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By Force Staff, 02/15/22, 1:30PM CST


Get to know the teachers!

Mrs. Warner | Bennett Elementary School - Gifted Services Teacher

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you? There are many funny things students have said to me, not all appropriate though! I always chuckle when students accidentally call me “Mom”.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? My favorite part of being a teacher is when students are excited about what we are studying and ask to take our lessons home to work on them more for homework.

Share your favorite classroom memory. Last year, a student was solving an extremely difficult math problem. After days of working on the problem, he solved it! With great excitement he exclaimed, “This is better than my birthday!”


“So often you find that the students you are trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you.” Sean Junkins explains perfectly why I am writing this essay to dash for cash. I have only taught for ten years, but I have quickly come to realize that my students have a huge impact on me. Their passion for learning, desire for a challenge, and eagerness to try new things pushes me to continuously improve my teaching.

My students are very unique, and due to their unique characteristics, they all learn differently. Because of these differences, I am always looking for new and better teaching tools and methods. The most important supplies I would purchase with the Deal or No Deal money are a 3-D printer and 3-D printer filament. I have two 3-D printers in my classroom. Over the years I have developed a variety of projects for my students that have enhance students’ learning. Other teachers in the building are seeing the positive impact this tool has on students’ learning and are wanting to get involved with projects in their own classrooms. To do this, we need more than two 3-D printers in our school and filament for the projects. I have begun to collaborate with other teachers on ideas in their classrooms.

Mrs. Dornfeld | Mapleton Elementary School - Kindergarten

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you? Mrs. Dornfeld your belly is getting huge! Like really huge! Are you sure there aren’t 10 babies in there?

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? It’s the ultimate opportunity to serve others. The relationships I get to build with kids and families are so rewarding and the learning that happens in Kindergarten is so amazing! 

What is your favorite classroom memory?  When Governor Burgum and Supt. Baesler visited my school for an assembly to announce I was the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year!


MEET KAYLA: Kayla Dornfeld is the 2020 Top Educator of the Year, and the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Kayla is a two-time (2017 and 2018) Global Hundred honoree, recognizing her as 1 of the top 100 innovative educators in the world. The New York Times named her "one of the tech-savviest teachers in the United States".

She has 15 years of teaching experience. She currently teaches Kindergarten in Mapleton. Kayla holds her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Dakota. In September 2018, she received the University of North Dakota Sioux Award, the highest honor of achievement offered by her University.

In 2021, she was named the "Youth Volunteer of the Year" by St. Jude Hospital. 

She has been recognized as both an "ISTE Influencer" and "HarperCollins Publishing Influencer". Additionally, in March 2018, she was named 1 of just 30 "All-Star Digital Innovators" in the United States by PBS. Who's Who in America has also awarded Kayla for her contributions to education by publishing her biography.

Kayla frequently travels around the United States and other countries as a featured and keynote speaker. She has delivered hundreds of keynotes, one of note being at Twitter Headquarters. On July 23, 2015 she delivered her first TEDx Talk, Reimagining Classrooms: Students as Leaders and Teachers as Learners

Her work with classroom redesign and flexible seating has become the standard worldwide. She is also a co-author of the best-selling book Education Write Now, published in December 2017, and 10 Perspectives on Learning in Education, available now on Amazon.

Mrs. Heupel | LE Berger Elementary School - Reading

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you? I ran into 2 students in Walmart and one had to ask the other "Who is that?"

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? The smiles I get from my students everyday especially when they start to understand something.

What is your favorite classroom memory? When a student told me he wanted to be a reading teacher because he wanted to be just like me.

Mrs. R | Washington Elementary School - Reading

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you?The funniest thing said, my last name is Rosenberg, which is hard for the kindergarteners and first graders to remember. One of my first graders called me Mrs. Rottenbird. That was when I started going my Mrs. R at school because the kids can remember that.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? My favorite part of being a teacher is helping kids to become readers.

What is your favorite classroom memory? Favorite memory would be when I was a fifth-grade teacher in Texas, I taught a lesson on the costs of living on your own. I did this because one of my students was wanting to drop out of school. He could not wait to turn 16 to drop out. After seeing what the costs of living on your own would be and the types of wages for jobs that do not require a high school diploma, he said he was going to finish high school. Many years later I heard from his mom that he did get his diploma.

MEET MARY: I am a traveling teacher, I work with Kindergarten through third grade kids on their reading skills. Many of the kids tell me that they do not have books at home to read. I would us the prize money to buy books and book bags so that I could send home books to read each night. Being able to have books to take home and practice reading skills at home for the students would make a big impact on their reading success. I would also like to purchase educational games that can be sent home so the families could play these at home. Just like in hockey you must practice a skill to get better at that skill whether it is hockey or reading.

Mr. Pepera | Lewis and Clark Elementary School

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you? “When I was little, I would swallow my gum in hopes that I would fart bubbles… It didn’t work.”

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? June, July and August

What is your favorite classroom memory? When doing a scavenger hunt over Zoom, my students were asked to find something “fluffy” to bring back to share with their classmates. One of my students came back with a pet chicken as his fluffy item. This was at the start of the pandemic, so the timing was much needed.

