Joseph A. Westby
The Joseph A. Westby Leadership Award was established by the NDEA in recognition of the decades of leadership Westby brought to the Association as a local leader, board member, UniServ staff member and as executive director.
The award was endowed by gifts from Westby's family, colleagues and friends both in North Dakota and across the nation. Individuals may make contributions to the award at any time. The principal of the donations will be permanently maintained and the interest used to provide funding for the awards.
A native of the Fairdale, North Dakota area, Westby graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and earned a masters degree from the University of North Dakota. He spent 19 years teaching chemistry and advanced biology at Valley City High School. While teaching in Valley City, Westby was honored as the Outstanding Young Educator in Barnes County, was runner-up in the state Outstanding Young Educator contest, and served as a local leader, negotiator, NDEA Board member and part-time field staff for the Association.
From 1980 to 1990, he was employed by the Association as a UniServ director. His job involved significant work as a bargaining trainer, representing member rights and political organizing. In 1990, he was named NDEA Executive Director.
Westby is married to Dr. Rita Kelly, a long-time NDEA member and former English teacher and principal in the Bismarck Public School System. Kelly and Westby have seven adult children.