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Aaron Knodel receives 2014

North Dakota

Teacher of the Year award


Aaron Knodel

Aaron Knodel is an English language arts teacher at West Fargo High School, and this fall was named North Dakota's 2014 Teacher of the Year.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler made the announcement in September at a ceremony at West Fargo High School.

"Aaron exemplifies North Dakota's outstanding teachers who are dedicated to education excellence and to helping our young people achieve their full potential," Dalrymple said.

Knodel is a 2001 NDSU graduate in English education, and has taught at West Fargo High School since 2004. He teaches senior English, advanced placement language and composition, debate and argumentation, and the fundamentals of public speaking. He also is an adjunct professor at NDSU and the North Dakota State College of Science, teaching courses in public speaking and the methods of teaching writing. He also serves as president of the North Dakota Council of Teachers of English.

"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to represent this noble profession," Knodel said. "The interactions I have with my students and the interactions they have with each other have the potential, on any given day, to significantly impact their lives."

The program recognizes and honors the contributions of America's classroom teachers. Nominations must come from a teacher, school administrator, school district trustee, local education association, student or parent. Knodel was named Teacher of the Year for West Fargo High School in 2011-12 and 2013-14, making him a candidate for the state award. Knodel will now advance to the national Teacher of the Year program.

KEY: AD-Associate Degree, BA-Bachelor of Arts, BArch-Bachelor of Architecture,  BS-Bachelor of Science, BUS-Bachelor of University Studies,  FS-Former Student,  March-Master of Architecture, 
MBA
-Master of Business Administration,  MEd-Master of Education,  MS-Master of Science, PhD-Doctor of Philosophy

’60s

Joe Isakson, FS '61, agriculture, food systems, and natural resources, was recognized as a distinguished alumnus for the South Dakota State University Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. A retired agricultural journalist, he was assistant agriculture editor for the NDSU Extension Service from 1960-61. He later worked for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Dakota Farmer and The Farmer. He lives in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Don Bartlette, MEd '66, counseling and guidance, has written his upcoming autobiography, titled "Macaroni at Midnight," and a movie about his life is in consideration. He has experienced a 40-year career in public speaking and the ministry. He lives in North Canton, Ohio.

Jane (Bale) Emison, BS '68, design, received the Gamma Phi Beta Philanthropist Award, which honors outstanding endeavors outside the organization. She served 16 years as a national trustee of the Boys and Girls Club Foundation of America, is a trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts and is treasurer of Hillswood Foundation. The award is the highest honor presented by Gamma Phi Beta Foundation. Emison lives in Deephaven, Minn.

Al Gustin, BS '69, agricultural economics, published a book, "Al Gustin's Farm Byline - Reflections on North Dakota Agriculture 1974 to 2013." Gustin, who retired from full-time farm broadcasting in December 2012 after a 45-year career, was named Farm Broadcaster of the Year by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and received the National Farmers Union Milton D. Hakel Award for Excellence in Agricultural Communications.

Elliott Haugen, BS '69, mathematics, German, retired as senior vice president at Kaludis Consulting, a leading higher education consulting firm, where he led the company's information management and technology practice. He previously worked at NDSU and St. Louis University. He and his wife, Vicki, live in Falls Church, Va.

’70s

Danny R. Hoffmann, BS '74, animal science, was named the 2013 North Star Classic Livestock Honoree. A lifelong farmer and livestock producer from Wheatland, N.D., he was honored for his commitment to the livestock industry in the state and a supporter of the North Star Classic since its beginning.

Gregory W. Thompson, BS '76, MS '89, agricultural education, completed his term as 2012-13 president of the American Association for Agricultural Education. He is the department head in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University, where he has been a professor for 17 years.

Barbara (Grembowski) Wheeling, BS '76, animal science, was named dean of the College of Business at Montana State University, Billings.

’80s

Dennis Walsh, BS '80, agricultural economics and agricultural communication, was named Honorary American Farmer at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. The National FFA Organization has 540,379 student members in more than 7,000 local chapters. He previously served on the N.D. FFA Foundation board for six years. He lives and farms in Harvey, N.D., and is chief credit officer at First International Bank and Trust.

David Nelson, MS '81, entomology, received the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He joined the North Dakota Department of Agriculture as a plant protection specialist in 1982 and was appointed state entomologist in 1992. He retired in 2012.

Scott Matthew Williamson, BUS '81, university studies, completed 30 years of service as a certified registered nurse anesthetist for The Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif. He lives in American Canyon, Calif.

Mark Watne, AD '82, agricultural mechanization, was elected president of the North Dakota Farmers Union. He is a self-employed farmer in the Velva, N.D., area and lives in Jamestown, N.D.

Jonathan Crump, BS '84, BArch '84, architecture, joined the Tulsa, Okla., office of Dewberry, an architectural, engineering and consulting company, as the design director. With more than 25 years of experience in architecture, he previously was a principal for Leo A Daly, where he worked on higher education projects.

Kathy (Cook) Helming, BS '84, botany, joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota as director of continuous improvement and performance in health network innovation. She previously was executive director of the office of continuous improvement at Sanford Health, Fargo.

