Teacher of immigrant students named MN's Teacher of the Year

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Amy Hewett-Olatunde, who teaches writing and English to immigrant students at LEAP High School in St. Paul, was named Minnesota's 2015 Teacher of the Year on Sunday, Education Minnesota announced in a news release.

LEAP High School enrolls students up to the age of 20 who are new arrivals to the United States and are not native English speakers.

At the awards ceremony Sunday, Hewett-Olatunde said she was humbled and excited to receive the recognition, according to the Associated Press.

Hewett-Olatunde was chosen out of 10 finalists for the award, which is given each year by Education Minnesota, the state's teachers union.

She is the fourth teacher from the St. Paul district to win the award.

The principal at LEAP, Rose Santos, praised Hewett-Olatunde for being able to successfully teach students at all levels of English proficiency.

"Many of her current students are recent arrivals to the United States from a refugee camp in Burma, and Amy does a fantastic job working with them," Santos wrote in a recommendation letter for Hewett-Olatunde.

Hewett-Olatunde has taught at LEAP High School since 1999. She recently received her doctorate in education from Hamline University.

Over the next year, she will be an advocate for education and a spokeswoman for teachers by making public appearances and presentations and meeting with education policymakers, according to Education Minnesota.

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