Local teacher named finalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 10:53 AM CDT
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Ten teachers from across the state have been named finalists in the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year program. An independent selection panel of 24 leaders in the areas of education, business, government and nonprofits selected the finalists from a group of 36 semifinalists. There were 135 Teacher of the Year candidates for this program year.

Lake Park-Audubon science teacher Katie Watland has been named one of the ten finalists. Watland teaches 7th and 8th-grade science.

Because of safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previously scheduled Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet on May 3 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre has been postponed until further notice.

The selection panel is tentatively scheduled to meet June 13 to conduct individual interviews with each of the 10 finalists and to cast votes for the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists (listed alphabetically along with district, school, subject and grade[s] taught) are:

DeWayne Combs, Saint Paul Public Schools, Murray Middle School, physical education, grades 6-8

Katie Coulson, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District, Thomas Lake Elementary School, elementary, grade 4

Shannon Finnegan, Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins High School – Hopkins Achievement Program alternative program, social studies, grades 10-12

Qorsho Hassan, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District, Gideon Pond Elementary School, elementary, grade 5

Maya Kruger, St. Anthony-New Brighton School District, St. Anthony Middle School, language arts, grade 6

Ryan (Caleb) Larson, Pine City Public Schools, Pine City Junior/Senior High School, English, grades 8 and 9

Omar McMillan, Richfield Public Schools, Richfield STEM School, elementary,

grade 4

Rachel Steil, Stillwater Area Public Schools, Stillwater Area High School, English/journalism, grades 10-12

Maria Villavicencio, Eden Prairie Schools, Eden Lake Elementary School, elementary, grade 1

Katie Watland, Lake Park Audubon School District, Lake Park Audubon High School, science, grades 7 and 8