Staples, Minn.,
17:49 PM

Area Educators Honored for Leadership, Innovation

NJPA honors Region 5 educators for their commitment to excellence

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Forty-nine educators from Region 5 schools were honored by National Joint Powers Alliance® (NJPA) on Wednesday night at its fifth-annual Educators of Excellence Awards Banquet at Grand View Lodge near Brainerd.

Nominated by their respective schools for their commitment to excellence, these educators demonstrate best practices, leadership, and innovation in education, which leads to increased student success.

“It is an honor to celebrate the hard work and dedication of educators throughout our area schools,” says NJPA Leader of Education Solutions Kassidy Rice. “Tonight’s event featured individuals who were nominated by their colleagues for recognition, which speaks volumes. We are thankful for their commitment to their students, schools, and communities.”

NJPA honored Teachers of Excellence, plus celebrated four additional awards: Leader of Excellence, Paraprofessional of Excellence, Coach of Excellence, and Team of Excellence. Honorees are from school districts within Region 5, an area served by NJPA, including Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

Leader of Educational Excellence
Josh Smith, Pillager Elementary School Principal

Paraprofessional of Educational Excellence
Barb Waldock, Mid-State Education District

Coach of Educational Excellence
Bruce Fuhrman, Staples-Motley School District (head coach – cross country & girls track, assistant coach – boys basketball)

Team of Educational Excellence
Crosby-Ironton Grades 7-12 English Language Arts teachers – Katherine Thoennes, Jackie Larson, Andrea Gaffney, and Brian Gaffney




 Angie Hurtig

 Bertha-Hewitt School

 Keith Peterson

 Brainerd High School

 Clayton Lang

 Cuyuna Range Elementary School

 Patricia Durham

 Crosslake Community School

 Matthew Parker

 Freshwater Education District

 Elaine Sperl

 Little Falls Community Schools, Early Childhood Programs

 Angie Bellig

 Little Falls Lindbergh Elementary School

 Laurie Schoeck

 Little Falls Community Middle School

 Randy Tabatt

 Little Falls Community High School

 Wendy DeCann

 Little Falls Lincoln Elementary

 Brianna Sanoski

 Little Falls Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary

 Ryan Bothun

 Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Secondary School

 Brad Schultz

 Menahga Middle School

 Jennifer Berg

 Menahga High School

 Kerry White

 Menahga Elementary

 Nancy Przybilla

 Mid-State Education District

 DesiRae Cary

 Mid-State STEPS Program

 Renae Barnaby

 Pequot Lakes Eagle View Elementary

 Angie Klein

 Pequot Lakes High School

 Jana Lueck

 Pequot Lakes Middle School

 MaryJo Schaefer

 Pierz Pioneer Elementary

 Patsy Athman

 Pierz Healy High School

 Roxanne Norlin

 Pillager Elementary School

 Mike Parrish

 Pillager Middle School

 Ann Hutchison

 Pillager High School

 Nancy Meier

 Pine River-Backus Elementary School

 Melanie Lindquist

 Pine River - Backus High School

 Chad Shelstad

 Royalton Elementary School

 Lindsey Gruber

 Royalton High School/Middle School

 Janet Mattson

 Sebeka School District

 Catherine Cyr

 Staples-Motley High School

 Allison Vangsness

 Motley-Staples Middle School

 Jolene Elfstrum

 Staples-Motley Elementary

 Tracy Hannah

 Swanville Elementary

 Liza Hasse

 Swanville High School

 Mary Jo Peterson

 Upsala Elementary

 Haylee Vershure

 Upsala High School

 Lisa Paulson

 Verndale Elementary

 Michael Ortmann

 Wadena-Deer Creek – Grades 5-12

 Mary Ellenson

 Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary

 Paul Raddatz

 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Middle School/High School

 Shannon Rivard

 Walker Hackensack Akeley Elementary

About NJPA

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota’s nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.