Hopkins, Wayzata educators named teacher of the year finalists

Top row (left to right): Layne Bell, Natalia Benjamin and Kim Marty-Goblirsch; middle row (left to right): Todd Hunter, Eugenia Popa and France Roberts; bottom row (left to right): Sandra Stephens, Jessica Stewart and Lauren Wheeler.

Nine teachers, including Layne Bell from Hopkins and France Roberts from Wayzata, have been named finalists in the 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year program.

An panel of 24 leaders in 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. Education Minnesota, the statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the program.

The 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.

Because of safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previously scheduled May 2 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 educationminnesota.org/news/awards/teacher-of-the-year.aspx.

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

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