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St. Cloud State students, alumni among list of 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists

Education Minnesota announced nine finalists for the 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award, with three of those individuals featuring St. Cloud State students and alumni. 

This year's program will name the 57th Minnesota Teacher of the Year, a program that celebrates the tradition of excellence in teaching in the state. Eligible candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade educators, Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers throughout the state.

The list of candidates includes two St. Cloud State alumni and one student:

  • Todd Hunter, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Eugenia Popa '00, St. Paul Public Schools
  • Lauren Wheeler '00, Minneapolis Public Schools

The 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. Details on the announcement of the winner of the award will be announced soon after. 

In March, an independent panel of leaders in the fields of education, business, government, nonprofit and philanthropy announced a field of 25 semifinalists for the annual award, with three St. Cloud State alumni and one student featured on that list. They included: 

  • Christie Dunkley '90, Pine City Public Schools
  • Todd Hunter, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Eugenia Popa '00, St. Paul Public Schools
  • Lauren Wheeler '00, Minneapolis Public Schools

In February, the panel announced a field of 75 candidates for the award, with 11 St. Cloud State alumni and one student featured on that list. They included: 

  • Lauren Wheeler '00, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Paul Heida '19, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Todd Hunter, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Kristen Frank '95, Lake Park Audubon School District
  • Teresa Ketelsen '96, Montevideo Public Schools
  • Jess Wagner '97, Owatonna Public Schools
  • Alice Nevins '96 '01, Pierz Public Schools
  • Ann Hutchison '87, Pillager School District
  • Christie Dunkley '90, Pine City Public Schools
  • Katherine Green '09, St. Cloud Area School District
  • Eugenia Popa '00, St. Paul Public Schools
  • Aaron Thorpe '09, Westonka Public Schools