Teachers have always worked extremely hard. But these days, more than ever, quality school teachers are a blessing. This appreciation for teachers was exemplified at the on base Dakota Elementary School. During the yearly “Teacher Appreciation Week,” which was held the week of May 2-6, Dakota treated its teachers to breakfast from Bearscat Bakehouse, a free lunch donated by the parents of the school and gift cards/snacks donated from various places around town. The week was a highlight of teachers’ years and a way for parents to show how much they appreciate having hard working teachers. Besides the celebration for all teachers, Dakota had a surprise planned for one of their special staff members. Mrs. Shelby Brown, who has whole-heartedly served in the Minot Public School system for over two decades and as the Dakota Secretary for 12 years, is retiring. Dakota parent and PTA member, Nicoletta Pollice, described Mrs. Brown as the kind person who knew almost all of the kids’ names at school. Pollice said, “[Mrs. Brown] always made the parents feel welcome.” Pollice continued to say that Mrs. Brown has been a “positive influence” on the school and the community. In honor of Mrs. Brown’s two decades of service, the staff surprised her on the morning of May 5 with a cake and a “retirement party.” Dakota Elementary Principal Kathryn Lenertz said, “Shelby was completely taken over with emotion as the staff and parents presented her with a retirement cake this past Thursday. In addition, the students and parents wrote very kind notes of thanks to her, in which she took home to read with a box of Kleenex!”
Mrs. Brown is remembered fondly at Dakota Elementary, which is evident through the words spoken about her. When asked about some of her fondest memories at Dakota, Mrs. Brown said, “The most memorable situation that I had was when I was a Paraprofessional and was leaving to be the secretary. The 6th grade student I had been working with for 2+ years wrote a message on the whiteboard, ‘Mrs. Brown thank you for everything’. I was surprised and touched that a 6th grade boy would write a message on the board for all to see. It will be with me forever.” She also recounted a time when there was a severe blizzard and most of the staff had to end up sleeping at the school. “The families brought blow-up beds, bedding, snacks and drinks for the stranded staff”, said Mrs. Brown. She is sad to leave the students and the staff at Dakota who have become so close to her, but Mrs. Brown is excited to have the chance to travel to the Caribbean, go visit family and not have to drive on Highway 83 during the dark winter months.
As gratitude for her Dakota Elementary family, Mrs. Brown would like to say, “A special thank you to Glenna Meiers, Heather Opland, and Jennifer Burdick for believing in me to learn the skills to work with special needs students. I would have to say a huge thank you to Kathryn Lenertz for believing in me and hiring me to be her secretary! The staff at Dakota is the best! I would also like to thank the families of my Dakota students. Every day is an honor and privilege to work with these amazing students. I will miss the hellos and hugs I receive every day. Dakota is a special place I will be leaving a huge part of my heart when I leave.”
The 2022 Minot Public School Retirement and Recognition Banquet was held on Sunday, May 15 at the Sleep Inn Convention Center. The ceremony recognized over 50 Minot Public School recipients for their years of service as well as nearly 40 staff members for their retirement this year. Among the retirees honored was Dakota’s Mrs. Shelby Brown.