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Zettler Receives Air Force Association Accolade

News Release                                                     

For Immediate Release                                                                   

November 19, 2020

Zettler Receives Air Force Association Accolade

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Air Force Association (AFA) has selected Paul Zettler, information technology teacher at Red River High School, as the recipient of the 2020 AFA Chapter Teacher of the Year award.

The purpose of the program is to recognize classroom teachers at the chapter and state level for their accomplishments and achievements in exciting K-12 students about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and preparing students to use and contribute to tomorrow’s technologies.

“Paul has been instrumental with the promotion and advancement of cybersecurity, both within Grand Forks Public Schools and across the state of North Dakota,” said Eric Ripley, executive director of career and technical education and technology at Grand Forks Public Schools. “Paul has been instrumental in also expanding the participation within the Girls Go CyberStart competition within the district and across the state through his advocacy efforts. I feel extremely fortunate to have Paul as a staff member.”

Zettler has taught information technology at Red River for 11 years. In the past five years, Zettler has advised 123 girls in the Girls Go CyberStart competition, initiated the offering of cybersecurity courses during the 2018-2019 school year, founded the Grand Forks chapter of Girls Who Code during the 2016-2017 school year, advised students in the CyberPatriot IX competition in 2016-2017, and advises the Skills-USA chapter at Red River High School.

“There have been a couple of times that being recruited for something was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Zettler. “The first was I was recruited for the U.S. Navy, leading to serving my country, traveling, and obtaining technical training to lay the groundwork for who I am today. The second was being asked to fill an information technology position at Red River High School. It was a life-changing event that set my teaching career on a new path. I am grateful to receive the award and see it as an opportunity to recognize the students that I have had the pleasure to serve. They are the cornerstone to our success.”

Zettler learned of the honor during a virtual presentation on November 12. The presentation was also held to celebrate Red River High School finishing 1st in the state of North Dakota in the Girls Go CyberStart U.S. national high school cybersecurity competition in May 2020.

The AFA Teacher of the Year program dates back to the early 1990s when the mission to recognize classroom teachers (K-12) for their innovative and successful instructional programs originally began.