Mary Persson Pursuit of Excellence Teacher Scholarship

Ted and his wife, Lois Schmitz. Two smiling, older Caucasian people. Both have white hair and thin, wire-frame glasses. The man is in a white shirt and the woman in a light blue jacket.

Mary Persson graduated from WHS, Williston State College (with an Associate’s Degree), UND with an Education Degree for K-8 and Early Childhood, and then she went on to earn an Elementary Master’s in Education Degree (Math Concentration) from Minot State.

Mary caught the “love of learning” bug from her family. Her parents read to her and her siblings every day and education was always valued in her family. Her parents taught her that every day presented another opportunity to learn and explore new things.

Over the past 4 decades, Mary has put her passion for learning to use. She taught 5 years at St. Joseph School before joining the staff at Lewis & Clark Elementary, where she remained a constant figure on the staff. During that time, she held numerous titles and served on a variety of committees – Advanced Ed, Advisory, RTI, and Tech to name a few. She also mentored 8 student teachers, had the privilege of working with 5 former students, and taught under 6 different superintendents. She and Mrs. Sandra Schilke created the Lewis and Clark Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships for the last 18 years to Lewis and Clark students graduating from WHS. Through it all, she says her outlook on life and education is “so what if you didn’t get it right today! Mistakes happen; learn from them and don’t give up. Tomorrow is another day, and you can be the best you if you keep on trying”!

Mary and her husband Preston, have two sons, Preston Earl (PJ) and Tyler, including their daughter-in-law, Marie. Their son PJ passed away a few years ago. Tyler graduated from WHS, Minot State, and The Ohio State with a degree in Optometry. Marie is a ND girl that earned her degree from the Illinois College of Optometry located in Chicago. Mary and Preston are both officially retired, although Mary is continuing to sub in the district.

This scholarship was created by Mary’s son Tyler and his wife Marie, in honor of Mary’s passion for education, her dedication to her students, and her outstanding career with WPSD #1.

Scholarship amount (2): $500