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Minnesota Teacher of the Year award

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The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 59th year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education.

The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota’s thousands of excellent educators.

Nominations for 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year are now closed.

2022 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Sarah Lancaster

Sarah Lancaster, a first grade teacher at Onamia Elementary School in Onamia, was named the 2022 Minnesota Teacher of the Year at a May 1 recognition banquet.

Selection process

A selection panel representing Minnesota leaders in education, business and government chooses the Minnesota Teacher of the Year from individuals who are nominated and who then choose to become a candidate. Panelists review candidate portfolios, review video submissions of semifinalists and interview finalists in person. 

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year represents the profession as an advocate for education and spokesperson for teachers. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year makes presentations, meets with policymakers and attends frequent meetings.

Peers, school personnel, parents, community members and students may nominate teachers. Many nominees come from school district-level Teacher of the Year programs throughout the state.


Eligible nominees must meet these criteria:

  • Teach in a public or nonpublic Pre-K through 12th-grade school or ECFE or Adult Basic Education program, working at least 50 percent of the time directly with students.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and a Minnesota teaching license.
  • Have completed five years of teaching by the nomination deadline.
  • Intend to teach for the full following school year after being named.

Once nominated, teachers will receive a packet in the mail containing instructions for moving forward in this process. Learn more about how to become a candidate for Minnesota teacher of the year. Note: Nominees only can accept nominations in any two consecutive years.

For more information, call Ashley Behrens at 651-292-4862 or 800-652-9073.

News releases:

Oct. 3, 2022: Nominations open for 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
May 1, 2022: Onamia teacher is 2022 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
April 11, 2022: 11 selected as Teacher of the Year finalists