where we are today, the return to a fully on-site, in-person model of training deserves more than recognition. “
Jessica Camacho, a reading teacher at Deer Creek Elementary School, received the 2021-2022 Professional / Licensed Staff of the Year award. Ms. Camacho was described in her appointment as an educator who “always brings great ideas and builds great relationships with students, staff and families. She finds ways to develop her students, while showing dedication and care for their growth; his students adore him.
In addition to our own recognition program, the district also had two honored state level administrators:
CTE Director Dr. Denise Jonas received the Administrator of the Year award from the North Dakota Career and Technical Education Association (NDCTEA). In its announcement, NDCTEA said “[ Jonas] is a tireless leader and advocate of vocational and technical training and is recognized by educators, businesses and industry supporters at the local, state, regional and national levels as a thoughtful and motivated individual with a vision to have a impact on CTE.
West Fargo High School Principal Dr. Jennifer Fremstad has been named North Dakota Principal of the Year by the North Dakota High School Principals Association (NDASSP). The NASSP National Director of the Year program recognizes outstanding college and high school principals who have been successful in providing high-quality learning opportunities to students and demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the United States Department of State’s Office of Overseas Schools, and the United States Department of Defense Educational Activity select a college or high school principal to represent their state. As a state winner, Fremstad will be considered for a finalist place for the National Principal of the Year Award.
Finally, I would like to honor and congratulate our retirees. The years leading up to retirement are usually a time when our seasoned staff can relax a bit because of the vast knowledge and skills they have acquired over their many years of experience. They are often used as mentors for new staff in the field, in order to alleviate their uncertainties about their new role. Last year has been so different. Everyone was in the same boat: uncomfortable. The rapid pace of technological advancement has been a huge learning curve for many of our veterans, myself included, even before COVID-19. With the global pandemic, teachers have been given two weeks’ notice to quickly learn how to virtually educate their students. It was not easy. This fall, they saw themselves launching a new curve: teaching virtually and face-to-face at the same time.
It wasn’t easy either. But through it all, we have continued to persevere, as every staff member at West Fargo Public Schools is dedicated to our mission to educate today’s learners or the world of tomorrow. If you see any of these wonderful retirees this summer, please thank them for their dedicated service to the students and families of West Fargo Public Schools.
Debra Beeler, speech therapist, LE Berger Elementary School
36 years of service
Connie Binstock, babysitter, Independence Elementary School, 10 years of service
Cathy Birrenkott, English Learning Teacher, Freedom Elementary School, 31 years of service
Diane Bjornson, Library Media Specialist, Aurora Elementary School, 27 years of service
Mary Kay Boeshans, reading teacher, Willow Park Elementary School, 33 years of service
Allen Burgad, Assistant Secondary Superintendent, 8 years of service
Robert Conrad, bus driver, 15 years of service
Nanci Dauwen, math teacher, Sheyenne High School, 16 years of service
Penelope Eckelberg, paraprofessional, LE Berger Primary School, 22 years of service
Kay Edwards, paraprofessional, Osgood Elementary School, 26 years of service
Gwyn Erickson, fourth grade teacher, Willow Park Elementary School, 15 years of service
Eva Fercho, Administrative Assistant, Sheyenne High School, 5 years of service
Jay Gibson, Business Professor, Sheyenne High School, 30 years of service
Nancy Hansen, paraprofessional, Aurora Elementary School, 25 years of service
Robin Hill, Director of Human Resources, 24 years of service
Larry Johnson, bus driver, 7 years of service
Robin Johnson, second grade teacher, Aurora Elementary School, 30 years of service
Kevin Kessler, paraprofessional, Liberty Middle School, 2 years of service
Terry Koppang, warden, Willow Park Elementary School, 23 years of service
Donald Lennon, Principal, Cheney Middle School, 27 years of service
Kim Lien, Administrative Assistant, Sheyenne High School, 11 years of service
Cynthia Metcalf, Operations Supervisor, Food Service, 24 years of service
Linda Moe, paraprofessional, LE Berger Elementary School, 21 years of service
Karen Morrison Music teacher, Cheney Middle School, after 40 years
Lawrence Ries, bus driver, 12 years of service
Scott Sanders, maintenance worker, 34 years of service
Vonne Smedshammer, science teacher, Cheney Middle School, 30 years of service
William Vistad, occupational therapist, Liberty Middle School, 26 years of service
Robert Wenzloff, maintenance worker, 41 years of service
Debra Wenzloff, babysitter, Willow Park Elementary School, 36 years of service
LaDonna Wiederholt, paraprofessional, West Fargo High School, 11 years of service
Rebecca Zerface, art teacher, Westside Elementary School, 14 years of service
When we say West Fargo Public Schools are the district of choice, don’t think we mean the school district has done this alone. We are the District of Choice because our community comes together with our students and staff and supports the system by engaging in our activities and ensuring that we have the resources we need to do our jobs. I hope you will join me in celebrating our educators on June 14 at Liberty Middle School after what has been the most difficult and memorable year of our educational career.