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Three Stillwater educators nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Three Stillwater Area Public School teachers have been nominated for 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

  • Alicia Farmer - Algebra teacher at Oak-Land Middle School

  • Robyn Hassani - First grade 100% online teacher at Andersen and Lake Elmo elementaries

  • Hannah Reyes - Spanish Immersion teacher at Lake Elmo Elementary

They are among just 75 educators who were chosen across the state. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through grade 12 instructors and Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers from both public and private schools.

Alicia Farmer
Alicia Farmer has been teaching for 16 years and this is her first year at Oak-Land Middle School. She says her favorite part of teaching is seeing a student’s self-confidence grow right before her eyes as they learn to trust themselves when learning math. Farmer says being named a Teacher of the Year candidate is especially meaningful because she was nominated by a parent.

“It means that all the hard work and effort I put into my students every day is appreciated by parents and students,” said Farmer. “I am humbled that someone took the time to acknowledge that I made a difference in their student's life, and it means the world to me!” 

Robyn Hassani
Robyn Hassani has been teaching for 15 years. For the past 3 1/2 years she’s been at Andersen where she helped to establish the Green Room - a safe place for students to go when they are feeling anxious or struggling to manage their behaviors. This year, Hassani was asked to teach first grade online where she has a class combined of Andersen and Lake Elmo students. Her favorite thing about teaching in-person and online is the joy she gets to see on students' faces when they have a newly discovered confidence. She said the Teacher of the Year nomination means even more coming during a challenging school year.

“In a year of so many uncertainties about what online school should look and feel like, I was determined to make it feel as much like ‘real’ school as possible,” said Hassani. “I worked hard to build a sense of community in our class (across schools) and have friendships thrive. I am so thrilled that students are having a positive experience learning and growing online.”

Hannah Reyes
Hannah Reyes is a 12-year veteran teacher in her third year at Lake Elmo’s Dual Language Spanish Immersion program, Amigos Unidos. Her favorite thing about teaching is seeing the progress and growth students make socially, emotionally, and academically. She says the fact that they are learning everything in Spanish makes it that much more special.

This year she has been tasked with teaching a multi-aged classroom of kindergarten and first grade students. Reyes says it’s been challenging, but rewarding. 

“The fact that I have been nominated for Teacher of the Year helps me to know that I am doing something right among the chaos all of us have felt,” Reyes said.

The 75 Teacher of the Year candidates will be narrowed to a group of semifinalists and then finalists. They will be chosen by a panel of leaders in education, business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy. 

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year winner is scheduled to be announced May 2.

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