Qorsho Hassan, a Burnsville fourth grade teacher, has been named Minnesota’s teacher of the year.
Hassan will teach at Echo Park Elementary in Burnsville this year, part of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district. Education Minnesota announced Hassan as its 2020 teacher of the year Thursday, making her the 56th recipient of the award. Hassan is also the second teacher from her district to be recognized as teacher of the year.
In her application essay, Hassan said her identity as a Somali-American educator has helped her understand the experiences of marginalized students.
“I build strong relationships in order to know every single student as an individual. I challenge systems of oppression such as poverty and racism by demanding more resources for my students and their families,” Hassan wrote. “I believe that if students are in a learning space where they feel safe, seen and heard, they will succeed.”
This coming year will be Hassan’s first in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district. Previously, Hassan taught at Gideon Pond Elementary School and in Ohio. She also spent a year teaching in Malaysia as a Fulbright scholar.
Nicole Jenne, parent of one of Hassan’s former students, wrote in support of Hassan’s nomination for the award.
“While we see so much focus in schools on how a teacher’s classroom is performing academically, we rarely see or highlight how a classroom is performing emotionally and socially,” Jenne wrote. “[Hassan’s] students knew they were cared for, they knew that this was their place, for some it may have been the only place they felt as if they belonged.”
Education Minnesota, a statewide educator’s union, is made up of 86,000 members. Candidates can include educators from pre-K up to 12th grade.
According to KSTP, 10 finalists for the award were selected in April. The banquet honoring teacher of the year, originally scheduled for May, was postponed due to COVID-19.