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School board member Nitzkorski steps down after 13 years

Longtime West Fargo School Board member Karen Nitzkorski is not seeking re-election in June. Dave Wallis

Since December of 2000, one constant at the West Fargo School Board table has been Karen Nitzkorski.

That will change in June.

Nitzkorski decided not to run for re-election and will end her time with the board this summer.

“I feel like the school district is in a great place right now,” Nitzkorski said. “It has great leadership in Dr. Flowers, (Business Manager) Mark Lemer and the two assistant superintendents. There are some great teachers here, and great board members staying on. I think we are in a really strong place.”

As a mother of three children, Nitzkorski wanted to join the school board 13½ years ago to have a “higher level” of involvement in the education process.

“I was certainly a mom involved with her kids’ education, but I wanted to be more involved,” Nitzkorski said. “I thought this would give me a more comprehensive view of the district.”

With her youngest child graduating from West Fargo High School this month and her job as an independent contractor – working primarily with PartnerShips 4 Health – taking her all over North Dakota, she decided that now was the time to step down, saying the demands placed upon her make it difficult for her to give the school district the attention it deserves.

In her years as a board member – one of which as the board president in 2010-2011 – Nitzkorski believes the district has almost doubled, and she appreciates how the district has grown academically to a “higher level of excellence” along with its growth in enrollment.

“I wanted more challenging courses for the students, like AP course and dual credits with colleges,” Nitzkorski said. “When I started, I believe there were four AP courses, and now there are dozens. The fact that there is so much more available to the growing number of students is just great.”

She is not the only board member stepping down from her role at this time, as both Dave Olson and Judy Kvaale have decided not to run for reelection after four years on the board. Kvaale’s decision came after she realized she was unable to give the board and the district the time they deserve.

Olson, on the other hand, felt he could not give the necessary amount of time to both the board and his life outside the board.

“You don’t realize how much time it entails until you are on the board,” Olson said. “To give enough time to my family and our business, I knew I wouldn’t be able to put in the time to justify being a good board member.”

Nitzkorski found this was the time to relinquish her role after seeing the credentials of the six candidates running for election to four seats, and is very comfortable with the leadership of Superintendent David Flowers, who she says “knows how to bring out the best in people.”

While she is content with her decision, she knows she will miss many aspects of her tenure on the West Fargo School Board.

“I will probably miss it all,” Nitzkorski said. “I am going to miss the involvement in the district and knowing what is going on and the best practices. We made what was possible a reality a few times in the past few years.”