NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The NDCEL 2023 Fall Conference is where “great leaders become better.”

The North Dakota Council of Educated Leaders says that their passion is providing educational leaders with what they need to give students the best educational journey.

NDCEL serves the needs of North Dakota education leaders with professional development, legislative representation, and beyond.

“Our community and our state is very aware that this is the typical weekend which many people have called for years the ‘teacher’s conference weekend.’ This is actually a conference that’s held for all educators,” said Aimee Copas, the executive director of NDCEL.

Conferences like these are beneficial for everyone involved.

“Obviously education is changing at a rapid pace. So it’s just an awesome time for us to get together, collaborate, network with people. See what’s happening in other schools and take ideas back to our schools,” said Travis Jordan, the superintendent in Beulah.

Around 400 teachers attended the conference along with support staff and administrators.

“We did four emerging themes that are the most important things that we are working on in schools right now. Building leadership, student wellness and adult wellness, capacity for students to be motivated and engaged in school, and most importantly school culture and climate,” Copas said.

The highlight of the day was keynote speaker Jessica Buchanan. Buchanan is a kidnapping survivor, a New York Times and Amazon Bestselling author, and a motivational speaker.

She spoke to the audience about her experience with being kidnapped by Somali pirates. Buchanan was held for a total of 92 days.

She says that no matter what obstacles or challenges lie in our path, if we dig deep to find the strength and fortitude, there is help in any situation no matter how impossible the odds. She hopes that educators can take these lessons and apply them to their own lives.