State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Monday congratulated 16 North Dakota teachers who have been named 2021 County Teachers of the Year, saying they represent the best of public education in North Dakota.

“We are blessed to have teachers of this quality in our schools, especially during this uncertain pandemic time when instructional creativity and innovation are essential,” Baesler said. “Our students, and all of us as North Dakotans, should be impressed and honored by their passion, honesty, humility, and their willingness to inspire their students to fulfill their potential.”

This year’s county winners are:

  • Bottineau County: Jessica Marsh, a 3rd-6th grade English teacher at Newburg United School;
  • Burke County: Elizabeth Loeks, a 2nd-grade teacher at Powers Lake Elementary School;
  • Cass County: Kimmy Milligan, a student performance strategist at Eagles Elementary School in Fargo;
  • Dickey County: Kalyn Haafke, a 7th-9th grade English teacher in the Oakes Public Schools;
  • Emmons County: Joleen Silbernagel, a 7th-12th grade mathematics teacher at Strasburg High School;
  • Foster County: Claudia Park, a librarian and teacher at Carrington Public Schools;
  • Grand Forks County (2): Eileen Zygarlicke, an English teacher in the Grand Forks Community High School, and Jacqueline Zikmund, a high school mathematics teacher at Midway Public Schools in Inkster;
  • McKenzie County: Alexandria Brummond, a prekindergarten-12 science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and robotics teacher at Alexander Public Schools;
  • McLean County: Brooklyn Schaan, a Title 1 reading and mathematics teacher at Washburn Public Schools;
  • Mountrail County: Nancy Reimer, a business and computer teacher in the New Town Public Schools;
  • Nelson County: Chad Berger, a high school social studies teacher at Dakota Prairie School in Petersburg;
  • Ramsey County: Diane Mertens, a special education teacher in Devils Lake High School;
  • Renville County: Kimberly Brown, a Title 1 elementary teacher and instructional strategist in the Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Public Schools;
  • Sargent County: Rebeka Helm, a 7th-12th grade English teacher in the North Sargent Public Schools in Gwinner; and
  • Stark County: Amanda Fisher, a counselor at Jefferson Elementary School in Dickinson.

The county awards are part of North Dakota’s state Teacher of the Year recognition program. The county Teachers of the Year were nominated for the awards. Nominees may be put forward by anyone who believes the teacher is deserving, including his or her school colleagues, students and their students’ parents.