Learn more about the candidates for our NDU Board of Directors and National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) delegates for North Dakota United. The delegates from across the state of North Dakota in attendance at our Delegate Assembly, on April 14, 2018, at the National Energy Center of Excellence, on the campus of Bismarck State College, will be voting on candidates for the Board and NEA RA. In order to have their names placed on the ballot, each of these candidates needed to collect 50 signatures from active members in good standing and file for consideration by Feb. 15, 2018.
So that all of our members can make an informed decision on who will serve in these important leadership roles, we are providing you with biographical information about each one. Best wishes to them all, and thank you for stepping up and taking up the responsibility of being a leader in North Dakota United!
K-12 Teachers Director – Less than 600 students
Brenda Seehafer, the current K-12 Teachers Director for school districts with less than 600 students, is seeking re-election to the North Dakota United Board of Directors. She is a Title I Teacher from Rolla. She previously taught at Wolford and also worked at the UND Lake Region College library. She is also the ND Resolutions chair for NDU and represents ND on NEA Resolutions. She is a lead trainer for the Educator Ethics course that NDU offers. She also serves on the NDU Professional Development Committee and the UPAC Committee. She is the Rolla Education Association president and a local bargainer.
Seehafer was raised on a farm by Drake and attended grades K-12 at the Drake School. She got a degree in Elementary Education from Minot State University. She is president of the North Dakota Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG) organization; she is the first member from her local Lambda chapter to hold this position. She will hold this position through June of 2019. Seehafer was the North Dakota Reading Association (NDRA) President in 2015-2016. Her local reading council is the Chautauqua Reading Council, where she has held various officer roles as well. She is currently the president for Chautauqua. Seehafer also served on an ESPB committee called the Program Approval Advisory Committee through August of 2017; she served on this committee for several years.
K-12 Teachers Director – More than 600 students
Kjiesta Moch is seeking election to the NDU Board of Directors as K-12 Teachers Director of school districts greater than 600 students. Moch is a Fifth Grade Teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in West Fargo. She has served as president of the West Fargo Education Association since 2016, and was also elementary representative on the WFEA Executive Board from 2015-16. She has worked at Eastwood since 2014, and taught at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Grand Forks from 2013-14.
Moch was born in Minot, N.D., and was raised in a military family, which allowed her to live overseas for five years (Italy and Germany). She graduated from Minot High School and attended the University of North Dakota, to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and her master’s degree in Reading Education. She was a part of the UND Student Government for three of the five years she attended. Moch received the UND Education Student of the Year award in 2012. She is married to her husband, Jason, who is employed as an underwriter at Auto Owners Insurance. They have two children, Charlotte (19 months) and Jamison (four months).
Public Employees Director
Jeff Feist is seeking election to the NDU Board of Directors as Public Employees Director. Feist works as Auditor III for the Audit Section of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. He has been a member of the union for over 20 years.
Feist has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Mary in Bismarck. He started his career with the State of North Dakota as a Sales Tax Auditor with the N.D. Tax Department in 1991. After 14 years of service there, he moved to the NDDOT, where he is currently employed. Feist said he would appreciate the opportunity to serve on the board.
Higher Education Staff Director
Jamie Eriksson, the current Higher Education Staff Director for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Eriksson works as Facilities/Physical Plant Administrative Assistant at Mayville State University.
She has served as an NDU Board member since merger in 2013, and previously served on the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA) Board and COPE committee. She has served as her chapter president, vice president and secretary, and is a member of the ESP Advisory Council and PSRP PPC.
Eriksson is married to Lars Eriksson, and has two children. She has worked at Mayville State for 29 years, and has been a union member for that entire time. She was named the NDPEA State Employee of the Year in 2001, and the NDPEA Activist of the Year in 2004.
Higher Education Faculty Director – Two-year institutions
Leah Hamann, the current Higher Education Faculty Director of two-year institutions for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Hamann is Teacher Education Faculty and Director of Extended Learning at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.
She has served on the NDU Board of Directors since 2015, and has been the UTTC Student- NDU chapter advisor since 2006. She is currently a member of the NDU Budget Committee, as well as the North Dakota State Commission on Nation and Community Service. She also serves on the N.D. Colorectal Cancer Roundtable for the American Cancer Society, and is UTTC team captain for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life/ UTTC Mini Relay.
Hamann was born in Manila, Phillipines, and moved to Langdon, N.D., at the age of three when her mother married her stepfather, a Peace Corps volunteer. She kept her education close to home, attending Mayville State University and receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education/minor in Early Childhood & Psychology. Her first teaching position was in Fort Yates, N.D., as a kindergarten teacher, and then a 1st grade teacher. She was offered the opportunity to become faculty at UTTC in 1998, and is coming up on her 20th year of working with pre-service educators. Hamann went on to Minot State University for her master’s degree in Elementary Education, and is a Doctoral Candidate at Capella University, in Curriculum and Instruction. In 2017, she was awarded Faculty Member of the Year by the American Indian College Fund. She resides in Mandan with her partner and their small herd of pets.
