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Helmut Schmidt, Published September 26 2012

West Fargo's Andrea Noonan named North Dakota Teacher of the Year

WEST FARGO - Andrea Noonan, an eighth-grade language arts teacher from Cheney Middle School, is North Dakota’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Noonan was honored Wednesday at the middle school in a ceremony presided over by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

“This is just a huge honor. … It’s very overwhelming. It’s a humbling experience,” Noonan said.

Noonan’s voice cracked with emotion as she addressed the dignitaries, state education leaders, fellow teachers and Cheney eighth-graders, and she battled to hold back tears.

“I am very proud to say I am from West Fargo, North Dakota,” Noonan said. “Thank you very much for this honor.”

Noonan is now the state’s representative in the national Teacher of the Year competition, Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead said.

“I know full well we have one of the strongest candidates North Dakota has ever put forward,” Sanstead said.

“Andrea exemplifies North Dakota’s outstanding teachers who are dedicated to education excellence and to helping our young people achieve their full potential,” Dalrymple said.

The other three finalists for the award were:

• Scott Johnson, a chemistry and anatomy teacher at Bismarck Century High School.

• Phyllis Kadrmas, an English teacher at Devils Lake High School.

• Linda Hope, a science teacher at Langdon High School.

The 31-year-old Noonan has taught eight years, all of them in West Fargo schools, she said.

She is a leader in and out of the classroom, West Fargo Superintendent David Flowers said

“She’s a kind of amazingly accomplished educator at a young age,” he said.

Cheney Principal Don Lennon is proud to have Noonan on his staff.

“Andrea is one of those teachers that get her students engaged,” and is a leader among her peers, Lennon said.

Noonan is a member of the National Council for Teachers of English and was chosen to present the West Fargo School District’s Common Core State Standards curriculum work at its national convention this November.

She’s also seeking national board certification, an advanced teaching credential, Flowers said.

West Fargo Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis called Noonan “a dynamo.”

“She’s innovative. She is a continuous learner. She’s a thirsty learner. And she’s always pursuing what she can do to make education better for her kids,” Dardis said. “Andi’s top-notch.’ ”

Dakota Draper, president of the North Dakota Education Association, said Noonan’s youth signals a changing of the guard in teaching ranks.

“”It shows the profession is bringing in a new generation,” Draper said. “It’s really exciting.”

Noonan’s grandfather, Jim Noonan, was a superintendent for Moorhead and East Grand Forks, Minn., schools.

He died in February, just a couple of months before his granddaughter was named West Fargo’s Teacher of the Year.

“He’s smiling right now, I know it,” Noonan said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583