Moorhead area public schools

moorhead area public schools

Moorhead Area Public Schools welcomes seven new assistant principals to their administrative team. Schools with new assistant principals include Moorhead High School, Moorhead High School Career Academy, Moorhead Alternative Learning Center, Horizon Middle School, Dorothy Dodds Elementary and Ellen Hopkins Elementary School.



Ellen Hopkins Elementary

Ellen Hopkins Elementary welcomes Amanda Mix as assistant principal. Mix has 16 years of experience in education, coming to Moorhead from Bemidji. She is excited to be a part of Moorhead Area Public Schools. Mix says, “I strive to motivate all learners to embrace their inner “awesomeness” by focusing on their goals in achieving daily success and self-worth.”

Mix graduated from Gustavus Adolphus with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She received her master’s degree from Bemidji State and a specialist degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. 

Mix spent one year out of college in Burnsville as a resource/title teacher and then spent the last 15 years in Bemidji most recently serving in the role of support specialist of district multi-tiered systems.


Dorothy Dodds Elementary

Principal Robin Grooters retired after 34 years at Moorhead Area Public Schools. Nancy Wilson will take over as principal. She joined the team at Dorothy Dodds in 2016 as assistant principal.

Benjamin Jystad-Spar joins Dorothy Dodds as assistant principal. He comes to Moorhead Area Public Schools from Fargo Public Schools where he most recently served as dean of students at Discovery Middle School. He has many years of experience in the elementary classroom as well as title one math.

Jystad-Spar completed his undergraduate work at Concordia College in Moorhead and his master’s degree at Concordia University in St. Paul along with a specialist degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Outside of school, he enjoys spending time outdoors, summers at the lake and watching hockey, especially the MN Wild. He lives in the F/M area with his wife and five children.



Horizon Middle School welcomes two new staff members to their administrative team. Cory Holten and Tera Sistad join as assistant principals. The addition of these roles will help provide support to middle school students.


The administrative team is as follows:

• Amanda Henry, principal

• Jeremy Lapka, 5th grade assistant principal

• Meagan Blake, 6th grade assistant principal

• Cory Holten, 7th grade assistant principal

• Tera Sistad, 8th grade assistant principal


Cory Holten began his career at Horizon Middle School as a social studies teacher, math teacher and coach. He spent the last three years as a dean of students/assistant principal/activities director at Ben Franklin Middle School. “I’m looking forward to being back at Horizon and with the Spud community,” Holten says.

Holten completed his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at University of Minnesota, Morris and his master’s degree at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. He is currently pursuing his Doctoral degree from University of North Dakota.

When he is not at work, Holten enjoys golfing, spending time with family and going to the lake. He and his wife Abby recently welcomed their first child, Henley. “Being a parent has been the greatest job I could have asked for.”

Sistad is finishing her 18th year in education and her sixth year as an assistant principal at West Fargo High School. Prior to working in West Fargo, she was a teacher, advisor and volleyball coach at DGF. “I am so excited to join the Horizon team and meet the students and staff of Horizon,” Sistad says.

With a strong educational background, Sistad has completed bachelor and master level programs in education at Minnesota State University, Moorhead and an additional masters degree at University of Concordia, St. Paul.

She lives in Dilworth with her husband, Wayne, and 8-year-old twins Riley and Liam. As a family, the Sistad’s enjoy being outside, going to the lake and traveling.



Moorhead High School and Moorhead High School Career Academy welcome three new staff members to their administrative team. Jennifer Fremstad, Craig Fahrendorf and Holly Strand-Rysgaard join as assistant principals. David Ahmed joined the MHS Career Academy administration team last year and will move to Moorhead High School for the 2022-23 school year. The addition of these roles will help provide support to high school students.


The administrative team is as follows:

• Josh Haag, 9-12 principal (MHS, MHS Career Academy and Moorhead Alternative Learning Center)

• David Ahmed, Moorhead High School assistant principal

• Jennifer Fremstad, Moorhead High School assistant principal

• Spencer Stowers, Moorhead High School assistant principal

• Craig Fahrendorf, Moorhead Alternative Learning Center assistant principal

• Holly Strand-Rysgaard, MHS Career Academy assistant principal


Craig Fahrendorf has been with the district for 12 years teaching math at Horizon Middle. He has also served as the middle school athletic director and coordinator of the mid-level summer program. He will now step into an administrative position focusing on the Alternative Learning Center. Fahrendorf is looking forward to building positive relationships in a new building and setting. “I am excited for this next adventure in my educational career,” Farendorf said. 

Jennifer Fremstad is new to the Moorhead District coming from West Fargo High School where she has spent the last nine years as principal. She is excited to spend more time with students and faculty in her new role. Fremstad said, “I have been fortunate to have been in a school that values teacher collaboration, pathways for student learning, and serving our students, families and each other. In just a short time, it is clear that these same values are practiced at Moorhead High.”

Holly Strand-Rysgaard is also new to the Moorhead District coming from West Fargo School District. Strand-Rysgaard taught health science for a number of years, before becoming a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) instructional coach. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Dakota State University. She seeks out new innovative practices and strategies to impact education. In her position as assistant principal, Strand-Rysgaard will focus on the Career Academy.

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