Slette: WF is district of choice thanks to teachers
The City of West Fargo was recently named by WalletHub as the 10th best small town to live in
WalletHub compared more than 1,200 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000
and 100,000 across 40 key indicators of livability. Job opportunities, housing, and a low
unemployment rate are all reasons people want to move to our area. We also have the
reputation of having strong community support for education. This is evidenced by the recent
passing of our $106.9 million bond referendum to provide new schools, renovations and
additions at existing schools, security upgrades, and synthetic turf fields at all three high
I believe the community is so supportive of our schools because of our excellent teaching staff. I
would argue we have the best teachers in the region, and I have the data to back this up. This
past December, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards celebrated 3,907 new
National Board Certified Teachers, and 14 of those teachers were from West Fargo
Public Schools! National Board Certification was designed to develop, retain, and recognize
accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the
most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.
The rigorous certification process requires that teachers demonstrate standards-based evidence
of the positive effect they have on student learning. They must exhibit a deep understanding of
their students, content knowledge, use of data and assessments, and teaching practice. They
must also show that they participate in learning communities and provide evidence of ongoing
reflection and continuous learning.
Very few teachers, less than 4 percent, obtain this certification. There is a cost and the process is intense. Candidates are assessed on their content knowledge, student growth over time, written commentary, instructional choices, engagement with students and collaboration with families, the community, and colleagues. Only someone who is willing to work hard for students and continuously improve would sign up for this certification.
I would like to lift up Jana Oistad, Elsie Peterson, LaRae Rosenfeldt, Leah Swedberg, Rollie
Swedberg, Jill Wold, Brita Bostad Kienzle, Fiona Brendemuhl, Stephanie Cwikla, Shaina
Eagleson, Kelsey Grommesh, Janae Helvic, Daniel Hoornaert, and Bethany Karnik for
successfully completing this intensive certification this year. They join six others in the district
that have previously earned certification: Aaron Knodel, Andrea Fox, Amber Rudolph, Michelle
Strand, Richard Wilson, and Joan Baltezore.
Further, Sheyenne High School earned national recognition by having the most new National
Board Certified Teachers in the country. This is a true testament to the dedication, work ethic,
and sincere desire to be the best educator possible.
Just another reason West Fargo Public Schools continues to be the district of choice.