Minnesota Teacher of the Year

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 56th 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 2020 are now closed.

Jessica Davis, a math teacher at South St. Paul Secondary School, was named 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. 

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.

Nominations for the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year have closed.

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 MN 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

April 7, 2020: 10 selected as Teacher of the Year finalists
Feb. 25, 2020: Teacher of the Year candidate field narrowed to 36 semifinalists
Jan. 24, 2020: 134 teachers are candidates for 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
Sept. 30, 2019: Nominations open for 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
May 5, 2019: South St. Paul teacher named 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year