Midkota adds three to teaching staff

Posted September 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

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By Sherry Lind | Editor

Midkota has three new members on its teaching staff. Two are at the elementary school in Binford and one at the high school in Glenfield.

Jeff Ringstad is the new social studies/geography/history teacher for the secondary school. He graduated from Mayville State University in May 2014 with a B.S. in Education with a social studies composite. He says that he is “very lucky” to have gotten a teaching position near where he lives so soon after graduation. “I’ve wanted to teach all my life.” But, like for many of us, life got in the way. “After having several other careers this is where I’ve always felt I belong.” After teaching a few weeks, he’s settling in. He said he has some amazing students and they and the staff have been very welcoming. Having graduated from Hannaford High School, Ringstad likes the small school atmosphere where everyone knows everybody and it’s like one big family. He really loves the subjects he teaches. “I try to tie all history and social studies to our lives. What we can learn from it to better society as well as how it creates patriotism for our country. It’s the story of us.”

Ringstad’s wife, Lisa, teaches kindergarten at Griggs County Central and their children (Billy 20, Hunter 18, Alex 16, and Jonah 11) are all students there (Billy graduated). He also did his student teaching at GCC. This makes it hard to know who to cheer for at sports events. Ringstad is also the coach for the grades 4-6 Titan football team.

Carlin Swart is teaching 2nd grade in Binford. She earned two B.S. degrees in 1996: one in Elementary Education and the other in Early Childhood Development. She also has a kindergarten endorsement. Even though she’s been substitute teaching in Fargo for years, this is her first full-time teaching position. She loves being able to plan her curriculum and knowing what she’s going to be doing each day. She is building relationships with the kids, their families, and the staff.

“I’m very excited to be in Binford. It’s a wonderful community. The community’s been very supportive. I enjoy working with the children and parents.” Having grown up in Carrington, she is glad to be back to a small town and to be much closer to her parents who still live in Carrington. Her husband, Andre, works at Tough-T Manufacturing in Glenfield and her four children (Chance 10th grade, Chase 8th grade, Gage 6th grade, and Alexis 5th grade) are new students at Midkota.

While Swart enjoys her day with young students, she also likes coaching volleyball for the high school girls. When Swart was in high school she made 1992 volleyball All Region and was Athlete of the Year. Her basketball team was 2nd in the state in 1990 and 1991 and she was 5th in state for discus. She’s looking forward to this school year. “I love those light bulb moments.” She’s sure to witness many of those.

After running a daycare for 23 years in Binford, Teri LaPlant has joined the Midkota staff as a paraprofessional. She was down to just a couple daycare kids part-time and thought it was a good time to make a change. And it has been a good change. Her day is full of variety where she works with kids of all grades in the elementary, both one-on-one and in groups. In the morning she works with the younger children, teaches PE to the kindergarten class, monitors recess and then spends the afternoon with the 5th and 6th graders helping with math, science, and social studies. “I love it. I get a nice mix of working with the kids. The staff has been great here,” said LaPlant.

LaPlant has one year of college focused on child development and she is continuing her education on-line for this position. Originally from Cooperstown, LaPlant has lived in Binford for about 20 years. Her husband, Tod, works for farmers Jon and Dave Brandt. Their son, Garrett, is in Tioga working in the oil fields, and their daughter, Kyah, just finished college to be a radiology technician. “I’ve always had respect for teachers and all they have to do. It’s good to see them in action and to be a part of that action.”

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