MEET SHAE: This past year, education has been anything but ordinary. No matter what goes on in a child’s life, school has always been that place of stability and comfort. In this last year, we have asked our students to change and adapt more than ever before. They have learned from home, through Zoom, hybrid, self-taught, without their friends and under other extreme circumstances.

How people manage themselves and interact with others can have positive or negative effects on future happiness and success. While academic success is important for success in school, social emotional wellness is essential in school and in life. I would like the opportunity to dash for cash this year to help fund social emotional resources that can be used in my classroom and my school. Promoting social and emotional development for all students in classrooms involves teaching and modeling social and emotional skills, providing opportunities for students to practice and hone those skills, and giving students an opportunity to apply these skills in various situations.

Providing teachers and students with social emotional resources can help students manage themselves, understand the perspectives of others and relate effectively with them, and to make sound choices about personal and social decisions. With the help of the Fargo Force more students at Lewis and Clark Elementary will have the opportunities to explore new ways to overcome the lasting effects that COVID has had on their social emotional wellbeing.

Mrs. Lundberg | Early Childhood Center WF - Special Education

MEET DANI: I am an early childhood special education teacher at the Early Childhood Center in West Fargo, ND, which means I teach special education preschool. I have two classes of about 8 kids each. I have had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Fargo Force Teacher Appreciation night for 3 years now. This has helped me so much in my classroom, especially with just starting out teaching a few years ago. I have been able to purchase new math manipulatives, items for my block area, and toys for our dramatic play area.

This year I would like to be able to help out my fellow preschool teachers at the school. A lot of them have Amazon wish lists for their classrooms and I would like to purchase a few items for each of them. With Covid last year, we all had to get a little creative with our teaching and items that were sent home during virtual learning. It was a stressful year all around and I would like to show my appreciation to my fellow teachers. Thank you for the wonderful support that you give teachers in providing this opportunity each year

Mrs. Fedderson | Breckenridge Elementary - STEAM

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you?​ ​I have been teaching 32 years and lots of funny things have happened.  Most recently a student ran up to me and was so excited to say "I got you a cinnamon roll this morning Mrs. Fedderson" and he handed me a box.  I open the box and inside was a delicious looking cinnamon roll with a bite taken out. He said he had a bite because he got hungry.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? ​I love spending everyday with my young friends. They make my job fun, exciting, challenging and very rewarding.  I also have wonderful co-workers.  We have a great atmosphere at our school. 

Share your favorite classroom memory. ​So many memories but a favorite memory is of a second grader walking into my room and he started jumping up and down because he was so excited I had a LEGO Wall in my classroom.  How cool is that! 

MEET RENEE: We need to raise money to purchase more hands-on activities such as LEGOS, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys and Magnetic Tiles. Kids need to explore their early engineering skills and use their imaginations by building and creating. We also need money to purchase more art supplies such as paints, watercolor paper, oil pastels and other fun art mediums to create our masterpieces. We can also use more books, which we pair with a fun STEM activity.

Mrs. Bastian | Casselton Elementary

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you? I have so many funny moments and every day I laugh! When I told my student that she was chosen to go on the ice with me for Deal or No Deal she pauses and says, "Uh... Mrs. Bastian we have a problem... I can't skate!"  I laughed and reassured her that I can't skate either. We will bravely and carefully walk out on the ice together! We are both so excited!

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? My favorite part of being a teacher is creating a safe, loving environment and making learning engaging and fun! When I see/hear growth and understanding it is the most rewarding feeling!

Share your favorite classroom memory. My first year of teaching 2nd grade was 2020. I had no idea that Friday, March 13th was going to be my last day before we had to stay home and teach/learn virtually. Thankfully, it was the BEST day ever! We celebrated our Marble party that day and I wouldn't have changed a thing! I was terribly sad to not finish our year in person but it is amazing what you learn you can do when faced with new challenges. I even joke that I became a YouTuber teaching my lessons! 


MEET CASSIE: Hi I'm Cassie from Casselton in Cass county and teach 2nd grade at Central Cass! My husband, Chris and I have been Force season ticket holders for 7 years. Thank you for all of the hard work everyone does to make so many fun and exciting  experiences watching the Force play. I didn't grow up knowing anything about hockey and never went to a game until we moved to ND. 

I tell everyone that I am truly living "my dream come true" being a 2nd grade teacher.  I have 17 Super, Sonic, Smart, Sensational 2nd graders! These 7/8 year olds love learning, are inquisitive and truly kind, bucket-filling little humans. I can only imagine the amazing things they will do someday! There are many things that I usually buy for my classroom and there are always needs that my requisitions don't go far enough for. One thing that I do every spring is a marble party. Students earn marbles in the jar for many reasons. When we fill the jar, we celebrate with our Marble Party! I always supply the treats for the party. Another need that we have is our desks do not have any storage. The only storage my students have are little cubbies that also house all their winter clothes. There are containers that can be attached underneath their desks to hold their pencil boxes and books.