July 31, 2013

Bieber to guide growing Alexander school

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

After former superintendent, Mike Klabo, retired at the close of the 2012-2013 school year, the Alexander Public School District No. 2 has been looking for a replacement. Recently, they not only found that replacement, they hired her.
On July 1, Leslie Bieber, a former IVN Spanish teacher for the Alexander Public School District, as well as many other school districts, accepted the position of District Superintendent for the Alexander Public School District No. 2.
Bieber grew up in Sidney, Mont., and a good number of her family still lives there, including one son, Dustin, and one daughter, Amanda, who both attended school in Alexander. Bieber’s youngest daughter, Alexandra, who also attended school in Alexander, currently lives in Colorado.
Bieber graduated with an undergraduate degree in History and Spanish Education from Dickinson State University.
She has been an IVN Spanish teacher for 14 years in northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana. At one point in time she taught at 21 high schools in the area. She has also taught at Williston State College as an IVN Spanish Instructor for 10 years.
During her teaching career, Bieber went back to school for a Master’s degree in Secondary Administration. She finished her graduate degree at the University of North Dakota two years ago. She then got out of teaching and accepted a position as an Elementary School Principal in Grenora, N.D., during which time she took courses to complete her elementary and superintendent credentials.
Last year Bieber heard of the open superintendent position in Alexander, and desiring to be closer to her family, decided to apply.
“I loved Grenora,” states Bieber. “Were it not for family, I would still be there.”
Seven out of Bieber’s 14 years as an IVN Spanish teacher were taught out of Alexander.
“It is nice to be back in the community,” states Bieber. “I have seen many familiar faces and gotten a lot of, ‘Nice to have you back.’”
Bieber has returned to her familiar land to find it different from when she left.
“Four or five years ago, we feared that they may have to close the school district’s doors,” states Bieber. “Now we are growing fast and furious.”
Bieber states that area leaders are predicting as many as 1,000 homes going up in the Alexander School District, and the school board is looking at the potential need for expansion.
“We are struggling to have enough space in our current cafeteria right now,” states Bieber. “We had to do some creative adjustments with lunch times so we could fit in all of our students.”
Additionally, Bieber states the district has hired teachers to fill four new positions for the coming school year.
“Our third and fourth grades used to be together, and they will be separate this year,” states Bieber. “The other three teachers were hired because we needed more electives in the high school.”
Alexander finished the 2012-2013 school year with 127 students, and with all the new homes in the Alexander area, Bieber states this year’s student registration will be interesting.
Though Bieber has only been on the job for less than a month, she has already started planning for the district’s future. Not just in expansion, but in education as well.
Along with making a plan of action for possible expansion, Bieber has been busy updating the school’s educational technology resources by purchasing mobile carts, laptops and Ipads.
“There is a new state standard that states third graders will need to learn how to type, because all testing will be computerized,” states Bieber. “Part of that testing includes writing a story on the computer.”
For this reason, Alexander students will begin to use technology on a daily basis in school. Keyboarding will begin in Kindergarten, Ipads will be used by elementary students, and laptops will be used by high schoolers.
“One of the greatest things about my past as an educator in this area is that I worked for a lot of different administrators, and therefore, have a wonderful support system,” states Bieber.
Not only does Bieber have a wonderful network of professionals she can lean on but, according to her, the Alexander community has been supportive as well, even to the point of helping the district expedite the purchase of a home for a new teacher moving into the area.
Bieber has three children from a former marriage, and is engaged to be married.