Minnesota Teacher of the Year

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 58th year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education. The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota's thousands of excellent educators.

Natalia Benjamin, a high school English learner and ethnic studies teacher at Century High School in Rochester, was named 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. 

Selection process

A selection panel representing Minnesota leaders in education, business and government chooses the Minnesota Teacher of the Year from individuals who are nominated and who then choose to become a candidate. Panelists review candidate portfolios, review video submissions of semifinalists and interview finalists in person. 

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year represents the profession as an advocate for education and spokesperson for teachers. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year makes presentations, meets with policymakers and attends frequent meetings.

Peers, school personnel, parents, community members and students may nominate teachers. Many nominees come from school district-level Teacher of the Year programs throughout the state.

Eligibility 

Eligible nominees must meet these criteria:

  • Teach in a public or nonpublic Pre-K through 12th-grade school or ECFE or Adult Basic Education program, working at least 50 percent of the time directly with students.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and a Minnesota teaching license.
  • Have completed five years of teaching by the nomination deadline.
  • Intend to teach for the full following school year after being named.

Once nominated, teachers will receive a packet in the mail containing instructions for moving forward in this process. Learn more about how to become a candidate for MN teacher of the year. Note: Nominees only can accept nominations in any two consecutive years.

For more information, call Ashley Behrens at 651-292-4862 or 800-652-9073.

News releases

Aug. 11, 2021: Rochester educator is 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
April 27, 2021: Nine selected as Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists
Feb. 5, 2021: 75 teachers are candidates for Minnesota Teacher of the Year
Oct. 1, 2020: Nominations open for 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year