Teacher of the Year

Winona Senior High School English teacher Theresa Pearson, left, was named a finalist for Minnesota teacher of the year.

Winona Senior High School teacher Theresa Pearson was named a semifinalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award, Education Minnesota announced Monday in a release.

Pearson is one of 40 semifinalists narrowed down from an initial field of 168 candidates from across the state by a panel of 23 community leaders.

The panel will review the semifinalists’ portfolios again and review semifinalist video submissions in late March and will select about 10 finalists from among the group. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Kelly D. Holstine, will announce her successor at a banquet May 5 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Pearson, an English teacher, has been with the district for 21 years. n addition to her time in the classroom, where she specializes in Advanced Placement and honors courses, she has served as the lead advisor for a group of students traveling to Japan, facilitated her department’s professional learning communities and coordinated the high school’s Link Crew.

She was named the Winona Education Association teacher of the year in October.

“You have to see the student before you see the skill level. You have to find out what they do and don’t like in life, what their interests are,” she said after being surprised with the WEA honor in October. “You have to see them for who they are, and not just see them as a name on a list or a number on a test.”

Pearson said the most rewarding part of teaching is staying in touch with her students who have graduated, who often email her with updates on their lives or pop back into her classroom for a visit. In a profession filled with daily challenges, she said being with her students is always the easiest part.

Education Minnesota, the statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or private schools. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: Education Minnesota ESI, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors, Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, McDonald’s Restaurants of Minnesota, SMART Technologies and United Educators Credit Union.

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