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3 Albert Lea teachers are under consideration for state honor

Published 11:10am Friday, February 8, 2013

Three Albert Lea teachers are candidates for the statewide 2013 Teacher of the Year honor.

It was announced Thursday that three Albert Lea teachers were among the 135 possible candidates. They were Kurt Barickman, a history teacher at Albert Lea High School, Ken Fiscus, a science teacher at ALHS, and Kathie Lein, a special education teacher at Halverson Elementary School.

Over the next few weeks a panel will choose a group of semifinalist and then finalists for the honor.

All candidates have accepted their nominations and completed the required materials to be eligible for the honor. The number of candidates is the highest for the program since 2005.

“The fact that Albert Lea Area Schools has three candidates for state Teacher of the Year should be no surprise to our community,” said Albert Lea Superintendent Mike Funk. “This recognition is a reflection on the great things our teachers do every day.”

This year’s program will name the 49th Minnesota Teacher of the Year, celebrating the tradition of excellence in teaching in Minnesota. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, from public or private schools. Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member statewide educators’ union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program.

The 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced May 5 at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest in Brooklyn Park.

Last year, two local teachers, Peggy Bennett of Albert Lea, and David Bosma of Alden, were candidates for the 2012 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Bennett became a semifinalist, but the award eventually went to a teacher from Edina. In 2010, fourth-grade teacher Mark Nechanicky was a finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Separately, Albert Lea Area Schools holds its own Teacher of the Year contest, and that award is given out each April.