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West Fargo English Teacher Named ND Teacher of the Year - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

West Fargo English Teacher Named ND Teacher of the Year

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WEST FARGO – An English language arts teacher at West Fargo High School (WFHS) has been named North Dakota's 2014 Teacher of the Year. Governor Jack Dalrymple and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler honored Aaron Knodel during a ceremony on Friday.

Knodel was selected from a pool of four finalists that included Julie Jaeger, a K-5 gifted education teacher from Minot Public Schools; Debra Nelson, a science teacher from Bottineau High School; and Kristi Shanenko, an English language arts teacher from Valley City Junior-Senior High School.

"North Dakota has one of the best educational systems in the country and that is due in large part to the great work that is going on in classrooms across our state," Dalrymple said. "Aaron exemplifies North Dakota's outstanding teachers who are dedicated to education excellence and to helping our young people achieve their full potential."

"North Dakota has the highest quality teachers in our nation," Baesler said. "Aaron is an example of these high caliber instructors who make a daily difference in the lives of all the students in their classrooms and schools."

Knodel has been a teacher at West Fargo High School since 2004 and teaches senior English, advanced placement language and composition, debate and argumentation, and the fundamentals of public speaking. He also serves as an adjunct professor at both North Dakota State University and the North Dakota State College of Science, teaching courses in public speaking and the methods of teaching writing.

Knodel is currently serving as president of the North Dakota Council of Teachers of English. Just this year, Knodel was named WFPS' Teacher of the Year and was named WFHS' Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012.

"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to represent this noble profession," Knodel said. "What makes me passionate about my job every day is the simple fact that 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. I have seen it, and I know the magic of those moments. The rewards of teaching are these moments."

The Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors the contributions of America's classroom teachers. The program is the oldest and most prestigious commendation to focus public attention on excellence in teaching. The state's Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction in conjunction with the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Nominations for Teacher of the Year must come from a teacher, school administrator, school district trustee, local education association, student or parent, and are reviewed by a seven-member selection panel. Knodel will now advance to the national Teacher of the Year program.

West Fargo administrators, educators, students, and representatives from the state's education associations attended Friday's ceremony. Dalrymple and Baesler were joined by West Fargo Public Schools (WFPS) Superintendent David Flowers, WFHS Principal Jennifer Fremstad and Sheyenne 9th Grade Center Principal Greg Grooters.

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