Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - August 18, 2019

Third annual Governor's Summit on Innovative Education focuses on best practices, behavioral health

Gov. Doug Burgum hosted the third annual Governor’s Summit on Innovative Education on Wednesday and Thursday, focused on sharing best practices and addressing behavioral health challenges in the classroom.

More than 500 people registered to attend the free public summit at Jamestown High School, including teachers, administrators, legislators, behavioral health professionals, parents and students.

“North Dakota continues to make tremendous progress in implementing and sharing innovative education practices as we build on the momentum of the previous two summits, the recommendations of the Innovative Education Task Force and related legislation,” Burgum said, highlighting the 2019 Legislature’s passage of SB 2215, which creates a K-12 Education Coordinating Council. Applications for the council are now being accepted through the governor’s website at www.governor.nd.gov/boards/.

”This year’s summit also shines a spotlight on the significant challenges posed by behavioral health issues in the classroom,” Burgum added. “By sharing best practices and learning from one another, we can tackle these challenges, identify new opportunities to improve student outcomes and become a national leader in education.”

The second day of the summit focused on behavioral health in an educational setting. Among the featured speakers was Dr. Stuart Ablon, director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor and Thomas G. Stemberg Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“The Governor’s Summit on Innovative Education helps to showcase the successes that we have in North Dakota public education, and how we are striving to improve it for our students and families,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler said. “This involves listening to the voices of our students, our families, our educators and our taxpayers as we move forward. I am also grateful for the Summit’s focus on behavioral health issues in our schools, which our educators have identified as something that needs to be addressed urgently.”

For the second consecutive year, #InnovativeND Awards also were presented during the summit to recognize outstanding work being done by North Dakota educators to prepare students for success in a global economy being driven by rapid technological change. Click the link below for the list of award winners.

William T. Panos

Burgum appoints former Wyoming DOT director Panos to lead ND Department of Transportation

Gov. Burgum on Friday appointed former Wyoming Department of Transportation director William T. Panos to lead the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), citing his extensive leadership experience and long history of managing major infrastructure projects and large organizations.

Panos served as Wyoming’s DOT director from 2015 to 2019 under then-Gov. Matt Mead and as director of the Wyoming Department of School Facilities from 2013 to 2015. Prior to that, he served as director for the City and Port of West Sacramento, Calif., for six years and as construction executive for the state of Washington for five years, controlling and managing over 220 large-scale construction projects annually.

“Bill Panos brings a wealth of experience as a transformational leader for large-scale organizations, with a career spanning city, state, university and private-sector roles,” Burgum said. “Under his guidance, the North Dakota Department of Transportation will continue to embrace innovation, enhance services and provide smart, efficient infrastructure for the traveling public in an environment affected by rapid technological change.”

Panos’ career history includes experience as a state agency director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and special advisor to the chancellor for the California State University System. He also worked in the private sector for TRW Inc. for 10 years in its defense and automotive business units. Most recently, he served as county administrator in Lake County, Ill. Panos will assume his duties with the NDDOT by Oct. 21.

“It is an honor to lead the North Dakota Department of Transportation. I appreciate Governor Burgum’s confidence and the opportunity to serve the people of North Dakota,” Panos said. ”In this role, I look forward to improving our infrastructure, the use of innovative technology, and improving our state’s economy through enhanced transportation systems.”

Burgum expressed his gratitude for the excellent leadership provided by NDDOT Deputy Director of Engineering Ron Henke, who has served as the agency’s interim director since former director Tom Sorel retired in April.

Lt. Gov. Sanford celebrates ND wind energy as part of all-of-the-above approach

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford joined state, local and federal officials, wind industry representatives and Xcel Energy officials Wednesday near Kulm, N.D., to celebrate American Wind Week and the completion of Xcel's Foxtail Wind Farm project in Dickey County.

Construction began in May 2018 on the 75-turbine, 150-megawatt project. North Dakota now boasts 38 wind farms with a nameplate capacity of over 3,200 megawatts. The state ranks 10th in the nation for installed capacity and No. 1 for wind-generated power per capita, Sanford noted.

"Wind plays a vital role in our all-of-the-above energy portfolio, providing jobs and income to our rural communities and tax revenue to our local and state governments, while contributing to our nation’s energy dominance," he said.

Sanford said wind and natural gas must continue to be part of the solution as the state's electricity consumption is projected to increase by 70 percent by 2038 as oil and gas activity expands in the west.

Governor, Lt. Gov. meet with Williston school districts to discuss opportunities for collaboration

Gov. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford, in partnership with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, hosted a joint meeting Monday in Williston with officials from public school districts in Williams County to explore areas for collaboration and ensure the best possible outcomes for students.

