Staples, Minn.,
17:49 PM

Area Educators Honored for Leadership, Innovation

NJPA honors Region 5 educators for their commitment to excellence

Learn more

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.