Kristen Hayes

Kristen Hayes remembers teaching as far back as elementary school. “In the fifth grade, I worked with a kindergarten student as a peer mentor,” she explains. “We would go to the library each week to research topics of interest to him. It brought so much joy to both of us!” Now, years later, she is in the classroom as a kindergarten teacher at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary. Hayes has worked for Moorhead Area Public Schools for ten years. She is one of nine teachers nominated as Building Representatives of the Year, a peer nominated program facilitated by Education Moorhead. One teacher will be named the Moorhead Teacher of the Year and move on as a candidate for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. 

Haye’s fifth grade teacher was her idol. She was kind, caring, and innovative beyond measure. “She made learning fun,” Hayes says. “I often think about her when I need inspiration or motivation to give a little bit more than I think I’m capable of.” 

Her coworkers describe her as a devoted teacher with unwavering dedication to her students. “What I love most about Kristen is her obvious love for every child in her class,” colleague and first grade teacher Michaela Backlund says. “She is devoted to teaching, and never gives up or loses hope in her students no matter how challenging.”

Her passion for helping students is equally met with continued learning. “Her knowledge is endless and her drive to find the best resources and strategies is unwavering,” says Donna Dunlap-Bitz, special education teacher.

Many of her colleagues also look to her as a fantastic leader. “She is a wonderful resource for members of her team. She plans purposeful agendas and works hard to ensure objectives are met,” Dunlap-Bitz says. “She is a leader who is kind, compassionate and caring.” Hayes also is an inspiration to those around her. Fellow kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Fritel says, “She is truly an amazing educator that I aspire to be like every single day.” 

Hayes is laying the groundwork for students to be successful for years to come. “They find academic, emotional and behavioral success in her classroom based on the instruction she provides in all areas,” says teacher Steph McNab. “That foundation is so important in ensuring that her students go on to have success year after year.” 

Congratulations to Hayes for being nominated as Teacher of the Year at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School. See below for the other building level nominees.

  • Brandy Haugen, Horizon Middle School East
  • Kristen Hayes, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary 
  • Kelley Larson, West Central Academy
  • Chris Lien, Moorhead High School
  • Michelle Sailer, Robert Asp Elementary
  • Patty Schmidt, Horizon Middle School West
  • Stacy Schroeder, Ellen Hopkins Elementary
  • Joanna Struck, Dorothy Dodds Elementary
  • Brittany Torgerson, Probstfield Early Learning Center