Ness Appointed to State Board of Higher Education

March 25, 2015

Mike Ness, the superintendent of the Hazen (N.D.) School District, has been appointed to the State Board of Higher Education to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Kirsten Diederich.

Ness received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Dakota State University and served as a teacher and principal before becoming superintendent, first in Stanton, Center and Bottineau before assuming his current superintendent duties in Hazen.  He began his duties in Hazen in 2003 and plans to retire as superintendent June 30. He will serve on the SBHE until the term expires in June 2018.

“It’s been an interest area of mine for many years,” Ness said. “I wanted to continue on to something, and K-12 has been such a part of my life. I really thought this was an option to go into a different area that is still related to what has been my life: education.”

Ness also said he would “work toward a system in which higher education personnel work closely with high school counselors and principals.” He also stressed the importance of preparing high school students for college.

NDUS Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen said that important qualities for board members to possess include leadership, integrity as well as commitment to students and community, all of which are part of Ness’s character. “I believe that Mr. Ness has the necessary experience to connect the educational needs of the elementary, secondary and higher education systems in North Dakota. His insights will be valuable to the State Board of Higher Education and I look forward to working with him,” he said.

The SBHE governs the 11 public colleges and universities in North Dakota and is comprised of seven citizen members, one student member and two non-voting members who represent faculty and staff.