St. Paul science teacher named state Teacher of the Year

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This year's Minnesota Teacher of the Year is Megan Olivia Hall, a science teacher at Open World Learning Community school St. Paul. The winner of the $6,000 prize was announced Sunday.

Hall's reaction: “Absolute shock and wonder and gratitude,” the Star Tribune reported.

The Pioneer Press reports Hall was nominated by eighth-grader Siena Leone-Getten, who said, "I've always enjoyed her classes a lot, and I feel like she really works hard to make sure all of the students are included in how they're learning. She really helps lead us in what we want to be learning. We're very aware that we have a part in what we're doing and that we have control."

Open World Principal Valerie Littles-Butler said that if it's lunchtime, you'll find Hall in her classroom catching up students who need extra help, the newspaper reported.

Hall, 34, is a Macalester College graduate who lives in St. Paul and has taught in the city 11 years.

Hall said Sunday that the achievement gap in education is the most pressing issue in her field, MPR reported.

"We're a democracy. We care about being a nation of equals. And we don't have it right now. Not everybody is born with the same advantages," she said.

The award, now in its 49th year, is organized by Education Minnesota, the state's teachers union. Ten teachers were finalists for the honor. Three were from St. Paul.

Open World is a 300-student 6-12th grade school in downtown St. Paul.

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