A Staff in Review: Dr. Jennifer Fremstad announces leave for the future


Tyger Albano, Staff Writer

After 9 years, West Fargo High School principal Dr. Fremstad announced her leave earlier this year. On February 3rd, Fremstad sent her letter of resignation to Superintendent Slette. 

Fremstad said in an interview she announced her exit so early was so that, “the district had enough time to get good candidates for my replacement.” Overall, she wanted to tell the district she was leaving so early so that the district and school had enough time to prepare for it. 

After the announcement, everybody has been asking the same question, why? Fremstad says there were many reasons as to why, “the last couple of years have been challenging, and the shifts from what the job was and what it has become was pretty dramatic, and when you have your own family and kids, I gave a lot of time and energy to this school and my kids here, which meant that I gave less time to my kids and family at home. It really came down to a balance, what my West Fargo students needed, and what my family needed, and for me, it felt like the right opportunity to take a step back. It was time for me to play the role of mom.”  

Fremstad’s youngest child will be starting high school next year and her oldest is finishing their first year of college. 

West Fargo High School and Dr. Fremstad have defiantly grown together over the years. She believes the legacy she led for the school will, “I think when I made the choice to come to West Fargo, it’s because they were a high school of excellence, so I really wanted to make sure I came and honored that. In addition, I think the opening of Sheyenne changed what we looked like, and we were not the only school in the district. I don’t want to say we had to reinvent ourselves, but we had to build a new us.” Fremstad said. “On my first day here, I said to the staff that if they ever wanted to know how I make a decision, the very first question I ask myself, ‘is this choice best for the kids’. It’s remarkable that 9 years later, the staff here still ask that question before every decision, which I believe makes for a very student-centered school.” 

“I’m really proud of the work we have done, in maintaining the excellence that was and creating a student-pleasing school.” 

Although Dr. Fremstad led a very well 9 years here at WFHS, that doesn’t go without its problems. “I think unfortunately trials happen when you make an unpopular decision, and it’s always hard in a position where much of what we do is very protected, so the whole story never quite gets out. It’s always about handling what people perceive as the wrong choice and knowing what we did is best for the kids. It’s always hard when you can’t share all the information, and you just have to let it happen.” Said Fremstad.  

“I also think that every time we have a student death, those are hard to get through as a school. And those are the ones that are most challenging.” 

Even though Fremstad will be gone next year, she still has high ambitions for the future. “I hope that every time I see a packer, that there is a sense of pride, we hashtag it all the time ‘packer pride’ and I explain to staff that when you walk into a building, you get a feeling of whether or not this is a great school, and I love when welcoming new people here, they are like you can feel it. Packer pride is a living thing, like you feel it all around, and I just hope that for every kid, there are moments where they feel proud to be from here and to have the experience that they have.” Fremstad said. “High school isn’t everyone’s greatest time, but I hope that there are moments for every kid where they feel like they belonged, and that there were moments that this was a great place to be.” 

Another question that has been floating around is who will be taking Fremstad’s place. The answer to that question is one of the current assistant principals, Mrs. Bachmeier. Fremstad believes she is leaving this school in good hands. When asked if she trusts her to lead the school, the first words given were, “yeah, absolutely.” “Having the opportunity to work with Mrs. Bachmeier these years, it’s always nice to give it to someone familiar who has lived it and experienced it.” 

“You couldn’t ask for anyone better.” 

In the last 9 years here, Fremstad has accomplished many things, the biggest one being named the North Dakota Principal of the Year last year in 2021. Other awards and positions include:

  • 2020 NDASSP Region 6 Principal of the Year
  • NDASSP President 2016-2018
  • NDCEL President 2021-2022