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6 SPPS Semifinalists for MN Teacher of the Year

Six Saint Paul Public Schools educators have been named a semifinalist for the 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year by Education Minnesota. A list of 144 candidates has been trimmed to 44, with a finalist group of 10-12 being selected later this month. The 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced May 7 at Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Michael Houston


Michael Houston
Math Teacher, Harding High School
19th year with SPPS/Harding High School

“Teaching is important to me because I get to help shape, form, and mold the academic minds of the students in my classroom. In my time here at Harding, being able to witness students' growth academically and athletically has been the most amazing.  I have been very fortunate to have built community, a trusting atmosphere, and an enjoyable learning experience within my classroom for many students over my 19 years.”




Molly Keenan

Molly Keenan
Social Studies Teacher, Harding High School
10th year with SPPS/Harding High School. An educator since 2002.

“Teaching is incredibly challenging, and it is also the way I can influence the future for good, bend the world toward justice and love, and have laughter and creativity in my life every day.”






Emily MansonEmily Manson
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher, Multiple SPPS Schools
12th year with SPPS, currently works at Johnson Senior, Farnsworth Aerospace Lower Campus and Phalen Lake Elementary. Has worked at total of 19 SPPS schools

“I'm a communication expert. I am skilled at figuring out what pieces are missing for students and filling in those gaps. Because I work with the same students for many years, I get to know students and their families well. We learn, laugh, and cry together. My job is completely different from other teachers. In one day: I help a small group of kindergartners with hearing aids, 20 minutes later I'm teaching algebra to a few students at high school, an hour later I’m teaching a 4th grader to read, then later in the day I may help a general education teacher make curriculum accessible for our students. Although this job always keeps me on the run, it is so important to me that students with hearing differences have access to a teacher who is specially trained in educating students who are deaf and hard of hearing so that they can reach their maximum potential.”



Carrie NewmanCarrie Newman
History Teacher, Murray Middle School
28th year with SPPS - 16th at Murray Middle School

"I am very passionate about History and trying to teach from multiple perspectives versus what the textbook tells us is important.  I'm also a firm believer in a program called History Day. Although there is a competition that is very exciting, what I love is that every child has a chance to research someone they choose, someone they are passionate about!"





Sorcha NixSorcha Nix
Science Teacher, Open World Learning
8th year with SPPS. Four years at Open World Learning after four years at Murray Middle

“Coming from a family of educators, I am so proud to be a teacher. It's an incredibly rewarding and extremely challenging profession.”






Fatima Eliza RasheedFathimath Eliza Rasheed
Theater Teacher, Global Arts Plus Upper Campus
13th year with SPPS and Global Arts Plus 

“Teaching is important because it's the basis of human connection. We're all standing on the legacies of the stories, knowledge, and wisdom of our elders.”