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Dr. Brenda Mihalicz-Werner
Dr. Brenda Mihalicz-Werner '85

The BSC Alumni Association is pleased to honor Dr. Brenda Werner, '85, for her dedication to education and the students she serves.

Her association with BSC began as a student athlete. A native of Regina, Sask., Werner was recruited to play volleyball. After graduating from Minot State University in English and earning a master's degree in exercise science and master teaching, Werner returned to BSC for her first teaching job and to coach women's volleyball and basketball (1989-92). She was also assistant athletic director under Ed Kringstad.

Werner left BSC to pursue her doctorate in education at the University of North Dakota. After leaving UND in 1995 and a teaching and coaching job in Halstad, Minn., she joined Moorhead (Minn.) High School as English department chair and taught part time at Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead. In 2001, Werner began teaching advance placement composition and literature at Bismarck High School, a position she held 11 years. She also did part-time teaching at Dickinson State University on the BSC campus and online classes for the University of Mary.

In 2012, Dr. Werner accepted a position at the University of Mary as associate professor of education and chair of the Education Department. She teaches undergraduate and graduate education courses and serves on several standards, excellence, policy and thesis committees.

The latest among her many achievements and initiatives are a 2014 Global Education Fellowship to China and 2014 National Education Association Foundation award for teaching excellence. A Milken Family Foundation and Bush Foundation grant recipient, Werner was named North Dakota Teacher of the Year in 2012 by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Her athletic honors include Region XIII Women's Basketball Coach of the Year ('92), two-time Academic All-American at MSUM, and 2003 MSUM Hall of Fame inductee. She received the BSC Staff Excellence Award twice.

Her family includes husband John, son Dexter, 20, a business major playing basketball at North Dakota State University, and son Dylan, 18, a Bismarck High School senior involved in track.

Kirsten Baesler
Kirsten Baesler '99

Kirsten Baesler took over as North Dakota's superintendent of public instruction in 2012 after winning the election. She arrived with lifelong passion for equal opportunity education, law, government, policy-making, and 22 years of teaching and management experience in all areas of education.

Baesler and her 100-member staff at the state capitol handle school funding formulas and countless other functions and programs involved in oversight of North Dakota's 180 public schools and its 110,000 students. She interacts with 15 professional boards and state agency committees, chairing two.

Her 22-year career at Bismarck Public Schools placed her in such roles as vice principal, library media specialist, classroom teacher, and instructional assistant to students with disabilities.

As an educational professional, she was elected to the Mandan School Board in 2004, became president in 2006, and leveraged a statewide campaign for North Dakota's top education administrator. Two years after becoming Mandan School Board president, her peers elected her to the North Dakota School Boards Association executive board. She served six months as assistant executive director before becoming state superintendent.

A native of Flasher, N.D., Baesler adopted family values of volunteerism, community service, and a farm-grown work ethic in seeking her own education. She was further motivated to find the best opportunities for her three sons, Lee, Mitchel and Chancellor. After earning two associate degrees at BSC, Baesler completed a K-8 teaching degree at Minot State University. She then earned a master's degree in education and library information technology at Valley City State University.

Baesler found time for civic leadership in Mandan's library and city initiatives, including chair of the Market Street Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Her persistent efforts received recognition in 2010 with the North Dakota Library Association President's Award for Meritorious Service, and North Dakota School Boards Association Veteran and Master Board Member with Distinction Award.

2014 award recipients were honored on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in the Bavendick Stateroom, National Energy Center of Excellence on the BSC campus.    

For more information about the BSC Alumni of the Year Awards, call (701) 224-5692 or (800) 272-2586 or email to  Rita.Nodland@bismarckstate.edu.

Sponsored by the Board of Directors of the Bismarck State College National Alumni Association, Bismarck State College and The BSC Foundation.

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