Nine selected as Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists

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2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists

ST. PAUL, Minnesota. April 27, 2021 – Nine teachers from across the state have been named finalists in the 2021 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 25 semifinalists. There were 75 Teacher of the Year candidates for this program year.

Because of 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 that event will be announced soon.

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 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. For a look at how the selection process works, go to

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

Education Minnesota, the statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade, Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or private schools. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: Education Minnesota ESI, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors, Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, SMART Technologies and United Educators Credit Union.

The 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists, listed alphabetically by name along with district, school, subject and grade(s) taught, are: 

Layne Bell, Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins High School – Hopkins Achievement Program alternative program, language arts, 9th-12th.
Natalia Benjamin, Rochester Public Schools, Century High School, EL and ethnic studies, 9th – 12th.
Kim Marty–Goblirsch, Medford Public Schools, Medford High School, language arts, 9th-12th.
Todd Hunter, Anoka-Hennepin School District, Anoka High School, science, 10th-12th.
Eugenia Popa, Saint Paul Public Schools, Harding Senior High School, ESL, 9th-12th.
France Roberts, Wayzata Public Schools, Meadow Ridge Elementary School, elementary education, 1st.
Sandra Stephens, South Washington County Schools, Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, elementary education, kindergarten.
Jessica Stewart, Osseo Area Schools, Osseo Senior High School, social studies, 9th-12th.
Lauren Wheeler, Minneapolis Public Schools, Thomas Edison High School, fitness for life/health, 9th-12th.

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