DeCoteau gives back to his hometown through teaching

By Calli Delsman
University Communications Student Assistant

BELCOURT, N.D. – Jacob DeCoteau, a 2016 grad from Minot State, has spent the last five years teaching at his alma mater.

Turtle Mountain Community High School in Belcourt is about a five-minute drive from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where DeCoteau grew up.

“I currently teach all grade levels and teach subjects like geography, tribal history, tribal government, and U.S. history. My favorite part of teaching is seeing the growth in my students and seeing how they grow and mature throughout their high school years,” DeCoteau said.

One cool aspect about DeCoteau teaching in his hometown is that he took over for some of the teachers that he had when he attended high school.

DeCoteau was grateful for his opportunity to attend MSU during his last year as an undergrad. Prior to MSU he attended Turtle Mountain Community College and the University of North Dakota.

“After my first year at UND, I didn’t feel comfortable there and wanted a change in scenery. I was drawn toward MSU because of the teaching program and the opportunity to compete on the golf team,” DeCoteau said. “Making the move to Minot State was the best decision I’ve made thus far in my life. I’ve made lifelong friends and had many opportunities that helped me grow as a person.”

While attending MSU, he met many professors and others that impacted his life and changed his career outcome for the better.

Being on the Minot State golf team, he gained other experience and knowledge that would later help him become the person he is.

“Annette Mennem (Native American Center director), Dr. Joseph Jastrzembski (history professor), and my golf coach Randy Westby (head coach from 2013-2018) — all of these individuals had a major impact on where I am today,” DeCoteau said.

“I want to thank golf coach Randy Westby for allowing me to be a part of the team and to compete at a higher level. Without him, I don’t think I would have committed to transferring,” he said. “As for the academic side of things, I really enjoyed the classes that I took while at MSU and the social science department is amazing, especially the professors.”

Outside of teaching, DeCoteau enjoys golfing, watching wrestling, and being outdoors. He hopes to one day coach wrestling or golf and has future plans for his teaching career.

“I would like to teach for a few more years and then eventually pursue a master’s in administration or counseling. I really enjoy what I am doing now and don’t see myself moving. I love the fact that I get to give back to my community and help my people,” DeCoteau said.

DeCoteau is looking forward to what his future holds but is at ease at where he is in his life right now. He believes Minot State was the best decision he could have made and has made lifelong memories he will continue to tell his students about throughout his career.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/04/21   

» More MSU News