June 2018 News and Notes

Equinor Donates to Maker Space Project

The Bakken Elementary Maker Space project received a large donation from the Northwest North Dakota Community Foundation on behalf of Equinor (formerly Statoil) to enhance STEM education for WPSD #1's 5th and 6th graders. At the check presentation, members from Equinor and the NWND Community Foundation presented the Coyote Foundation and Brandi Mehlhoff, Bakken Elementary Library Media Specialist with a check for $10,000, which is in addition to the $2000 that their employees and contractors already donated out of their own pockets.

This donation will help purchase classroom sets of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational supplies, allowing for the school's technology, science, and math teachers to be able to bring full classes of students in to bridge the gap between curriculum theories and actual practice.

According to Linda Pitman, Equinor's Williston Basin Regional Manager, "At Equinor, we want to do our part to promote STEM education in the community. Our investment will provide additional STEM equipment to 5th and 6th grade students in Williston and help unlock their potential to be our future workforce."

Equinor's donation, along with Crescent Point Energy, is helping shape the Maker Space into an amazing educational opportunity for our students. At the Coyote Foundation, we strongly believe that our STEM program should be the shining star in the state of North Dakota, and we are working diligently to make that a reality. If you or your company is interested in learning more about how you can help enhance STEM education, please email us at codi.austreim@willistonschools.org.

New Superintendent Begins
Tenure at WPSD #1

​On June 18th, Dr. Jeff Thake officially began his tenure as superintendent of WillistonPublic School District #1, a day after taking in the championship game of the Cashwise/TruWealth Financial Baseball tournament, where the Keybirds finished as runner-ups.  Over the past few weeks, Thake has jumped in head-first, acclimating himself to the community and the school district, and getting down to business to promote a culture of student-centered learning.

Thake created a public Facebook page for people to get to know his style and to follow the exciting ideas he's planning on implementing in our school district.  Click on the link below and follow his page to stay up to date.

Welcome, Dr. Thake!

In Loving Memory:

Gifts to the Foundation:

  • Randy and Kathy Waitman, in memory of Bing Swenson
  • Equinor (NWND Community Foundation), for the Maker Space Project
  • Fred and Marlene Roberts, in memory of Nadine Bloomquist, Kay Skadeland, Donald Skjei, and Arlo Hendrickson

2018 Reunion Updates

*** WHS Class of 1968
50 year reunion
July 27th and 28th
Friday night is registration and a mixer at 6:30pm
Saturday there is a bus tour at 10:30 am and a banquet at 6:00 pm.
Contact Candy at 701-572-6537 or Linda at 406-765-2444 for details!
*** WHS Class of 1998
20 year reunion
July 19-21
Contact Angela Skogen at angela@cooksonmain.com for details!
If you have information about other class reunions that you can share with us, please send us a message or comment on this post and we will add it!
Class of 78 and 08, any info would be appreciated!!!
Thank you!
School Board Spotlight --
Joanna Baltes

In June, three new members were elected to the Williston Public School District #1 school board, filling the vacancies left by Brion Norby, Robert Krom, and Kim Semenko.  Over the next few months, we will get to know our school board members, both new and old, through a "School Board Spotlight" feature. Up this month, Joanna Baltes.

Joanna Baltes moved to Williston in 2015 to join her husband in his post-Navy career.  Joanna spent her legal career serving as a federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice both in Washington, D.C. and San Diego, CA.   As an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, she prosecuted drug traffickers, alien smugglers and corrupt government officials.

Joanna moved to the National Security Division in Washington, D.C. in 2007, and began working on counterterrorism investigations and prosecutions, including numerous disruptions of terror cells and attacks both inside and outside the United States.    She later served as Counterterrorism Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division coordinating counterterrorism investigations and prosecutions among the 93 U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country.   Joanna was a member of the trial teams prosecuting the five planners of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the planner of the bombing of the USS Cole in the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay during both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Joanna’s last position in Washington, D.C. was as Chief of Staff to the FBI Deputy Director where she was involved in the day to day administration of an organization with over 35,000 employees and an $8 billion annual budget.
Since moving to Williston, Joanna has been involved with the Williston Sea Lions Swim Team, as an official with U.S.A. Swimming, board member and coach.  Joanna currently serves as board president for the Sea Lions.
Joanna has been married to her husband John for 19 years and they have two boys, aged 9 and 12, who attend Williston District 1 schools.  Joanna graduated from University High School in Tucson, Arizona which she credits with creating a lifelong love of education and appreciation for amazing teachers.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Arizona; her J.D. and an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law, and clerked for the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C.
Welcome, Joanna!  We are so very lucky to have your passion and drive on our school board.

Did you Know??? 

We do so much more than scholarships at the Williston Coyote Foundation. We also look for ways to help the schools through unrestricted funds donated to our Foundation, grants written on behalf of the schools, and donor-specific gifts.

We are thrilled to announce that we are in the process of setting up two qualified charitable endowments through the Williston Coyote Foundation.  The State of North Dakota offers a tax credit for donations of $5000 or more to a qualified endowment, and we would be happy to discuss how your donation can be utilized in the best possible way for both you and the schools, students, and teachers at WPSD #1!

​If you or your company would like to know more about ways you can help Williston Public Schools, please feel free to contact us at the Williston Coyote Foundation. We would love to visit with you about how your donation can be used for the benefit of the schools, students, and staff of WPSD #1.

As always, your donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated. You can donate conveniently online or can mail any donations to our address listed below. We could not continue our mission of promoting and supporting Williston Public School District #1 without the help of our generous donors!