Cook County Schools celebrate Melissa Oberg and continue facility improvement process
WTIP file photo

Cook County Schools celebrate Melissa Oberg and continue facility improvement process

During the Mar. 21 Cook County ISD 166 School Board meeting, Melissa Oberg, a special education teacher recently selected as the National Rural Teacher of the Year candidate, was recognized for her achievement. 

“We took a moment to highlight and of course, celebrate her and, clap for her,” Superintendent of ISD 166 Chris Lindholm said. “It is quite an honor.”

The Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA) recognizes teachers across Minnesota for their commitment to their students each year. Oberg was one of four teachers who received an Educators of Excellence award during the Oct. MREA conference in Brainerd. Oberg then was selected as National Rural Teacher of the Year. 

Lindholm said it’s a “real honor for her,” and he thinks that Oberg’s “message is something that educators across the country need to hear.”

 In late Oct, Oberg intends to attend the National Rural Education Association’s National Forum to Advance Rural Education in Savannah, GA. 

In other school news, the school board is moving forward to finalize facility and grounds improvement possibilities. 

The plans at Cook County Schools have been ongoing for months as the school narrows down on needed facility and grounds improvements.

The school is working with DSGW, a Minnesota-based architectural firm specializing in hand-crafting healthcare, education, commercial, and indigenous architecture, to find facility improvement solutions.

Some identified improvements include adding co-curricular facilities such as a track field, creating a commons area for students, and upgrading locker rooms, bathrooms, and classrooms. 

“We’re in the solutioning phase,” Lindholm said. Between now and the end of April, the school board will begin to attach monetary numbers to the identified facility and improvement solutions. “So our board meetings in April are going to be looking at this: What a gym cost is, what a track (field) costs. What bathrooms and locker rooms cost.”

The school board plans to host meetings for community input later this spring once projects have been identified and monetary costs outlined. 

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Chris Lindholm, the superintendent of ISD 166, following the Mar. 21 school board meeting. The audio from the interview is below.