Note: the following story has been updated to include Cooper High School English teacher Michelle Kope, who was mistakenly omitted from Education Minnesota’s original announcement.
Two Robbinsdale Area Schools (Rdale) teachers have been named candidates for Minnesota’s 2023 Teacher of the Year award.
Cooper High School English teacher Michelle Kope and Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School (RSI) teacher Tatiana O'Donnell are joined by 130 other teachers statewide as candidates for the honor, which is organized by Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member statewide educators union.
This isn’t the first time Rdale teachers have been up for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. Last year, Cooper High School teacher Eric Zuccola was a candidate and ultimately one of 11 finalists for the honor, and in 2021, Armstrong High School teacher Kathryn Kneeland was a contender.
This year’s program will name the 59th Minnesota Teacher of the Year, celebrating the tradition of excellence in teaching in Minnesota. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or private schools.
In March, a panel will whittle the 132 total candidates down to a much smaller group of semifinalists, and then finalists. A banquet to announce the 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year is scheduled for May 7 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.