“The 2023 North Dakota Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Ivona Todorovic of Grand Forks. Let’s have a huge hand for her.”

Ivona Todorovic says it’s important to continually ask ourselves our “why.”

“Our why is our students,” Todorovic said. “Every year we welcome students into our classroom with the determination to make their learning successful. It is imperative to know their personal story and find the real individual behind the name no matter what language they speak, knowing your students’ stories will allow you to see the assets they bring to class and every child will learn. And it is our job to pursue different instructional strategies to uncover the unique learning craft for each child.”

Todorovic celebrates diversity and emphasizes collaboration and real-world opportunities.

“So, indeed, Mrs. Todorovic has made an enormous impact on her students, on the Grand Forks community and the entire state through your passion for teaching students English Language and the skills they need to succeed in life while giving them the opportunity to embrace and share their cultures with the community,” Gov. Doug Burgum said.

“Thank you, President Archuleta and North Dakota United, for being our voice, especially in hard times,” Todorovic said.

North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta thanked Todorovic and the four finalists for their work, saying NDU is as proud as can be of their accomplishments.

“They know that as a society, we don’t do anything more important than educating our future,” Archuleta said. “You four are being honored here today because you understand that learning is predicated on building strong relationships, trusting relationships between teachers and students. Clearly, you have built those relationships with your students and your communities, and colleagues have taken notice. I want to thank you all for your excellent work.”

“I think Mrs. Todorovic’s school Superintendent Dr. Terry Brenner put it well when he said that Mrs. Todorovic is an example of the American dream,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said. “He said, in many ways, Mrs. Todorovic has lived the lives her students are living, and she is their champion. So, congratulations Mrs. Todorovic for being a champion for your students and for being the 2023 North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Thank you for the work you do for our young people.”

2022 North Dakota Teacher of the Year Bret Dockter spoke to the gifts of all four finalists and ended with Ivona.

“I love, rather than discourage diversity, she celebrates it,” Dockter said. “She builds on each student’s culture and makes them each feel special. Ivona works tirelessly in her school to promote her students’ different cultural backgrounds and helps other students learn to accept them. She’s exactly what our state and our country need at this period of time.

The three other finalists for 2023 North Dakota Teacher of the Year are Abby DuBord from Elk Ridge Elementary in Bismarck, Megan Wald from Linton Public School and Megan Margerum from Northern Cass. All four finalists are members of North Dakota United.