Lake Park-Audubon science teacher Katie Watland is a finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.

Watland, a physical sciences instructor at Lake Park-Audubon High School, is one of 10 finalists for the state award. To become a candidate, she had to meet the following criteria:

  • 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 she met all criteria, Watland was eligible to be nominated for the award, along with 134 others. A panel of 24 community leaders narrowed it down to 36 semifinalists, and after reviewing their portfolios and video submissions in late March, selected the 10 finalists.

Because of safety precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previously scheduled Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet on May 3 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre has been postponed until further notice.

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Plans are still in the works for the time and location of the announcement of the new Teacher of the Year, though the 2019 honoree, Jessica Davis of South St. Paul Secondary School in South St. Paul, will announce the 2020 recipient of the award.

The selection panel is tentatively scheduled to meet June 13 to conduct individual interviews with each of the 10 finalists and to cast votes for the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. For a look at how the selection process works, go to www.educationminnesota.org.