The Fantastic Forty: ND County Teachers of the Year Named for 2021

Bismarck, ND (KEYZ) They’re being heralded by North Dakota’s State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler as the “Fantastic Forty,” 40 teachers who are the best-of-the-best in the counties they serve.

“Traditionally we’ve had four finalists recognized for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year and just knowing how many wonderful teachers we have throughout the state, I thought we should expand our North Dakota State Teacher of the Year program to recognizing individual Teachers of the Year from each and every one of our counties across the state,” said Baesler in a release Monday announcing the honorees for 2021.

Baesler says “the purpose and goal behind [the program] is to expand our recognition and make sure that every corner of our state is recognizing and has the ability to say ‘this is a great teacher of the year from our county’.”

North Dakota has 53 counties. Fourteen counties did not have anyone nominated as a County Teacher of the Year. Baesler says the goal is to have a teacher nominated for County Teacher of the Year in all of North Dakota’s counties.

Among this year’s honorees are one of Williston’s own, Band Director for Williston High School Eric Rooke, named Teacher of the Year for Williams County and East Fairview Elementary School Teacher Torrey Larson, named Teacher of the Year for McKenzie County.

All of the 40 teachers will be eligible for consideration as North Dakota’s State Teacher of the Year. That honor will be given this fall.

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