AMY HEWETT-OLATUNDE: Minnesota Teacher of the Year 2015-16

  • Amy Olatunde

     

    For the third time in five years, a Saint Paul Public Schools teacher has been named Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

    Amy Hewett-Olatunde, an English Learners teacher at LEAP High School, was named the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year by Education Minnesota on Sunday, May 3.

    According to Education Minnesota: The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 51st year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education. The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota's thousands of excellent educators.

    Hewett-Olatunde follows in the close foosteps of two previous winners from Saint Paul Public Schools within the past five years: Megan Olivia Hall in 2013, and Ryan Vernosh in 2010. Erik Brandt, an English teacher and IB Program Coordinator at Harding Senior High School, was also a 2015 finalist for Saint Paul Public Schools.

    The Education Minnesota selection panel met on Saturday, May 2 to conduct individual interviews with the 10 finalists and to cast votes for the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. The 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year was announced at a special awards ceremony at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington.

    A selection panel of 23 leaders in the areas of education, business, government and nonprofits selected the finalists from a group of 30 semifinalists. There were 123 Teacher of the Year candidates this year.

    As a nominee, Hewett-Olatunde had said she felt honored to be considered among the semifinalists.

    "I'm very appreciative ... I work in a school that has an entire staff that should be nominated for something like this," Hewett-Olatunde said. "I’m representing many other teachers who are doing great work like this every day."

    Hewett-Olatunde said her students also continue to inspire her work.

    "My students have put me into a position to love what I do,"  Hewett-Olatunde said. "It’s my life’s work to be with these kids and get them set up for their future in the United States."

    Hewett-Olatunde also credited SPPS for its English Language Learner work.

    "Saint Paul has been really progressive with ESL education," she said. "We at LEAP really are doing great things as far as helping students acquire language acquisition."

    The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program is organized and underwritten by Education Minnesota and receives support from Education Minnesota ESI, The Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, McDonald’s Restaurants of Minnesota, Radisson Blu Mall of America, The SMARTer Kids Foundation, TruStone Financial and United ​Educators Credit Union.

     

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