Minnesota's Teacher of the Year 'impacts and changes lives every day'

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In more than 50 years, a charter school teacher had never won the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.

Until Sunday.

Abdul Wright, who teaches language arts to eighth-graders at The Best Academy in Minneapolis, was named Teacher of the Year Sunday.

He's the 52nd person to receive the award, which says it's the longest-running teacher recognition program in the state.

"Respect is at the center of my values and beliefs as an educator," he said in a news release. "I try to teach my students that we have to be a model of excellence for the community we want, not the community we see."

The award is given out by Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers union. Wright was selected by a panel of 23 "community leaders," who narrowed it down from a preliminary list of 115 candidates.

https://twitter.com/MarkJWestpfahl/status/731937539947433984

The Best Academy

In 2008, the school began focusing on the "unique education needs of African-American boys," according to The Best Academy's 2015 annual report.

There are now more than 700 students enrolled at the school (about 58 percent male). Nearly all students are African-American, and 92 percent of them qualify for the freed or reduced lunch program.

https://twitter.com/EducationMN/status/731938644957745152

Wright has taught at The Best Academy since 2012. He got his bachelors degree from St. Paul's Concordia University, and is set to get a master’s degree in education from Hamline University soon.

"[He] embodies what it means to be a transformational teacher," Meghan Roegge wrote in her nomination letter for Wright. “He impacts and changes lives every day that he comes to work.”

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