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Grand Forks fifth-grade teacher nominated for N.D. Teacher of the Year

2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year finalist Leslye Thiery (right) and North Dakota State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler check in on Thiery's fifth-graders, from left: Lila Jackson, Chloe DeTienne and Kate Nelson on Friday at Discovery Elementary. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Teacher of the Year finalist Leslye Thiery (right) and State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Friday at Discovery Elementary. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

A Grand Forks fifth-grade teacher has been nominated for 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year.

Leslye Thiery, a teacher at Discovery Elementary, is one of four finalists for the award.

North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler honored Thiery on Friday morning at Discovery, and gave her a golden bell with her name on it. After Baesler spoke, she took questions from the students.

If Thiery wins North Dakota Teacher of the Year, she then will compete for National Teacher of the Year.

Other finalists are Kayla Delzer, a third-grade teacher at Mapleton Elementary School, and Annette Hovey, a Grand Forks native and current music teacher at New Rockford Sheyenne High School. Three of the four nominees have been named, and the fourth will be announced Wednesday.

Baesler and Gov. Doug Burgum will announce the winner before the end of the month, according to spokesman Dale Wetzel.

This is Thiery's fourth year of teaching the fifth grade, but she has taught for 26 years. She has taught preschool through fifth grade.

"I'm hopeful that education can change and be better for kids," Thiery said. "It is so important to help them find a passion for learning, so that when things get hard, they can pull from that for strength to go on."

Whether it is getting students to present their ideas in front of the class or Skyping with another classroom across the world, Thiery believes in giving her students experiences that will help them in the professional world.

And win or lose, Thiery said she is honored to be nominated.

"This award isn't about me, but about the ideas our staff have prioritized based on what the kids tell us they need," she said.