Shirley J. Tweten
Inducted Saturday, October 3, 2015
Shirley Olson Tweten grew up in Chokio, Minn., until moving to Moorhead during her junior year. She graduated from Moorhead High School in 1955 where she was involved in band, Pin Pan Club and Honor’s Society and served as president of the Library Club. Tweten earned a degree in home economics education and science from Concordia College in 1959.
Tweten began her teaching career in Elbow Lake, Minn., where she spent one year. Then she taught three and a half years in Borup, Minn., and two years at Oak Grove High School, Fargo, N.D. She earned a degree in English as a Second Language at Moorhead State University, now Minnesota State University Moorhead, while tutoring for Moorhead Area Public Schools.
In 1984 Tweten began teaching ESL at Moorhead High School to students of just a few nationalities. She also served as the ESL department chair. When Tweten retired from full-time teaching in 2009 there were more than 25 different languages spoken in the ESL classrooms. From 1981 to 2010, Tweten also taught evening classes for the district through Adult Basic Education, a Moorhead Community Education program. Following retirement, Tweten continued to tutor and substitute teach at Red River Area Learning Center.
Tweten was named Moorhead High School Teacher of the Year for 1992-93. In 2005, the City of Moorhead awarded Tweten a Human Rights Award in Education for her work with non-English speaking students and their families. Tweten also worked with the family pizza business, was a charter member of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Moorhead, served as treasurer of the church’s Altar Guild for 30 years, was active with the Good Shepherd Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and coordinated with Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota the sponsorship of the church’s first refugee family.
Shirley married her high school sweetheart Milton in 1959. They have four adult children, Julie Ahlgren, Kent Tweten, Karen Tweten, and Jill (Bryan) Walker and four grandchildren, Jacob and Callie Ahlgren and Jayce and James Walker. She died on October 12, 2010, at age 73.