Minnesota's new Teacher of the Year used to struggle in school

Corey Bulman, who now works at Mound Westonka High, says a group of his high school teachers showed him that education is a gift that's renewed when it's shared.

For years as a student, school was a struggle for Corey Bulman.

But now he's a teacher and his school days are going much better. So well, in fact, that he's been honored as Minnesota's Teacher of the Year for 2017 by Education Minnesota.

What made the difference? A group of high school teachers who saw potential in him that he didn't even see in himself.

Education Minnesota says in his Teacher of the Year portfolio Bulman described how a group of high school teachers in his hometown of Horicon, Wisconsin, turned things around for him. Bulman, who now teaches language arts at Mound Westonka High School, says those teachers taught him that education is a gift that's renewed when it is shared.

Evidence of the impact Bulman has on his students was shared by Sara Strother. A former student of Bulman's, Strother wrote in her recommendation letter: “Corey was an adult who showed me he believed I was smart and cared about my ideas. He was honest, funny and made me believe in myself."

In accepting the award at Sunday night's banquet, Bulman gave some of the credit back to his students. The Pioneer Press reports Bulman said he's in awe of those students, adding: "“They question. They think, and they see the world as it could be. I learn more from them than I can ever give in return, and I am proud to be their teacher."

The Westonka district is in the western part of the Twin Cities area, just beyond Lake Minnetonka. Bulman is the first person from that school district to be honored as Teacher of the Year by Education Minnesota.

The teacher's union is in its 53rd year of presenting the award. The winner is picked from among 11 finalists by a selection committee including leaders from education, business, and government.

You can see remarks from all 11 of the 2017 Teacher of the Year finalists here.

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