Grand Forks Community High School educator chosen as finalist for state Teacher of the Year award

Shari Jerde, business education and FACS teacher, to be honored at a celebration this fall at her school

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Business education and family and consumer sciences teacher Shari Jerde stands in her classroom at Community High School on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Jerde was named the Grand Forks Public Schools’ 2020-21 Teacher of the Year on April 19, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Shari Jerde, a teacher at Grand Forks Community High School, has been selected as one of four finalists for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year award for 2022, State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler has announced.

The finalists were chosen from a group of 40 county Teachers of the Year. Baesler plans to honor the state finalists at celebrations to be held this fall at their respective schools.

Jerde, who was named as Grand Forks County Teacher of the Year this past spring , teaches business education and family and consumer sciences at Community High School.


The other finalists for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year award are Bret Dockter, a sixth-grade teacher at Harvey Elementary School; Heather Ell, a first-grade teacher at John Hoeven Elementary School in Minot; and Matt Nielson, an 11th-grade science teacher at Valley City High School.

“We have many outstanding educators in our state, and this group of four Teacher of the Year finalists represents examples of our finest,” Baesler said in a news release. “They deserve our respect, admiration and appreciation for the exceptional jobs that they do.”

The four finalists will be interviewed by an eight-member screening committee, which will choose the 2022 Teacher of the Year. Baesler and Gov. Doug Burgum are planning to announce the winner by Sept. 30, Baesler said.

North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year will become a candidate for the national Teacher of the Year award, which is selected by the Council of Chief State School Officers, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that represents state education interests. Baesler is a member of the board of the CCSSO board of directors.

“This past school year gave us another brilliant example of the important role our teachers play in the lives of our North Dakota students,” Baesler said. “So many of our teachers went above and beyond to make sure their students were safe, and able to continue learning despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jerde earned a bachelor’s degree in business education from Minot State University and two master’s degrees from UND, one in career and technical education and the other in special education. She joined the Grand Forks school system in 1999 as an adult education instructor.

Jerde taught at Community High School from 1999 to 2008 and rejoined the school in 2018. She also has taught at Red River and Grand Forks Central high schools, Central Valley and Bottineau public schools, and UND.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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