Higher Education Faculty Director – Four-year institutions
Paul Markel, the current Higher Education Faculty Director for four-year-institutions for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Markel is a tenured professor of psychology with Minot State University.
He has served on the NDU Board of Directors since 2015, and has served as president of the North Dakota University System (NDUS) Council of College Faculties, representing the concern of all faculty within the University System. He has held administrative positions of department chair, interim dean and other directorships. He was also recently selected by Governor Burgum to serve on the Task Force for Higher Education Governance.
Markel is a Bismarck native and graduate of Century High School. He completed his graduate studies in Boulder, Colo., and worked in biotechnology in Cambridge, Mass., prior to returning to North Dakota. He is in his 22nd year working in the NDUS, and has been a consistent member of the union since his first day of employment with the state.
Alicia Bata, the current Ethnic Director for NDU, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. She currently teaches on interactive television from Cavalier and Park River to four other high schools in northeastern N.D.
She was elected and served as the National Education Association (NEA) Director for N.D. for two terms. She was appointed by NEA’s president to serve on the Human and Civil Rights Committee in Washington, D.C., also for two terms. She was selected to participate in the Magna Carta Human Rights Project by NEA, in conjunction with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in England. She was voted by her peers on the NEA Board to be a delegate representing the U.S. at the World Congress of Education in South Africa. Bata is a National Trainer on the ELL Cadre and on the NEA Cultural Competence team. She is also an N.D. presenter of the “I Can Do It” classroom management workshop.
Bata was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree, teaching certificate, ESL/Bilingual endorsement, and Master of Science degree in Education with a cognate in Bilingual Education from the University of North Dakota. She is married to an N.D. farmer, Bill, and has four children and one grandchild.
Education Support Professionals Director
Tyann Schlenker, the current ESP Director for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Schlenker works as an Attendance Secretary at Fargo South High School.
She serves on the UPAC Committee, the ESP Advisory Committee and Professional Development Committee for NDU, as well as the Fargo Education Association ESP Board of Directors and as building rep for Fargo South. In the community, she is a volunteer at the Fargo VA, and chaired the Professional Development Conference for Fargo Public Schools.
Schlenker was born in Kensal, N.D. She is single, and belongs to the AMVET, VFW and American Legion Auxiliary. She volunteers for many volunteer events. She says the highlights of her life were being named the NDU ESP of the Year, National AMVET Ladies Auxiliary Member of the Year and Recruiter of the Year for the Department of North Dakota AMVET Auxiliary. The most exciting event of her life was attending the WDAY Honor Flight with her dad, who is a veteran of the Korean War. She is the caregiver of her father, James, who is 89 years old. Also, she owns two very faithful dogs, Brandin and Zeke, who bring joy to her life every day.
Heidi Schostek is seeking election to the NDU Board of Directors as ESP Director. Schostek works as an In-School Suspension Paraeducator at Dickinson High School. She serves on the NDU ESP Advisory Committee, and has been a delegate for the Dickinson Education Association to the NDU Delegate Assembly since merger in 2013. She was named NDU ESP of the Year in 2016. She serves on the NDU Foundation Board, the NDU PD Committee, and was an NEA RA state delegate in 2017.
Schostek has her Associate of Arts degree in Nursing from Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., and is a Certified Medical Assistant from the Concorde Career Institute in Portland, Ore. She was born in Portland, and moved to Dickinson in 2012 for her husband’s job. She decided to apply for a position at the high school there to be closer to her son, a sophomore at the time, who was struggling in school. While she sometimes misses nursing, she has found that working with students is extremely rewarding, and she feels this is where she is supposed to be. She has been blessed with three children: two boys who have graduated from school and a daughter that is a freshman at Dickinson High School this year.
Northeast Region Director
Tom Young, the current Northeast Region Director for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Young is a Vocal Music Teacher at Red River High School in Grand Forks.
He has served on the Board of Directors since 2016, after filling a vacated seat. He is the current president of the Grand Forks Education Association, and has also been a negotiator for GFEA in 2008-17. He has also served North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) Ambassador, and is a member of the NDU Election Committee and Policy Committee. He also had the honor and privilege to serve on the Elections Committee at the NEA RA in 2017. He has worked as a teacher in Grand Forks since 1990, and was previously a music teacher in LaMoure, from 1986-88, and in Dodge/Golden Valley, from 1985-86.
