2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists announced

Education Minnesota announced its nine finalists for the 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award Tuesday.

An independent selection panel of 24 leaders in the areas of education, business, government and nonprofits selected the finalists from a group of 25 semifinalists. There were 75 Teacher of the Year candidates for this year’s program, according to a release.

Due to safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previously scheduled May 2 Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet will take place later this year. More details on the event are to be announced soon.

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According to Education Minnesota, the selection panel is tentatively scheduled to meet in June to conduct individual interviews with each of the nine finalists and to cast votes for the award.

The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Qorsho Hassan, will announce this year’s honoree at the 2021 event.

The finalists are listed as follows:

  • Layne Bell
    • Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins High School — Hopkins Achievement Program alternative program, language arts, ninth-12th grades.
  • Natalia Benjamin
    • Rochester Public Schools, Centruy High School, EL and ethnic studies, ninth-12th grades.
  • Kim Marty-Goblirsch
    • Medford Public Schools, Medford High School, language arts, ninth-12th grades.
  • Todd Hunter
    • Anoka-Hennepin School District, Anoka High School, science, 10th-12th grades.
  • Eugenia Popa
    • St. Paul Public Schools, Harding Senior High School, ESL, ninth-12th grades.
  • France Roberts
    • Wayzata Public Schools, Meadow Ridge Elementary School, elementary education, first grade.
  • Sandra Stephens
    • South Washington County Schools, Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, elementary education, kindergarten.
  • Jessica Stewart
    • Osseo Area Schools, Osseo Senior High School, social studies, ninth-12th grades.
  • Lauren Wheeler
    • Minneapolis Public Schools, Thomas Edison High School, fitness for life/health, ninth-12th grades.