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Rugby, Harvey teachers to take part in Teacher Leadership Academy

By Staff | May 17, 2019

On Tuesday, June 11th 10 teachers from Harvey and 10 teachers from Rugby will begin graduate coursework to earn their master’s degree in leadership from North Dakota State University (NDSU). But this graduate program looks different than a traditional on campus kind; teachers from Harvey and Rugby won’t be travelling to Fargo to take their classes. Rather, the classes are brought to them in person, in the comfort and context of their own school.

Teacher Leadership Academies (TLA) in North Dakota are collaborations between local districts or groups of districts, and NDSU, to offer a master’s degree in leadership for teachers. The traditional pathway to a master’s degree in leadership would have candidates attending the prescribed courses on campus, taught potentially by several different professors, in “silos.” However, in the TLA model, coursework is collaboratively planned and taught between a NDSU professor or supervised adjunct, and a district liaison (Rugby Superintendent Mike McNeff is the district liaison for the Harvey/Rugby TLA). Every academy is taught in the context of the local district, not at the university. This makes the work highly relevant for the learner.

The model used in North Dakota was adapted from a similar approach developed by Dr. Mary Devin at Kansas State University. The first Teacher Leader Academy was conducted in North Dakota in West Fargo Public Schools in 2014 and since then there have been seven other academies, with three more starting this summer, and two more slated for summer 2020.

“I first heard about the Teacher Leader Academy when it was implemented at Northern Cass and West Fargo. I have been able to talk with teachers and administrators from these two schools and they have raved about the opportunities that the academy provided to their respective school districts. I have been working with Dr. Ann Clapper at NDSU for a few years to get the Teacher Leader Academy into our school district. We are fortunate to have been selected to host an academy for both the Rugby and Harvey school districts. We are looking forward to watching these teachers grow as individuals over the next two to three years in this program,” said Rugby Superintendent Mike McNeff.

This collaborative investment is made possible because of support from the Burgum Foundation, which funds half the tuition for teachers in the program. “Burgum Foundation aims to pursue philanthropy with the same focus on innovation, service and hard work that has propelled Arthur Companies for over a century. We are thrilled that teachers from Harvey and Rugby can take part in this academy because we know it will directly impact the students and the community,” said Rick Burgum, chairman of Arthur Companies and founder of Burgum Foundation.

The 20 teachers from Harvey and Rugby will complete their master’s degree in five semesters, with an expected graduation date of December 2020. The two schools take turns hosting the courses for the duration of the program. Teachers from Harvey include Nicole Armstrong, Bret Dockter, Kate Dockter, Pamela Faul, JoDee Free, Heidi Keller, Ashley Ketterling, Kristen Steichen, Brandon Storbeck, and Vondell Stutlien. Teachers from Rugby include Jennifer Bartsch, Cassie Duchscher, Deborah Goven, Leah Johnson, Shannon Miller, Daniel Seykora, Breanne Sherlock, Khloe Sobolik, Kimberly Williams, and Shauna Wurgler.

“When sound leadership qualities are instilled in the right person or group of people, there is no end to positive difference that can be made. I am so excited for the opportunity to bring the Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) to Harvey Public Schools, and so thankful to the Burgum Foundation’s investment in our teachers. The leadership qualities that our teaching staff will develop will not only benefit their respective classrooms, but will also contribute to our School District and the Harvey area community for many years to come,” said Harvey superintendent Dan Stutlien.

Media representatives may contact Dani Bohnsack, Burgum Foundation at dani@burgumfoundation.org or 701-235-4195

– Burgum Foundation

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