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Two district educators named semifinalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Deena Bayer and Tom Powers(03/20/2024) Of the seven Anoka-Hennepin educators named candidates for the 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award, two have been selected as semifinalists. 

Deena Bayer, social studies teacher at Blaine High School, and Tom Powers, first grade teacher at Rum River Elementary School, are among 27 semifinalists for the award statewide.

“I'm truly humbled and grateful to be selected as a semifinalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award,” Bayer said. “It means the world to me to be considered, as I know there are countless educators out there doing the hard work. Giving the students an opportunity to explore their strengths, identities, and gifts that they can bring to the world brings me the greatest joy. Becoming a teacher was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and has given me a sense of purpose and value that no other profession can.”

“I'm very excited to be named as a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year,” Powers said. “I truly believe I'm one of many thousands of teachers in our state and our district worthy of this honor. Each of us is the teacher of the year for many current and former students. I just hope that with this recognition I'm able to be an ambassador for all teachers and others who work with students. It has been the influence of many other colleagues who made me who I am.” 

This year’s program will name the 60th Minnesota Teacher of the Year, celebrating the tradition of excellence in teaching in Minnesota. Eligible candidates include pre-kindergarten through grade 12, Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers from public or private schools. 

In mid-March, the semifinalists’ portfolios and video submissions will be reviewed by a panel of community leaders to select about 10 finalists. The 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced May 5 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. 

Read more about the award, and see a statewide list of semifinalists on the Education Minnesota website.