10 teachers named finalists for 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Top row (left to right): DeWayne Combs, Katie Coulson, Shannon Finnegan; middle row (left to right): Rachel Steil, Maya Kruger, Ryan (Caleb) Larson, Omar McMillan; bottom row (left to right): Qorsho Hassan, Maria Villavicencio, Katie Watland. (Education Minnesota / FOX 9)

Ten teachers from across the state have been named finalists for 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. 

Education Minnesota, the 86,000-member statewide educators union, announced the finalists Tuesday. The announcment comes as all Minnesota schools are closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and teachers are adjusting to distancing learning. 

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists were selected from a group of 36 semifinalists by an independent selection panel of 24 leaders from the education, business, government and nonprofit sectors. 

The 135 candidates for this year’s Minnesota Teacher of the Year program included pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, ECFE and ABE teachers from public or private schools. 
The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be named sometime this summer after the selection panel conducts interviews with the finalists either in-person or virtually. 

  • DeWayne Combs, Saint Paul Public Schools, Murray Middle School, physical education, grades 6-8 
  • Katie Coulson, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District, Thomas Lake Elementary School, elementary, grade 4  
  • Shannon Finnegan, Hopkins Public Schools, Hopkins High School – Hopkins Achievement Program alternative program, social studies, grades 10-12 
  • Qorsho Hassan, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District, Gideon Pond Elementary School, elementary, grade 5 
  • Maya Kruger, St. Anthony-New Brighton School District, St. Anthony Middle School, language arts, grade 6 
  • Ryan (Caleb) Larson, Pine City Public Schools, Pine City Junior/Senior High School, English, grades 8 and 9 
  • Omar McMillan, Richfield Public Schools, Richfield STEM School, elementary,  
  • grade 4 
  • Rachel Steil, Stillwater Area Public Schools, Stillwater Area High School, English/journalism, grades 10-12 
  • Maria Villavicencio, Eden Prairie Schools, Eden Lake Elementary School, elementary, grade 1 
  • Katie  Watland, Lake Park Audubon School District, Lake Park Audubon High School, science, grades 7 and 8