New beginnings come with lots of traditions and enthusiasm – and that is the exact time of year it is for VCSU. Monday, Aug. 14 is our official welcome day for new and returning faculty. It is a day I absolutely love!It is my pleasure to introduce the newest members of our full-time faculty: David Hanson, Kenneth Jimenez, and Kaley Mari.David Hanson is coming home to Valley City to join our school of education and graduate studies following his retirement as the elementary principal in Wyndmere, N.D. – a position he held for 31 years. He earned his B.S. in elementary education from VCSU and a M.S in educational administration from Tri-College University in Fargo. David’s many accolades include the 2016-17 North Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals Service to Children Award, the North Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals National Distinguished Principal in 2008, and a Certificate of Merit award from the VCSU Alumni Association that same year. He was instrumental in Wyndmere Elementary’s recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013. David and his wife, Tami, have two sons: Devin, who is in a Ph.D. program in psychology at Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich., and Christian, who will complete a radiology tech internship in August. David enjoys playing golf and hopes to get back into tennis.Like David, Kenneth Jimenez has an established relationship with VCSU having served as adjunct instructor of high and low brass at VCSU in 2016. We are excited to welcome him back as an assistant professor of music. His academic credentials include a Doctor of Musical Arts, trumpet performance, North Dakota State University; Master of Music, trumpet performance, University of Minnesota Duluth; and a Bachelor of Music, trumpet performance, University of Wyoming. When he is not teaching, Kenneth plays with the Fargo-Moorhead Kicks Jazz Band, as well as with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. His hobbies include arranging music, disc golf, drawing and painting, building and repairing musical instruments, and creating 2D and 3D artwork for video games.Kaley Mari joins VCSU as an assistant professor for the school of education and graduate studies. She holds a master’s degree in reading from Moorhead State University and a B.S. in elementary education from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. Kaley previously taught second grade at Centennial Elementary and Bennett Elementary in Fargo, served as interim director of Teacher Center in Fargo, and has been nominated for Fargo Public Schools Teacher of Year award twice!We are so excited to welcome our newest faculty members, and I am confident they will nurture and mentor our students into purposeful futures. I look forward to introducing our new staff members in my next column. Celebrating the talents and promise of the newest members of Viking nation is another reason why it is a great day to be a Viking!