11 Educators Named Minnesota Teacher of the Year Finalists


Eleven educators from across Minnesota were named finalists for the state’s Teacher of the Year award on Monday.

The award is presented annually by Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers’ union. This year’s finalists were selected from a pool of 77 nominees. Teachers with at least five years of experience working in public or private K-12 schools, adult education programs, or family education programs can be nominated for the title.

A panel of 22 education, business, government and nonprofit leaders will interview the finalists and vote for the teacher of the year on April 30. Natalia Benjamin, the 2021 Teacher of the Year and the first Latina to receive the award, will announce the winner at a banquet on May 1.

Four Minnesota teachers have won national teacher of the year awards.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Edward Barlow, grade 6-8 music teacher at Anwatin Middle School in Minneapolis Public Schools.
  • Younna Eiden-Giel, a 11th and 12th grade social studies teacher at Park High School in South Washington County Schools.
  • Jon Fila, Grade 9-12 English teacher at Northern Star Online in Middle District 287.
  • Kendall Gonzalez, kindergarten teacher at Matoska International School in White Bear Lake area schools.
  • Paul Houck, a grade 9-12 English and math teacher at Southwest Metro High School in Southwest Metro Intermediate District 288.
  • Bradley Hubred, grade 5 and 6 science teacher for Moose Lake Community Schools.
  • Erin Karlgaard, a third-grade teacher at Brainerd Public Schools Lowell Elementary School.
  • Sarah Lancaster, grade one teacher at Onamia Elementary School at Onamia Public Schools.
  • Rachel Volkmann, fifth-grade teacher at Gatewood Elementary in Hopkins Public Schools.
  • Andrea Welvaert, a grade 6-8 special education teacher at Cottage Grove Middle School in South Washington County Schools.
  • Eric Zuccola, Grade 9-12 English teacher at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in Robbinsdale Area Public Schools.

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