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Kristine Friesen named a candidate for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

Last week, Northside third grade teacher Kristine Friesen was named one of the 75 candidates for the 57th annual Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.

"I'm grateful and honored to be nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year this year," said Friesen. "In my opinion, there are many teachers who are deserving of this recognition as we have all stepped out of our comfort zone, persevered, and found new and innovative ways to reach our learners through this pandemic. I teach alongside some of the best, and they positively influence my teaching practice on a daily basis."

For this school year, Friesen opted to be a full-time distance learning teacher. 

"Although it has been difficult not having students physically in my class, I feel as though I have cultivated a classroom community online where students are receiving an equitable education as if they were in person with me.  It's a great honor to be recognized in such unprecedented times."

Northside Elementary Principal Liam Dawson shared high praise for Friesen.

"Distance learning has not been easy for many, but Kris continually demonstrates a strong ability to engage learners in all content areas. Her high expectations of all students in the classroom (virtual this year) have allowed for many academic gains of the students she serves this year.  We hear across the state that students in distance learning are not making progress, but Mrs. Friesen's class could serve as a marker that bucks that trend."

In the coming weeks, a panel of individuals in education, business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy will narrow the list down to the semi-finalists. Next month, the panel will further whittle down the group to a selection of finalists.

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet is scheduled for May 2, but may be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.