As North Dakota’s population has increased in recent years, classroom space to accommodate a growing number of students has become a challenge for many school districts – particularly in high-growth districts in Williams County and other oil-producing counties in the Bakken.

Williams County officials have expressed their commitment to funding the necessary data collection, cross-district information analysis and consultation to identify new areas for collaboration. To ensure a regional approach, the governor invited all public school superintendents and school board members in Williams County to attend the public meeting.

Discussion focused on what type of data should be collected and analyzed as part of a countywide study to aid in decision-making. Gov. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford stressed the importance of local control and locally derived solutions, as well as keeping the focus on students, teachers and taxpayers.

Deadline to submit nominations for Governor's Awards for Excellence in Public Service is Aug. 23

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 23, for the Governor's Awards for Excellence in Public Service.

The awards recognize exceptional individuals and groups in state government who exemplify the best in commitment to our citizens, creative problem solving, contributing to the team, leadership and dedication to making a difference as we seek to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success.

The awards will be presented at noon Sept. 19 in the Brynhild Haugland Room at the State Capitol.

Harvard Kennedy School of Government fellow Brian Sayler poses for a photo with Gov. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford in the Governor's Office.

Sayler completes fellowship on workforce in Governor's Office

Brian Sayler joined the Governor’s Office in June for a 10-week fellowship from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Having never visited the state, Sayler selected North Dakota for his summer fellowship because of his interest in workforce issues affecting North Dakota and because of a deep curiosity around his roots, his father being a native of Wishek, N.D.

With a background in labor market information and analysis, Sayler made an immediate and long-term contribution to North Dakota by providing the analytical support to revise and refine the “in-demand occupation” list in North Dakota. This effort will have significant impact due to its connection to House Bill 1171, which created a $6 million grant/loan repayment program (matched by $6 million in private sector funds) to connect students to educational programs that lead to filling in-demand occupations in North Dakota.

Sayler created the analytical infrastructure that will be used for years to come to identify in-demand occupations, leaving a lasting impression on North Dakota for which the Governor's Office is grateful.

Lt. Gov. Sanford visits with former First Lady Grace Link, who at 100 years old continues to volunteer with the Society for the Preservation of the Former Governors’ Mansion.

Sanford thanks Heritage Volunteers for their dedication to promoting ND history

Lt. Gov. Sanford participated in an event Tuesday at the North Dakota Heritage Center to thank the Heritage Volunteers for their service in promoting and preserving the state's history.

The State Historical Society of North Dakota currently has about 200 Heritage Volunteers statewide who assist with its mission. For the year ending April 30, the volunteers donated approximately 12,400 hours statewide to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Since the inception of the volunteer program in 1981, Heritage Volunteers have donated over 336,000 hours to the State Historical Society.

The Independent Sector, a coalition for nonprofit groups, places a value of $25.77 per hour on a volunteer’s time in North Dakota. Based on that figure, Heritage Volunteers' contribution during the past year is valued at $319,651.

Sanford noted the volunteers serve in a wide range of roles and range in age from the early teen years to 100 years old. While a large number volunteer at the North Dakota Heritage Center, many others assist at historic sites across the state, such as the Pembina State Museum, Fort Totten, the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center in Williston, and Camp Hancock and the Former Governors’ Mansion in Bismarck.

"Great service and successful promotion of these historic sites depends in large part on volunteer groups," Sanford said. "Today we recognize all of you for your dedication to the state of North Dakota, whether you’ve volunteered for 30 hours, 300 hours or 3,000 hours. Thank you for all you do to keep history alive in North Dakota!"

Sanford highlights Veterans Honor Flight program

Lt. Gov. Sanford visited the Burleigh County Senior Center to participate in an event highlighting the Veterans Honor Flight program.

Jane Matejcek, president of the Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota/Minnesota, shared information and a short video about the program, which flies military veterans to Washington, D.C., free of charge to visit the memorials built in their honor.

Sanford expressed his gratitude to the program and to all of the donors who support it. The next Honor Flight is set for Oct. 20-21.

"As Americans, we can never repay the courage and sacrifices our veterans have made in the name of freedom," Sanford said. "We know our nation’s bravest did not always receive the welcome home they deserved during and after war. The Honor Flight is a small token to say 'thank you' for their service, for defending our liberty and way of life."
Gov. Burgum holds 11-week-old Bleu between Sgt. Steve Johnson (left) and Trooper Steve Mayer.

ND Highway Patrol introduces newest member – and he's a social media sensation

North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Johnson and Trooper Steve Mayer stopped by the Governor's Office this week to introduce the patrol's newest member, an 11-week-old bloodhound named Bleu.

The puppy's playful side was captured in the photo below, quickly making him a hit on social media, with a post on the Governor's Facebook page being shared nearly 400 times by Friday. Welcome to the team, Bleu!

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