2023 NORTH DAKOTA PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR - Mr. Ryan Hanson
2023 DLPS TEACHER OF THE YEAR - Mrs. Megan Wasness
2023 DLPS SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR - Mrs. Christi Windjue
ABOUT THE NORTH DAKOTA PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR - RYAN HANSON
Mr. Hanson has created a forward thinking culture in his school. His "Yet" and "Backstory" philosophies help guide and shape the future of his students, while being mindful of the past events and recognizing the impact that can have on the future.
Mr. Hanson holds students and staff to equally high standards of honesty and integrity, applying grace and consequence impartially. He is available to all, and if he is unavailable at that time, he always makes a point of connecting back with the individual. There is a sign in his office (the door is nearly never closed) that says "We treat everyone fairly. We do not treat everyone the same." That pretty much sums Mr. Hanson up- he is deeply aware and respectful of the individuality of his school. Students know that he will always hear both sides of a story and works to help the students and staff to grow, to be the best 'human' they can be. Mr. Hanson regularly works with federal and local courts and Child / Family services, advocating for his 'people'. In addition, Mr. Hanson communicates regularly with home families, medical and counseling personnel, so that he can understand the "back story" of each individual to best assist them within the walls of DLHS. Through prioritizing relationships we have seen many students grow to become more confident in their ability to lead themselves and others into the future.
Education is a special profession – there is no other profession that allows a person to influence so many lives than being an educator. Over the course of an educator’s career, a person may easily impact thousands of lives. It is in this area that Mr. Hanson excels. He is the type of person who seems to know a person or two from every town in North Dakota. This ability carries overs well into his role as principal. Ask him about the class of 2009 – or any other class and he can tell you much about that group of students.
As an educator – one really values the time spent with other educators. And, yes – there are some educators you may wish to avoid – there are many you wish to spend time with and learn from. Mr. Hanson certainly falls into the latter category. Indeed, very few times did I come away from a conversation with Ryan that I did not leave with a new perspective, creative thought, or inspirational idea. And yes, while talking with Mr. Hanson – one usually has to endure a corny joke or two – and even perhaps one you had heard before – the time is always well spent. Mr. Hanson is truly a leader in education and very deserving of this award.
Congratulations Ryan – it is truly an honor to call you a “colleague in education”! (Jeff Stotts)
ABOUT THE 2023 TEACHER OF THE YEAR - MEGAN WASNESS
The Devils Lake Public School District is proud to announce the selection of Mrs. Megan Wasness, language arts teacher, grades 7-8 at Central Middle School, as the DLPS TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Megan Wasness received her Bachelor of Science degree in English education from North Dakota State University in 2013. In December 2022, she received her master’s degree in educational leadership, through NDSU’s Teacher Leadership Academy. She worked strenuously within this graduate program to better herself as an educator as well as Devils Lake Public Schools. Her teaching career began at Central Middle School teaching language arts for grades 7 and 8, where she continues to cultivate lifelong learners.
Megan Wasness is an exceptional and dedicated language arts teacher at Central Middle School. She is an integral part of all areas within our school and does it all: Veterans Day program coordinator, Charity Ball coordinator, building level technology coordinator, team leader, curriculum committee member, PLC chair, mentor, and most importantly, a builder of future leaders of our children. She also teaches, facilitates, and publishes our school newspaper, The CMS Press. Megan has excellent classroom management skills and utilizes effective, data driven strategies to engage her students. Her knowledge of the content is second to none and has a knack for relating the information to her students’ individual level. She is truly a forward-thinking leader that ensures all students feel welcome, safe and supported in her classroom. She is aware of the cultural differences in her classroom and meets the needs of her students by supporting their needs and holding them to high expectations. There is not a moment that Mrs. Wasness is not working towards something great for Central Middle School, our district, and our community. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does. Megan is a lifelong educator and shows up every day with a positive attitude and tremendous work ethic. Mrs. Wasness is and will continue to be an asset to the Devils Lake Public School District.
Megan is married to Dale, and they are the proud parents of three children: Luke, 9th grade at Devils Lake High School, Abbey, 6th grade at Central Middle School and Leyna, 2nd grade at Sweetwater Elementary.
With her selection as TEACHER OF THE YEAR for the Devils Lake Public School District, Mrs. Wasness is eligible for consideration for the 2024 NORTH DAKOTA TEACHER OF THE YEAR award which will be selected in September 2023 by a state selection committee in Bismarck.
The Devils Lake Public School TEACHER OF THE YEAR Program is sponsored by First United Bank & Trust Company, the Devils Lake High School Student Council, and the Devils Lake Public School District. For her selection as TEACHER OF THE YEAR, First United Bank & Trust has awarded Mrs. Wasness with a $1,500 stipend to be used for enrollment and participation in a professional workshop or convention, and $250 in Chamber Bucks from Devils Lake Public Schools.
ABOUT THE 2023 SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR - CHRISTI WINDJUE
The Devils Lake Public School District is proud to announce the selection of Mrs. Christi Windjue, special education paraprofessional at Central Middle School, as the DLPS SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR
Christi Windjue received her associate in arts degree and certificate in administration assistant from University of North Dakota – Lake Region in December 1991. She was an active member and leader on the Sweetwater PTO and the Central Middle School PTO. Mrs. Windjue is certified as a special education and Title I paraprofessional and has served on several school and district level team advisory committees.
Christi Windjue is an outstanding paraprofessional at Central Middle School. She consistently goes above and beyond for students, staff, and our school, yet wants others to receive the praise. Christi has lived our district mission to “nurture students by supporting their individual growth.” She truly gets to know her students’ backgrounds, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Mrs. Windjue is an expert at developing relationships with our students and holds her students accountable while giving them the extra support and attention they need. Mrs. Windjue often goes into her own pocket to provide our students with things they need or an extra gift at Christmas. Christi identifies areas of need in our school and works hard to resolve those needs. She works endlessly to make CMS a positive and welcoming place for students and staff by decorating our school with upbeat posters, hallway decorations and transforming the front entry. She is extremely supportive of the teachers she works with daily. Christi is also a certified substitute teacher and fills in when needed. She has excellent content knowledge for all subject areas and great classroom management. Mrs. Windjue comes to work every day with a positive attitude and strong work ethic, willing to do whatever she can for student success. Mrs. Windjue is highly respected by students and staff and our school would not be the same without her.
Christi is married to Dean, and they are the proud parents of five children: Joey, Emily, Jenna, Taylor, and Brandon. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and friends, time at the lake and attend UND hockey.
The Devils Lake Public School SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR Program is sponsored by First United Bank & Trust Company, the Devils Lake High School Student Council, and the Devils Lake Public School District. For her selection as SUPPORT STAFF OF THE YEAR, First United Bank & Trust has awarded Mrs. Windjue with $500 in Chamber Bucks and $250 in Chamber Bucks from Devils Lake Public Schools.