TJES proudly serves Native American students in Pre-K through Grade 5 in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Our school was started in 1973, when Theodore Jamerson, known as “Tiny Bud,” realized a need to serve the children of students enrolled at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC). Our campus has grown and expanded over the years, but we remain committed to providing students a world-class education, rooted in Native American values. We continue to serve the children of UTTC students, but our doors are open to all Native American families in our community.

TJES students and staff live by the motto “Student Success, Every Day!” It reminds us that we arrive ready to learn, support each other, and be the best we can be.

OUR MISSION: The Theodore Jamerson Elementary School family provides superior education while nurturing the whole child.
OUR VISION: We are here to prepare children to be successful citizens in a diverse world.


Ray Talley

Hello, My name is Ray Talley. I am the current Principal of Theodore Jamerson Elementary School. This is my first year with TJES, but my 7th year in public education. Prior to administration, I worked in community mental health and school social work. I am excited to serve all the staff, students and families of TJES and look forward to the great year!

Laura Hoerner

My Name is Laura Hoerner and I am pleased to be the Title 1 Reading and Math support teacher at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School. I received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Dickinson State University and a master’s degree from the University of North Dakota. I truly enjoy my role as the Title l support teacher and take great satisfaction in helping all learners achieve their reading and math goals. I have been a teacher at TJES for 30+ years and have many wonderful memories of working with students and families throughout the years.

Kim Freidt

Hello, my name is Kim Freidt and I am the school counselor at TJES. I have been at TJES since 2013. I am a Mandan High School graduate. After high school, I attend University of North Dakota for my bachelors and St. Cloud State for my Master’s in School Counseling. I am a mother of 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. When I am not working, you will find me at my kids’ sports and extracurricular activities, camping, or spending time with my family and friends.

Chelsea Kuhlmann, LBSW

My name is Chelsea Kuhlmann, LBSW. I grew up in Twin Buttes, ND and am an enrolled member of Three Affiliated Tribes. I graduated from Minot State University, with a bachelor’s degree in social work in 2011.  As the TJES School Social Worker I provide services and resources to both parents and students. Services include student services, individual counseling, safety training, parent involvement, Stay in School Project. I live in Bismarck, ND with my husband, Mike, daughter, Laikyn and furry friend (Lola). My family and I enjoy camping, trail hikes, travel, and spending time with family.

Patricia Eklund-Berger

My name is Patricia Eklund-Berger, and I teach music teacher and intervention at TJES. I am known at school as “Mrs. Berger”. I have been teaching at TJES since the fall of 2018 and have loved every minute of it!

I grew up in Minot and graduated from college in 1995 from Minot State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a Major in Music and a Minor in Business. In 2001, I graduated from University of Phoenix in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a Master of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Educational Counseling. My husband, Dean, and I live in Mandan, and we love to travel. I spend my summers hanging out at softball games while Mr. Berger is an umpire for many games. I have two stepdaughters.

Mr. Anderson

Hello, I am Mr. Anderson. I work with students including those identified as Gifted and Talented. I was born and schooled in Bismarck ND. I served in the military before receiving a bachelor’s in elementary Education from MSU. I then worked for just under a decade at Four Winds School. I have been a member of the TJES community for over twenty-five years and greatly appreciate the teaching and learning opportunities this unique environment provides. Current hobbies include sewing, building/modifying a CIH home theater, finished carpentry, stained glass windows and computer hardware/software and electronic projects.

Justice Hettich

My name is Justice Hettich. I am from Mobridge, South Dakota. I moved to Bismarck in 2017 to pursue my teaching degree. I graduated in 2021 with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree and will finish in May of 2025. I am 28 years old. My husband, Patrick, and I have two boys together. We welcomed Grayson in 2019 and Hayden in 2022. I enjoy shopping, traveling, boating, and spending time outdoors with my family. This is my third year as a teacher at Theodore Jamerson Elementary. I thoroughly enjoy my job and love the kids at TJES.

April Schmidt

My name is April Schmidt, and I am proud to be a part of TJES. I grew up in Hazen, received my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and Elementary Inclusive Education at Minnesota State University Moorhead. This is my 6th year at TJES, 4 years as a kindergarten teacher and 2 years as a junior kindergarten teacher. When I am not at work, you can find me spending time with my family. It does not matter what we are doing if we are together.

Katlin Kelley

Bio coming soon!

