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Two District 191 teachers among 11 finalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Two District 191 teachers among 11 finalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Two Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 teachers are among the 11 finalists for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Gideon Pond Elementary music teacher Becca Buck and Burnsville High School language arts teacher Marie Hansen advanced from a group of 27 semifinalists after being announced among the 159 candidates by Education Minnesota on Jan. 26.

This is the 60th year of the program, which celebrates the tradition of excellence in teaching in Minnesota. Eligible candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or private schools. 

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive this nomination for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year! It is truly surreal to be included on this list with so many incredible educators across the state doing so many amazing things in their classrooms with their deserving students,” Buck said. “Nothing can be done without community, so I want to thank my community for recognizing me and being with me on this journey. I feel like so many educators I know and work with also deserve to be recognized, so I want to say I see you and send a ‘y’all are amazing’ to all educators doing the wonderful work in their classrooms!”

Buck has been with the district for 12 years. Hansen has taught in District 191 for 16 years. 

“I was nominated by a former student from ten years ago who was in our very first Inver Hills English course, so I was so grateful to hear that she remembered me positively,” Hansen said. “This is a great honor. I love our kids and love teaching at Burnsville, so I am proud to represent our district!”

The selection panel meets again May 4 to conduct individual interviews with each of the 11 finalists and to cast votes for the 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet will be held May 5 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.  


2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalists (listed alphabetically)

  • Rachel Betterley, North Woods School, St. Louis County Schools, visual arts, 8-12. 

  • Rebecca Buck, Gideon Pond Elementary, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District, music, K-5.     

  • Tracy Byrd, Washburn High School, Minneapolis Public Schools, English language arts, 9. 

  • Susanne Collins, Edgerton Elementary School, Roseville Area Schools, 6. 

  • Sarah Dallum, Valley View Elementary School, Bloomington Public Schools, 5. 

  • Marie Hansen, Burnsville High School, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District, AVID/English, 10-11. 

  • Laura Jensen, Hopkins North Middle School, Hopkins Public Schools, language & literature, 7. 

  • Jason Jirsa, Washburn High School, Minneapolis Public Schools, social studies, 9-12. 

  • Michelle Morse-Wendt, Turtle Lake Elementary School, Mounds View Public Schools, 4. 

  • Jamie Williams, Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School, Saint Paul Public Schools, U.S. history, 7. 

  • Ellen Wu, Alice Smith Elementary, Hopkins Public Schools, kindergarten.