Red River teachers Dean Opp and Brad Sherwood honored by state speech, theater organization

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Dean Opp (left) and Brad Sherwood, Red River High School teachers and SPA Company leaders, have received the Administrator of the Year award from the Communication, Speech and Theatre Association of North Dakota. (Submitted photo)

Dean Opp and Brad Sherwood, teachers at Grand Forks Red River High School and leaders of the Summer Performing Arts (SPA) Company, have been recognized as Administrators of the Year by the Communication, Speech and Theatre Association of North Dakota.

The CSTAND is a professional organization for speech, debate and theater directors in high school, college, university and community theaters in North Dakota.

The Administrator of the Year award is given to a high school, college or university administrator who has demonstrated recent contributions and support for communication arts, forensics and theater activities.

Opp and Sherwood were nominated for their administrative leadership with SPA, according to Grand Forks Public Schools.

They are founding members of SPA, growing the program from 15 students in 1987 to more than 1,400 students in 2019.


In 33 years, SPA also has initiated and grown a mentoring program for at-risk students, a program for students with special needs, and an English Learner program.

In 2017, SPA was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s highest-quality, out-of-school arts programs.

Opp and Sherwood received their award at the annual CSTAND conference held recently in Mandan, N.D.

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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