Jodene Uses Many

My name is Jodene Uses Many, I am the new 2nd-grade teacher. I have worked for Theodore Jameson for 20 years. I have held a couple of different positions while at TJES. I was a K-2 Intervention teacher and recently the 1st grade teacher. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Sinte Gleska University and am currently finishing my master’s degree in Reading with a Principal credential from the University of Mary. I grew up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation in South Dakota. I have three sons and we are all members of CRST. I enjoy traveling, reading, summer outdoor sports, and spending time with friends and family. Working at TJES with the staff and students has been an amazing and enjoyable experience.

Randi Waln

My name is Randi Waln. I am the 2nd grade teacher at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School. I have been teaching for a little over 10 years. I started out as a preschool teacher in Cannonball for the Standing Rock 0-5 Head Start Program in 2012 and worked there for six years. I went back to school and earned my bachelor’s in elementary education at UTTC in Dec 2019. I became a 2nd grade teacher at TJES shortly after in April 2020. I have been teaching at TJES for 4 years. I was accepted into the Native American Education Leadership Program (NAELP) at University of Mary for master’s in education and completed my master’s in special education in April 2023.

Mrs. Bitz

Hello! My name is Mrs. Bitz, the 3rd grade teacher. I have been a teacher for 27 years and have been at TJES since 2007. I have taught third grade, kindergarten, first/second combinations, and first grade at TJES. I earned my Elementary Education and Special Education degree, and Learning Disability credential form the University of North Dakota. I grew up on a farm just south of Hazelton, ND. I have been married for 28 years and have two children.

Mrs. Odegaard

I’m Mrs. Odegaard the 4th grade teacher. I have been at TJES for 16 years and counting. I grew up in the northern part of North Dakota in a little town of 32 people. Antler on the Canadian border. I earned my Elementary Education degree from Bemidji State University. I am married and have 3 children.

Mrs. Hulm

Hello, I am Mrs. Hulm, the 5th grade teacher at TJES. I have been a teacher here since 1991. I started as the PE/Health and Gifted/Talented then moved to the 5th grade position. I was born and raised on a farm in ND. I enjoy fishing, reading, spending time with my puppy, and of course my grandchildren.

Ashley Harrington

My name is Ashley Harrington, I am Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Business in May 2017, at United Tribes Technical College. I have been working in the education field for about 4 years. I started as a teacher aide at the Child Development Center on UTTC campus for 2 years. I then went on to become a parent educator for the FACE Program. In November 2022, I started as a paraprofessional here at Theodore Jamerson Elementary. I absolutely love working with the students. I never thought I would be in the education field, but it has been a great learning experience, and I am glad to grow and continue my career here at TJES.

Mrs. Elizabeth

Hi I am Mrs.Hillerud (Mrs. Elizabeth), I am originally from Shakopee MN, and come from a family of eight. I moved to Bismarck to attend the University of Mary, in which I graduated with a Social Work degree in 2022. With a passion for helping children and teaching I began my journey with Theodore Jamerson Elementary School as a Social Work intern. I quickly returned as a SPED Paraprofessional and love the work I do. In 2023, my husband and I were married and have one child of our own. Our free time is spent outdoors on walks and playing sports. I have also coached volleyball at the St. Mary’s Academy for the last three years at various age levels. I enjoy spending time with family and working on projects.

Cyndee McLeod

Hello, my name is Cyndee McLeod, currently the Adult Education teacher with the TJES/FACE program. I am a member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Married to Bob McLeod, we have three adult children, a son in law and a 4 yr. old granddaughter. We all reside in Bismarck. I am a graduate from Turtle Mountain Community College, Dickenson State University and University of Mary completing a master’s in education. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family, friends, traveling, biking, golfing, cooking, and reading. Most of all spending time with our granddaughter, Maddie!

Michele Mindt

I have been a teacher for 22 years.  11 of those years have been here at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School.  I have an Elementary Endorsement, Gifted and Talented Credential,  Special Education Endorsement, and a Master of Education in Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum with an emphasis in Reading Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia.  I grew up on a farm/ranch close to Goodrich, ND.  I enjoy being out in the rural area and frequently go back to help maintain the farm/ranch.  I enjoy being outside and am active in my hometown church.

Renee Connell

Hi, My name is Renee Connell and I have been with Theodore Jamerson Elementary School for 21 years. I began my journey with TJES in 2003 as the Office Administrator to the Principal. In 2017, I moved to a Paraprofessional position. I have a four-year degree in Administrative Office Services with a minor in Speech and Drama. I received my degree from Mayville State University. I previously worked as our Church Secretary for 11 years and before moving to Bismarck, I worked at UND for 3 years in the Management Department as a Secretary. My husband and I moved to Bismarck in 1987 and have raised our family here. I am the Mother of 3 boys and a stepson, all our boys are married to beautiful daughters-in-law and have blessed us with 10 beautiful grandchildren.

