At the Cutting Ed of Innovation

North Dakota United excited to announce the launch of our education-focused podcast

By Tom Gerhardt, NDU Communications

North Dakota United has entered exciting, new territory in digital audio recently, with the launch of our new podcast, called “The Cutting Ed: What North Dakota Schools Can Be.”

North Dakota United Director of Public Affairs Tom Gerhardt, right, speaks with Gov. Doug Burgum for the first episode of The Cutting Ed podcast.

Two months ago, the idea wasn’t even on our radar. But thanks to the vision and passion of innovative education specialist Ted Dintersmith and a partnership with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, several episodes are already available for you to listen to on our website at

What is The Cutting Ed? It’s a weekly podcast designed for teachers, decision-makers, students and parents to help spark conversations about innovative education in North Dakota including K-12 and higher ed. New episodes will be posted every Tuesday.

Dintersmith first came to North Dakota two years ago to promote his award-winning documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed.” He’s traveled to all 50 states, but says he was blown away by North Dakota’s commitment to education. This fall, he brought up the idea of collaborating on a podcast to help spread the word on all of the extraordinary things happening in our state.

“I’ve now been to North Dakota eight times in a little over two years,” he said. “Each time, I am inspired by the strength of your teaching force, the vision of your leaders, and your ability to work collaboratively to achieve big things. I’m sensing a real opportunity here to make North Dakota’s education system the very best in the world, for the sake of your children but also to show the way forward for others across our country.”

The Cutting Ed debuted Nov. 21, 2017, with Gov. Doug Burgum as the first guest.

Tom Gerhardt speaks with N.D. Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Kirsten Baesler for an episode of The Cutting Ed podcast.

Future conversations will focus on celebrating great teaching practices, interesting innovations and diving into an innovation playlist ( that Dintersmith has pulled together with impressive national partners to support our teaching force.

Listeners will hear one-to-one conversations with our skilled educators, K-12 teachers, professors, school support staff, administrators, business people, elected officials, parents and students.

“This is a terrific example of what collaboration around and dedication to innovative teaching can be,” said Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United. “Special thanks to filmmaker and visionary Ted Dintersmith for providing the inspiration and resources to make this podcast possible. Thanks, too, to Superintendent Kirsten Baesler for her leadership at the Department of Public Instruction and promotion of innovative teaching. In addition, thanks to Tom Gerhardt and Kelly Hagen in the NDU communications shop for their exceptional efforts in taking this podcast off the drawing board and making it a reality. All of us at NDU hope you enjoy The Cutting Ed.”

The Cutting Ed podcast’s host each week is Tom Gerhardt, NDU director of public affairs.

I will serve as moderator and host of the podcast, every week. After over two decades in front of a camera in TV news, podcasts are a great medium to produce authentic conversations. We know your time is valuable, so we plan to keep the podcasts to under 20 minutes. Listen on your way to work and on the way home.

“America faces a daunting challenge of transforming its education system to prepare our children for a dynamic, innovative world. It’s a time when we need real leadership in taking on this mission, and I’m convinced that North Dakotans are ready to work collectively to lead the way,” Dintersmith said.

Please join the conversation online and — as Dintersmith compels us — to work collectively to build a brighter future for North Dakota. Visit us online at You can contact us any time with your story ideas at We want to tell your stories, about who you are and the valuable work you do on behalf of students every day. If you’re doing innovative things on the cutting edge in your classroom, in pre-K, K-12 schools or higher education, let us know! Our podcast can come to you, and we will record our conversation in your community, at your school or worksite.

You can find The Cutting Ed on social media, too. Visit us on Facebook at, and on Twitter at

The Cutting Ed is available for streaming and download on iTunes, at,, Google Play or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Just search for “The Cutting Ed,” and we hope you enjoy the conversation.