North High School English teacher David Midgarden is the 2013 Fargo Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz made the surprise announcement in an assembly this morning in the gymnasium to all students, staff and invited guests.
David follows Kelly Welle as the District’s recipient of this honor. He will be a nominee for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year award next fall.
An alumnus of Moorhead High School and Moorhead State University, David began his teaching career in the Fargo Public Schools in the fall of 1973. He began as an English and journalism teacher at Ben Franklin Junior High, and in 2006 transferred to North to teach English.
David’s selection for Teacher of the Year was based on testimony from North High that speaks of a teacher who loves his profession, and makes students feel good about themselves regardless of who they are.
In order to engage his students, David spends countless hours preparing, researching, and developing lessons. After 40 years in education, he continues to do what he can to improve and prepare to make his lesson more alive and relevant to students. He listens to his stakeholders, learns about their interests, finds areas of strengths and weaknesses, and tailors – differentiates – lessons to fit their needs.
Known for his guidance after the lesson, David works daily after school allowing students opportunities for a retake, extra help, and second chances. His goal is to let them learn, let them show mastery. He does not believe in punishing students with an “F” or a “0,” but believes in grades as they are intended, from the Latin root “gradus” meaning step, stage or degree. (It is a derivative of the Latin verb “gradī” which means to go, step, or walk.) David allows students to take steps to improve themselves, to walk towards understanding and proficiency.
Recently a young lady who is taking German wanted to know something about what part of speech “no” was in the sentence, “No bananas.” She had asked others, but had not received a clear answer. She knew David was the one to approach. She did so; he pondered his answer, and promised to get back to her. She knew he was a man of his word…she knew he would return with an answer. The next day, David arrived in the Commons with several pages of information he had researched on her behalf. Rather than handing over the answer she desired, he provided her with an opportunity to discover it on her own to satisfy her own curiosity – to control her own learning. She was thrilled with the information he produced, and went immediately to read through the literature he provided her. Stories such as this involving David are regular throughout the school year.