Doug Wild, BArch '87, architecture, BS '87, architectural studies, was named a principal of BWBR, a design solutions company in St. Paul, Minn. He joined the firm in 1998 and has worked on facilities for the Minnesota National Guard, 3M and Minnesota Department of Transportation, among others.

Kevin Nelson, BS '89, civil engineering, joined Larson Engineering Inc., in Bismarck, N.D., as regional manager to oversee the firm's North Dakota operations.

’90s

Kelly James Holwagner, BS '90, business administration, was named vice president of operations at Western Computer. The company is a global Microsoft business solutions reseller and implementation company. He lives in Fargo.

Michael Kithcart, BS '90, mass communication, joined the Baily Group in Minneapolis as a senior consultant and executive coach. She specializes in executive onboarding, change management, board relations and business development.

Phil Hansen, BS '91, agricultural economics, joined the board of directors of the Impact Foundation, a non-profit organization that teaches charities to develop fundraising and leadership skills. The former National League Football player owns a landscaping business in the Detroit Lakes, Minn., area.

Wayne Lagorin, BS '93, petroleum engineering, is the CEO of Spartan Engineering, Tulsa, Okla. The company was recognized at the first annual Oil and Gas Awards ceremony as the Engineering Company of the Year. The company was established in 2009.

Melissa Reardon Olson, BS '93, food and nutrition and corporate and community fitness, joined Noridian Mutual Insurance Co., Fargo, as director of worksite wellness in the company's human resources and development division. She previously was director of Healthy North Dakota at the North Dakota Department of Health in Bismarck, N.D.

Jennifer (Skalicky) Satter, BS '93, business administration, was promoted to Noridian Administrative Services employment manager in human resources and development at Noridian Mutual Insurance Co. She has been with the company since 2001.

Mark Strong, BS '93, electrical and electronic engineering, was named vice president of research and development for HeartWare International Inc., based in Framingham, Mass. At HeartWare, he leads the company's research and development efforts in the area of miniaturized implantable heart pumps or ventricular assist devices. He previously was a vice president for the Boston Scientific Corp. Cardiac Rhythm Management business unit.

Stacey Ackerman, BA '94, English and sociology, was promoted to senior regional fiduciary manager for Wells Fargo Private Bank. She is responsible for investment and fiduciary services business in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. She also is a board member for YMCA of Cass-Clay and is active in the Moorhead Rotary Club.

Ross Manson, BS '94, accounting, MBA '04, business administration, was named to the board of directors of Eide Bailly as principal-in-charge of its Fargo office practice. He is one of the co-creators of Eide Bailly's proprietary Health Care Reform analytics tool, which provides businesses with information regarding current and future health insurance plan costs. Manson joined the firm in 1994.

Thomas Engen, BS '97, business administration, joined Spearfish Motors in Spearfish, S.D., as the company's finance manager.

’00s

Catherine A. Johnson Dutcher, MEd '01, counseling, joined Catholic Charities of North Dakota as director of counseling. She lives in West Fargo.

Sean Safranski, MEd '01, education, was named assistant principal at Davies High School in Fargo.

Jennifer Miller, BA '02, mass communication, MBA '08, business administration, is the global programs/marketing representative for Roll-A-Ramp, West Fargo. The company received the Presidential "E" Award for exports from the U.S. Commercial Service. Miller accepted the award from Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank on behalf of the company at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Brandon Philipczyk, BS 03, political science, was named operations director with the Texas Democratic Party. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Richard L. Shea, BS '08, economics, is an attorney in Alexandria, Minn., at Shea Law Offices PA, a general practice law firm serving west central Minnesota.

Bridget (Curley) Bullinger, BS' 07, dietetics, was honored as the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year by the North Dakota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at the North Dakota Long Term Care Association Annual Convention. She is director of culinary services for St. Benedict's Health Center in Dickinson, N.D.

Michelle Beach, PhD '09, education- institutional analysis, was nominated for the 2013 International Distance Learning Award - Outstanding Leadership by an Individual by the United States Distance Learning Association. She is a faculty member at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Minn.

Greta (loen) Evenson, MEd '09, educational administration, was named assistant principal at Fargo South High School.

’10s

Shawn Crowley, MArch '10, architecture, received the 2013 Early Career Architect Award from the North Dakota chapter of American Institute of Architects. Crowley is an architect with EAPC Architects.

Sara Bakken, BS '12, marketing and retail merchandising, is the traffic coordinator with Absolute Marketing Group, Fargo. She had started with the company as a client relations intern and moved into her new role.

Adam Fuller, BS '12, marketing, joined Flint Communications, Fargo, as an account coordinator to support the company's account services team and strategic planning.

Kristen Oldyn, BS '12, business marketing, joined Absolute Marketing Group of Fargo as a client service representative. She had begun with the company as a media buying intern. She also recently completed her first year as assistant coach with the NDSU Dance Team.

Weston McGruder, BS '13, civil engineering, joined Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services Inc. as an engineer in training in the firm's Moorhead, Minn. office.

Faisal Mohamed, BS '13, management, has begun Ecolab's Supply Chain Leadership Development Program. He is a production supervisor in Martinsburg, W.V.






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