Two local educators finalists for state Teacher of the Year

Two Anoka-Hennepin educators stand among 10 finalists with hopes of becoming the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Emily Anderson, 12th-grade social studies teacher, Blaine High School
Emily Anderson, 12th-grade social studies teacher, Blaine High School

Emily Anderson, a 12th-grade social studies teacher at Blaine High School, and Terri Evans, library media specialist at Champlin Park High School, will have to wait until May 4 to see if they will become the first ever Teacher of the Year from District 11.

Hundreds of teachers across the state were nominated for Teacher of the Year. From the hundreds, 128 candidates pursued the title, submitting extensive portfolios.

In February, a 25-member selection panel of leaders in education, business, government and non-profits selected 33 semifinalists from that pool. March 26, 10 finalists were announced.

“It’s validating and really exciting to show all the amazing things we’re doing here at Blaine,” Anderson said of the honor.

Anderson has taught at BHS for 10 years.

“My big hook is technology,” she said.

Anderson uses technology to differentiate lessons for students in the classroom so that everyone can come to grasp the same curriculum, she said.

“Different kids. Different needs. Different paths. Same finish line. That’s what teaching is all about,” she wrote in her philosophy of education, submitted as part of her portfolio.

She recently began flipping courses – filming lectures to have students watch at home as homework so that class time can be dedicated to practice when she is on hand to help.

This honor isn’t hers alone, she said. “This is not about me. I am an example of all of the cool things we’re doing here,” she said, crediting the whole of the BHS social studies department for her success.

Terri Evans, library media specialist, Champlin Park High School
Terri Evans, library media specialist, Champlin Park High School

Evans is humbled by the recognition.

“I work with any number of really fine teachers and have over my career,” she said.

Evans has been at Champlin Park High School for nine years, but has worked in the district for more than 30.

She’s excited to bring forward her platform, which stresses the importance of libraries, “the potential for books to change lives.”

In speaking with Evans, her passion for reading is evident.

“My favorite part of my job is bringing books to students whose lives are enriched by them and really, in some cases, changed dramatically as a result of their connection to just one book or many books,” she said.

The Teacher of the Year program is in its 50th year and is put on by Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member state educators’ union.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]