Albert Lea educator a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Published 4:11 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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The field of possible candidates for this year’s Minnesota Teacher of the Year honor has been narrowed to 33, and Burke Egner, who works in technology integration for the Albert Lea school district, was among the semifinalists.

Egner previously served as a teacher at Southwest Middle School. He also coaches both the middle and high school robotics teams.

In an email, Egner admitted his first reaction upon hearing the news was excitement.

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“I immediately began to think about what an exciting opportunity this would be, not just for me as an educator, but also for the Albert Lea Area Schools, which has been gracious enough to allow me to work with the greatest students in the state of Minnesota,” he wrote.

He also admitted to being humbled and surprised, saying there were many teachers, including some within the Albert Lea district, who deserved the recognition.

This recognition is amazing and I truly am grateful to be able to continue on in this process.  “The best thing to come of this is using this as another example in how living by the motto, “Be The One,” can open doors you never thought possible,” he wrote. “Quite simply, I live every day making sure that I am the best me that can ever be, and in the process try to make everyone around me feel the same way. We should all strive to be a little more unicorn.”

An independent selection panel of 21 community leaders chose the semifinalists from an initial field of 132 candidates from across the state.

The panel will review the semifinalists’ portfolios again and review semifinalist video submissions in mid-March and will select about 10-12 finalists from among the group. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Sarah Lancaster, will announce her successor at the annual Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet, scheduled for May 7 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Education Minnesota, the statewide educators’ union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or private schools. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: Education Minnesota ESI, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors, Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, SMART Technologies and Expedition Credit Union.