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Morris Sun Tribune, Forum Communications Co., Published July 07 2011

Barnesville native, former NDSU athlete, named Morris athletic director

MORRIS - Mark Ekren is expected to be the Morris Area School District’s new Activities Director.

Ekren, a Morris Area High School mathematics teacher, has verbally accepted an offer to take over the position for the 2011-2012 school year.

The Morris Area School Board will consider Ekren’s appointment at its July 18 meeting. Ekren will continue to teach part time.

Ekren, a Breckenridge native, has taught and coached in the Morris Area district since 1989.

He succeeds Mary Beth Holmberg, who steps down after 17 years as Morris Area’s A.D.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Ekren said. “I’ve been involved in sports all my life.”

Sports and activities such as drama and speech are important to the education of youth, he said.

“It’s great to have kids involved in all these activities,” he said. “Research has shown that kids are more likely to graduate if they’re involved in any activities in school.”

Ekren was a three-sport high school athlete at Breckenridge, where his father, Ron, was an A.D.

Ekren also played college football at North Dakota State University for two years and another two years at Valley City State.

Ekren taught and coached football and track at Herman-Norcross High School for three years before joining the Morris Area staff in 1989. He’s coached football and track at the University of Minnesota, Morris and MAHS for 25 years.

Ekren also is a high school and college basketball official.

“Replacing Mary Beth Holmberg will be a challenging task,” said Morris Area Superintendent Scott Monson, “but I am confident that Mark will hit the ground running and establish himself quickly in this position. We are looking to bring all school activities – not just athletics – under one person’s oversight, which will bring consistency to all school activities.”

Ekren has two sisters living in the Fargo area, including Chicki Johnston, who is a member of the NDSU athletic department. He has two brothers and his late mother, Mary, taught in the Campbell-Tintah school district.

Ekren and his wife, Mick, live in Morris and have five children.