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Board of Directors

Our dedicated Board of Directors is comprised of passionate educators and public employees, as well as those who have retired from their positions as educators and public employees. They work tirelessly to champion the rights and well-being of our members.

Karen Askerooth, NDU-Retired Director

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Karen Askerooth was elected in 2020 to serve as President of NDU-Retired. She is a retired educator with 43 years of experience.

She has taught in Texas, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Karen has served as the Vice President of the Fargo Education Association, President of the Valley City Education Association, and was the ND NEA Board Director for 6 years.

Aaron Flynn - Higher Education Support Director

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Aaron Flynn has been a staff member at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND since 2012. He is in his first term on the NDU Board of Directors representing Higher Education Support. Aaron is married and has two daughters and one son.

Darby Hart – Northeast Director

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Darby is ND United's Northeast Region Director. She is an English/Language Arts Instructor in Langdon and previously was the president of the Langdon Area Education Association.

Darby received her bachelor’s degree in English Education from Minnesota State in Moorhead. She is president of the Lake Region Teacher Center Board, sits on the ACT Standard Setting Review Panel, and on the Curriculum Content Review committee for the ND State Assessment.

Alan Leintz – Northwest Director

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Alan Leintz is a Custodian at Erik Ramstad Middle School in Minot ND,  He has been on the NDU Board of Directors since 2013, he also serves as President and Negotiator for his local Chapter.  Alan is married,  has three daughters and three grandchildren.

Sarah Lerud – Southeast Director

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Sarah Lerud is a 7‐12 Grade Librarian in Valley City. She also serves as the Valley City Education Association President.

She was born in Valley City and graduated with a double major in English and Art Education from Valley City State University (VCSU). She has also taught in Kindred and Wishek. While working in Wishek, her true calling found her – to be a librarian. She is married, has one human son, and two schnauzer sons.

Angel Lindseth – K-12 Less than 600 Director

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Angel is a school counselor for the Hope-Page School District in eastern ND. Angel received her bachelor’s degree from VCSU in Elementary Education and Psychology and her master’s degree from the University of Mary in School Counseling and currently she is working on her Educational Leadership doctoral degree.

Angel and her husband live in Page, ND. Together they have a blended family with six adult children and one grandchild.

Denbea McNally – ESP Director

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Denbea McNally has been an Education Support Paraprofessional at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Minot ND since 2012. She has been a Dakota United member since 2012, has served on the NDU ESP Advisory Committee since 2019. This is her first term on the NDU Board of Directors representing ESPs.

Denbea was awarded North Dakota ESP of the year in 2019. Denbea is married and has one son.

Ernst Pijning – Higher Education Four-Year Director

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Ernst Pijning is the Four-year Higher Education Director on the NDU board.  Dr. Pijning specializes in Latin American history. His research interests include the eighteenth-century southern Atlantic, Brazil, and cross-cultural trade. He teaches a wide variety of classes in Latin American, African, and Atlantic history and has been at Minot State University since 1999.


Alexis Rasset – Southwest Director

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Alexis Rasset is currently high school special education teacher in Mandan, ND. She has been an educator since 2016 and besides her current position she was a special education paraprofessional for 3 and a half years. She has been a member of NDU since she was in college.

This is her first year as board member to represent the southwest region. She is married and has 2 children.

Ellie Shockley – Public Employee Director

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Ellie Shockley is an education researcher in the public sector. Ellie has her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. Ellie joined North Dakota United in 2016. In 2021, she was elected to the NDU Board of Directors to represent public employees of state, county, or city agencies.

Ellie lives in Mandan with her husband, mother, two step-children, and three pets.


Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education & Public Services

With more than 11,500 members across the state, NDU supports equal opportunities for success for ALL North Dakota students, and respect and support for all educators. NDU members are teachers, community college professors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers.