Courtney Skjerven’s Classroom Often the Highlight of Students’ Day

K-5 STEM Teacher  //  Challenger Elementary  //  Thief River Falls School District

A New Opportunity

There’s a certain buzz of excitement when you walk into Courtney Skjerven’s classroom at Challenger Elementary in Thief River Falls. The student’s energy is electric as they excitedly anticipate the fun they’ll have and the skills they’ll learn.

It’s easy to see that Skjerven pours his heart and soul into his students each day as he plans for interactive activities, brings in community experts, and thinks outside of the box to give his students an hands-on learning experience.

After teaching for nearly 20 years, Skjerven took on a new opportunity at Challenger Elementary – a technology teaching position that didn’t yet exist. His principal told him to “go slow and make it your own,” and Skjerven dove in head-first. With no budget or curriculum in place, Skjerven has grown the STEM experience into something that’s often referred to as the highlight of his student’s day.

Community Collaboration

Skjerven realizes the power of his community’s support in his role as a STEM teacher. When thinking about what skills students in their community need to learn, Skjerven knew he needed to engage the talent, expertise, and experience of his rural community.

Regularly, Skjerven invites different community businesses and business owners into his classroom to share with his students about their own experiences and careers. Engaging the community, he believes, will hopefully help students see and understand the incredible opportunities that are available in their community.

Educator of Excellence

MREA honors Skjerven as a 2022 Educator of Excellence for his innovation, collaboration, and unwavering commitment to get results for his students. See more stories of Educators for Excellence.