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NDU News

Farewell to Our Friend, Fern

Longtime field consultant, educator, colleague and mentor Fern Pokorny passed away on Dec. 16, 2022.
Published: December 2022

Today is an incredibly sad day for our North Dakota United family as we mourn the loss of former field consultant, Fern Pokorny. She worked for 20 years as a learning disabilities teacher, first in Belcourt and moving onto Dickinson. In 1981, she worked part-time as field staff for the North Dakota Education Association, and also served as president and chief negotiator for the Dickinson Education Association. Fern was hired full-time as UniServ Director for the southeast region of North Dakota. She retired from ND United in 2018.

“For over 37 years, Fern Pokorny represented, reassured and rallied our members through some very difficult times,” said ND United President Nick Archuleta. “She did so tenaciously, always living her values of honesty and integrity. Though far from physically imposing, Fern was resolute in ensuring the workplace rights of our members and refused to be intimidated. The same was true of Fern as she advised our locals on countless contracts, working tirelessly to secure contract provisions that improved teachers’ livelihoods as well as their working conditions.”

During her time with NDEA and NDU, she was an invaluable source for information and advice for members, leaders and staff. “Most important, however, was Fern’s friendship,” President Archuleta said. “If you were fortunate enough to fall into Fern’s orbit, you knew that you had a friend for life. She was a gracious host with an infectious laugh that made her a joy to be around.”

Fern was the consummate professional and a key player in the success of NDEA and ND United. Through her work, advocacy and kindness, Fern Pokorny changed lives for the better. She will be sorely missed by all of us at North Dakota United, and we are forever grateful to call her our friend.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Fern’s loving family and all of her many, many friends in this sad hour,” Archuleta said. “You can be assured that Fern’s was a life well-lived and that the vibrancy of her life will continue to inspire us all.”

Fern’s family will receive friends of Fern Pokorny, 73, from 4-6 p.m. MST on Friday, December 23, 2022, at Stevenson Funeral Home in Dickinson. More information is available here:




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.