Twilla Smith

My name Twilla Smith and I have been the PE and Health Teacher at TJES for more than 12 years. Teaching is a second career for me. I spent 25 years doing administrative work prior to starting college. When I was 43 years old I began my college experience at Murry State University in Murray, KY. Four and a half years later I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education.

During my junior year in college I decided that I wanted to move back to North Dakota and teach either in a rural community or work with Native American children. I returned to North Dakota and my first substitute job was at TJES, a school I didn’t even know existed. I loved working at TJES and eventually was hired for the PE and Health position. My goal as a teacher is to provide our students with the tools they need to live a long and healthy life.

I was born in Fargo, ND and grew up in the small town of Enderlin, ND which is in the southeast corner of the state. When I was sixteen my family moved to Bismarck and I graduated from Century High School. My husband and I have been married for 44 years and share one grown son who lives in Mandan. I have a lot of family living close by and I enjoy spending time with them. I also enjoy fishing, gardening and stock car racing.

Michelle Klabo

Hello! My name is Michelle Klabo and I have been the Speech-Language Pathologist at TJES for the last 8 years. I love the family-centered environment that TJES and UTTC offer. I grew up in Bismarck and received my bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of North Dakota. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, and traveling. My husband and I welcomed our first child into our family last summer. I look forward to connecting with your students and assisting you in helping them become successful members of our community!

Margo Krabbenhoft

My name is Margo Krabbenhoft and I have been a teacher at Theodore Jamerson Elementary for almost 30 years. I have held various positions at TJES; LD teacher, first grade teacher, and my current position which is special education teacher/coordinator. I have held this position for six years. My professional degrees include a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education/Elementary Education from Minot State University. I received certification in Special Education from the University of Mary, and I earned a Masters in Reading from the University of North Dakota. TJES has consistently been a little school with a big heart, filled with caring staff, super kids, and families who place their trust in us to educate their children and I am honored to be a part of that! Outside of school I enjoy being in the great outdoors. I appreciate the four seasons, and I am always looking for a reason to get outside (usually with my 6-year-old retriever, Lilly, who loves being outside as much as I do). My husband and I were born and raised in Minot, ND, and moved to Bismarck to start our careers. We raised two children of our own: a daughter and a son. Our family has grown to include our son-in-law, three grandchildren (9, 7, and 2 years old), and soon to be daughter in law. We enjoy family get-togethers on a regular basis!

Mandi Hairy Shirt

Bio coming soon!

Jenna Delorme

My Name is Jenna Delorme and I was born and raised in Belcourt ND, the Turtle Mountain Reservation. I graduated from Turtle Mountain High School in 2004. I relocated to Bismarck in 2011. I have one son who attends Legacy High School. I have been working within my field of education for 14 years. I worked for 8 years at a Montessori in Bismarck before transitioning as a Preschool Co-teacher at TJES. I am currently a certified FACE Parent Educator/Home Visitor at TJES.


The TJES campus provides everything students need to succeed, including space for play, reading, technology resources, and healthy meals.


You can find the current and upcoming week’s menu on the UTTC website under Cafeteria Menus.

Breakfast and lunch are available Monday through Friday for all TJES students in UTTC Building 72. Breakfast is served from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.


TJES policies and procedures are designed for the safety and support of students, staff and families. More information can be found in the Family Handbook distributed at the beginning of the school year.


TJES follows UTTC’s guidance on closures. All parents are encouraged to sign up for the UTTC Campus Emergency Notification System (ENS). This service sends push notifications for:

  • UTTC campus closures
  • Emergency information and updates
  • Lockdown, severe weather, and shelter-in-place alerts

You can also find weather closure information on the UTTC main website or local TV and radio stations.

At TJES, we follow a Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) plan that includes multiple disaster kits located within the school premises. In the event of an emergency, parents must check out students with their classroom teacher. TJES conducts periodic drills to ensure that staff and students understand their responsibilities in case of an emergency.


Outdoor recess will take place each day if wind chill temperatures are at or above 0°F. If wind chill temperatures are below 0°F, recess will be held indoors. Parents must submit a signed and dated request each day they wish for their student not to have outdoor recess. Office staff will collect and file these requests.

For a full list of policies and procedures, please refer to the family handbook.

3315 University Dr.
Bismarck, ND 58504

Phone: 701.221.1800
Fax: 701.221.1841