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Harvey’s Bret Dockter named Teacher of the Year

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 11:44 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota has a new teacher of the year.

Monday morning, the Department of Public Instruction chose Harvey’s very own Bret Dockter.

Dockter has been teaching and coaching football for more than 20 years.

He said he was humbled and honored, and his students joined him to celebrate at the Capitol.

Teachers can change the world. Bur for the past year, the world changed teachers.

Four finalists from across the state convened at the Capitol.

Joined by supporters and the governor, education leaders celebrated all they’ve accomplished in recent years.

“It’s incredible at an event like this to have a chance to honor these special educators any year. But what these educators have gone through over the past 18 months, to overcome a set of unprecedented challenges, makes their work even more remarkable,” said Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D.

To be the representative of this innovation and champion of the COVID classroom, Mr. Dockter of Harvey was selected.

He said teachers can never be too old to progress yourself.

“Each kid is different, and each kid is unique. And I know it’s an old cliche, but it’s so true. And the other cool thing is it’s our job as teachers to find their strengths and help them realize their strengths. And every kid that walks in the room, I don’t care, they have a strength. Everybody does,” said Dockter.

While it’s Dockter’s name on the trophy, he says his award is a reflection of his community; including his students and players who surprised him with their support with an excused absence.

“Coming from a small town, just to have someone like that and to go through his class is something pretty cool. He’s the best in the state, and we were a part of that,” said Isaac Friese, a former student and current player under Dockter.

It’s not the state football championship they’re bringing home to Harvey yet. But, it is a trophy the entire school worked to earn.

While reflecting on his approach to the classroom, Dockter said the continuing teacher shortage is concerning.

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said she hopes this award while motivate and inspire more students to stay in the classrooms as a profession in the years to come.

Other finalists included Heather Ell, of Minot; Shari Jerde, of Grand Forks; and Matthew Neilson, of Valley City.

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