- Sarah Smith Warren
Reframing Education through Capacity, Passion, Presence and Relevance
Dr. Dan Conn is an associate professor at Minot State University, he is the department chair of the Teacher Education and Kinesiology program and Master of Education program director. Born and raised in Colorado, Dan has spent his personal and professional career in education. Dan taught a variety of subjects and grade levels in a rural K-12 school for ten years and is currently in his 7th year at Minot.
I had the gift of crossing paths with Dan in 2019 while we were both in the Change Network fellowship program. Change Network is a group of individuals from across North Dakota and South Dakota who are advocates to community and positive change in North Dakota. Dan’s project was dedicated to creating community gardens and education based on the gardening traditions of the Mandan Hidatsa, Arikara Nation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.
Although it didn’t happen much, every time Dan would raise his hand to speak, ask a question or share a comment, I found myself on the edge of my seat. Dan’s open, honest and humble communication styel and ability to see a situation in a completely different way, was refreshing and also perplexing. I’m a little embarrassed to say I often had to google some of his comments so I could better understand his question or perspective. In his gentle, nonjudgmental way, he created room, a safe space for conversation, contradiction and learning. Obviously, he was a teacher and a damn good one. I couldn’t help but wish I could sit in on a few of his courses. To me, Dan was another example of a brave human living soul first.
I like to follow Dan and other members of our Change Network co-hort to see all the beautiful and difficult ways they continue to show up for their community. Dan continues to show up for his community in many ways but especially through education, researching and advocating a new framework to measure student success. Thank you Dr. Dan Conn for being a guest on The Soul Place and sharing your important work.