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Dustin Brunner smiles with his wife and five kids
NDU News

Dustin Brunner announced as ESP of the Year finalist

Brunner, a paraprofessional at Central Middle School in Devils Lake, often goes above and beyond to make life easier for his colleagues and the students at the school.
Published: March 7, 2024

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In February 2024, children and staff gathered at Central Middle School in Devils Lake to celebrate a very special person, Dustin Brunner.

“We want to make sure this is just a very special moment to recognize one of our great support staff, Mr. Dustin Brunner,” said Dan Kaffar, principal at Central Middle School.

The occasion? Brunner is a finalist for North Dakota United’s 2025 ESP of the Year.

“When some people ask for fewer challenges and less work, he often asks how he can do more to help make our school a more successful place for our students,” said Vanessa McLaughlin, special ed teacher at Central Middle School.

“Mr. Brunner exemplifies the spirit of dedication and excellence every day,” said Dan Kaffar, principal at Central Middle School.

According to his wife, Dustin isn’t one for the attention.

“I can speak for Mr. Brunner: he is not a person who enjoys flattery or compliments. He is just one of those individuals that, it’s his job. This is what he does,” said Brittany Brunner, Dustin’s wife and English teacher at Central Middle School.

In fact, Dustin’s humility was on full display at the ceremony on February 21 (date?):

“We have every other para here that sometimes, their work goes unnoticed. And every one of them come into school and they work very hard and do everything I do. And I just have to give them a round of applause for that,” said Dustin Brunner, paraprofessional at Central Middle School.

On top of his work as a paraprofessional, Dustin is a father of five, and he’s studying at the University of North Dakota to become a social studies teacher.  He is one of three finalists for ESP of the Year.


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