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/stories/images/21-MSUmoorhead.jpgsite://minnstate/stories/images/21-MSUmoorhead.jpgminnstate21-MSUmoorhead.jpg225364375375Photo of Tonya GreywindMinnesota State University Moorhead

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Photo of Tonya Greywind

Tonya Greywind

Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota
Graduated: 2020
Degree/Major: Doctor of Education (Educational Leadership)

When schools began holding classes online in spring 2020, Tonya Greywind embraced it as another day in the classroom. 

The Fargo, N.D., woman recently earned her Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her thesis on SmartLabs® in rural schools built upon 15 years of experience with the North Dakota Center for Distance Education (NDCDE). 

“Distance learning provides opportunities for kids regardless of their location and situation,” Greywind said. “Part of my goal as an educator is to advocate for students who don’t get the same opportunities as their peers.” 

The three-time MSUM graduate — who earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the university — researched how SmartLabs® benefit rural schools facing a critical teacher shortage, especially in STEM fields, as part of her doctoral work. 

“I’ve gained confidence and a broadened support system (from the program),” she said. “I’ve gained this wide professional network of friends ranging from district superintendents to deans of colleges.” 

NDCDE supports 19 SmartLabs® in North Dakota. Results from Greywind’s research will be considered as the state determines whether to expand the program. 

“It’s an innovative and effective way for students to learn. It’s a way to create equality among all students.”