Katie Watland, a physical sciences instructor at Lake Park-Audubon High School, is one of 36 semifinalists for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

To become a candidate, Watland had to meet the criteria set by the Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, according to a Minnesota Teacher of the Year news release:

  • Teach in a pre-kindergarten-12th grade school, an Adult Basic Education or ECFE program
  • Work at least 50% of the time directly with students
  • Hold a bachelor's degree and a Minnesota teaching license
  • Intend to teach during the 2020-21 school year

Since Watland met the criteria, she could be nominated for the award. There were 134 other teachers nominated. A panel of 24 community leaders narrowed it down to the 36 semifinalists, the release said.

The panel will review the semifinalist's portfolios and video submissions in late March and narrow the candidates down again, this time to 10 finalists.

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The winner will be announced at a banquet on Sunday, May 3, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul, the release said.