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ST. PAUL, Minnesota., May 7, 2023 – Michael Houston, a mathematics teacher at Harding High School in Saint Paul Public Schools, is the 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Houston is the 59th recipient of the prestigious award, and the fifth from the St. Paul district, to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Houston is a two-time finalist for the award, also having been named a finalist in 2017. An independent selection committee representing Minnesota leaders in education, business and government chooses the Teacher of the Year from individuals who are nominated and who then choose to become a candidate.
Raised in a single-parent household by his mother with help from his grandparents, Houston was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, St. Paul, and a master’s degree from Hamline University. In addition to teaching at Harding, Houston also works as adjunct professor at Concordia, teaching math classes to prospective elementary teachers.
Houston’s 19-year career at Harding includes 18 years as a football coach – 10 of which he was head coach. At Harding, Houston is the mathematics department chair, a learning team facilitator and union steward.
“Michael is passionate about his students and works tirelessly to engage them in the study of mathematics,” wrote Kimberley Nichols, a Gordon Parks High School math teacher who previously worked with Houston at Harding and served with him on the SPPS district mathematics team. “His ability to engage all students, particularly students of color, is exceptional; partly due to his lived experiences as a teacher of color and to his determination to help all students achieve success. He meets students where they are, and inspires them to learn deeply. His passion and dedication to equity and culturally responsive instruction has made a tremendous difference in the lives of the students he works with every single day.”
Houston says his teaching philosophy “has always been centered upon creating classroom community. In the wake of the pandemic and the ongoing trauma our Harding students have endured, my goal every day is to make sure they have fun in their learning and know they are loved.”
Education Minnesota, the 86,000-member statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, ECFE and ABE teachers from public or private schools. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: Aviben, Education Minnesota ESI, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors, Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, Tradition Mortgage and Expedition Credit Union.