There’s no question what inspires Deb Henton M’95, C’96, D’99, superintendent of North Branch Area Public Schools. Actually, there are approximately 3,000 inspirations. Her students. “Whenever I can raise student achievement, that’s No. 1,” Dr. Henton said. “That’s why I come to work every day. I want to create an environment where kids have the best opportunities possible to achieve their dreams.” It’s because of this commitment, passion, and “outstanding leadership and innovative spirit” that the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) recently named Dr. Henton as the 2018 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year.
Angie (Pieper) Bissen ’07 describes herself as “practical.” When she was choosing a major, she thought about the type of career she could envision herself in, as well as what job opportunities would be available. At the time, accounting jobs were in high demand. As she loved numbers, an accounting major seemed … practical. Her sophomore year, she added a second major in human resources, thinking the unique pairing could be beneficial. Currently the HR programs supervisor at Hormel Foods Corporation, Bissen’s instincts were spot-on. “Businesses need to make a profit, so being able to understand the numbers and have a grasp on general business practices is extremely important, no matter what aspect of business you’re interested in,” she said.
As a test engineer with Medtronic, Nick Nagel ’14 is saving lives by testing medical devices before they ever come in contact with patients. For Nagel, every test, every data point, is crucial. “Testing helps us better understand why something performs as it was intended to, or may fail or stop working,” he said. “My job has a direct affect on patients, so the device needs to work the way it’s supposed to work every time.” For example, the Andover, Minn., native is currently testing ablation catheters, which doctors use on patients to interrupt unwanted electrical pathways in the heart.