Young has his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from North Dakota State University, and Master of Arts degree in Vocal Pedagogy from University of North Dakota. He lives in his hometown of Grand Forks with his wife and best friend, Lori, who recently retired from teaching after 35 years. His daughter, Morgan, is attending UND as a junior, majoring in English. His stepson, Matt, and family live in Fargo. Young was a founding staff member of the Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) in Grand Forks, where he served as head of the voice staff and was the founder and artistic director of the SPA Vocal Arts Ensemble. Away from school, he enjoys serving as the Sanctuary Choir Director at Sharon Lutheran Church. When he’s not making music, he enjoys hunting with his stepson, binging on movies with his daughter, fixing his boat and dreaming of fishing in a boat that doesn’t need fixing.
Northwest Region Director
Alan Leintz, the current Northwest Region Director for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Leintz is the Lead Custodian at Erik Ramstad Middle School in Minot.
He has served on the NDU Board of Directors since merger in 2013, and was previously a board member for the North Dakota Public Employees Association (NDPEA) for two years. He has been president of the North Dakota Public Employees (NDPE) chapter 52 for seven years, and served as financial secretary for chapter 52 for six years.
Leintz was born and raised in Harvey, N.D., and graduated from Harvey High School in 1984. He moved to Minot in 1986, and has lived in Surrey since 1991. His wife of 32 years, Cindy, is a teacher/librarian at Nedrose Public School. They have three daughters, Samantha, Kayla and McKenzie. Leintz has been a custodian at Minot Public Schools since 2001.
Southeast Region Director
David Marquardt, the current Southeast Region Director for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Marquardt is a physical education teacher in Fargo.
He has served as president of the Fargo Education Association, from 2013-17, and has been a member of the NDU Board of Directors since merger in 2013. He has also been a negotiator several times.
Marquardt has his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University- Moorhead, and master’s degree from North Dakota State University. He has taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades and P.E. K-5 in Fargo Public Schools since 1999. He is married to wife, Mindy, for 16 years. They have three children. Marquardt enjoys camping, having a large garden and coaching his kids’ activities.
Southwest Region Director
Toni Gumeringer, the current Southwest Region Director for North Dakota United, is seeking re-election to the Board of Directors. Gumeringer is a Speech Language Pathologist for Bismarck Public Schools.
She has served on the NDU Board of Directors since merger in 2013, and has also been president, chief negotiator, vice president, treasurer and building representative for the Bismarck Education Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Teachers Fund for Retirement (TFFR).
Gumeringer was born and raised in Mandan. She lived in Minot to attend college and work from 1977-88. She has been married to her husband, Ron, for 35 years. They have three children, Travis (Sarah), Christopher and Benjamin, and three grandchildren, Chase, Reya and Lukah. Gumeringer is a unit commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America and has earned the District Award of Merit. She also volunteers for the Faith Formation classes at Corpus Christi Church in Bismarck.
NEA RA Delegates
Deb Beeler is seeking a delegate spot for the NEA RA in Minneapolis this summer. Beeler is a Speech Pathologist for West Fargo Public Schools. She has served as the treasurer for West Fargo Education Association, as well as elementary representative on the WFEA Executive Board.
Beeler graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree, and received her master’s degree in Speech Pathology from the University of North Dakota. She continues to be active in her church, an advocate for the students she works with, and says she enjoys spending much of her time assisting her aging parents.
Laura Bubel is seeking a delegate spot for the NEA RA in Minneapolis this summer. Bubel is an English Teacher at Hazen High School. She has been a member of NDU and the Hazen Education Association since 2015, and was previously a member of the Shepherd (Mont.) Education Association and Shelby (Mont.) Education Association.
Bubel has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Education and Literary Studies from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont. She has worked at Hazen High School since 2015, and previously worked as a high school English teacher at Shepherd (Mont.) High School from 2013-15 and Shelby (Mont.) High School from 2012-13. She was born and raised in Baker, Mont., and played on the women’s basketball team at Rocky Mountain College. She graduated from college in 2011. She is married to husband, Josh, and they moved to North Dakota in 2015. She is currently in her sixth year of teaching high school English. Her husband works as a plant operator for Coyote Station in Beulah, N.D., and they have a two-year-old son named Reid.
Tim Thueson is seeking a delegate spot for the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) in Minneapolis this summer. Thueson is a Title I coordinator and Title I math and reading teacher at Solen.
He served as president, vice president and negotiating team member on the local level. He is also a member of the Communications, Speech and Theatre Association of North Dakota. He has been involved in school improvement, the North Dakota Theatre Arts Curriculum Frameworks Committee, the North Dakota Reading Association, and the North Dakota Geography Alliance. He is actively involved in the Lions Club and has held many leadership roles.
Thueson graduated Cum Laude from Mayville State University with a bachelor’s degree in Education. He received his Master of Science degree in Education from Minot State University. He is married to Lynell, and they have one son, Mark. Special recognitions include: Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (three times), listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Professionals (two times), and a Melvin Jones Fellowship awardee. He is lifetime member of the North Dakota Firefighters’ Association, a Melvin Jones Fellow and has received four Lions Club International President’s Certificates of Appreciation.