Perpich News

18 Arts Educators are Among the Candidates for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

February 6, 2024

Perpich Center for Arts Education is excited to celebrate the 18 dance, music, and visual arts educators who are among the candidates for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year! We recognize and honor their work as representative of Minnesota’s thousands of excellent arts educators in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts. Bravo!

  • Rachel Betterley, visual arts teacher – St. Louis County School District
  • Mary Bissen, music teacher – Albert Lea School District
  • Rebecca Buck, music teacher – Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District
  • Jerald Ferdig, music teacher – Rockford School District
  • Sarah Fincham, music teacher – Edina School District
  • Mary Gagnon, music teacher – Osseo School District
  • Nicholas Gaudette, music teacher – Edina School District
  • Lars Johnson, visual arts teacher – Austin School District
  • Christie Nugent, visual arts teacher – Minnetonka School District
  • Joe Osowski, music teacher – St. Michael Albertville School District
  • Daniel Prody, visual arts teacher – Osseo School District
  • Cindy Roos, music teacher – Long Prairie-Grey Eagle School District
  • Amy Spinello, visual arts teacher – Eastern Carver County School District
  • Kelly Sully-Yackel, visual arts teacher – Bloomington School District
  • Victoria Techau, visual arts teacher – Farmington School District
  • Matthew Wanken, music teacher – Lakeville School District
  • Katie Widen, music teacher – Edina School District
  • Gretchen Wurzer-Palm, dance teacher – Robbinsdale School District

“I am very happy to see that 18 of the candidates for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year are Arts educators!” said Dr. Wendy Barden, Director of Professional Development and Resources. “To me, their nominations recognize the significant contributions and connections Arts educators—and the Arts—make in the lives of thousands of young people every year.”

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 60th year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education. Eligible candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade, Early Childhood Family Education, and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or non-public schools.

The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota’s thousands of excellent educators. An independent panel of leaders in the fields of education, business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy will read candidates’ portfolios over the next few weeks and narrow the list to a group of semifinalists. In March, the panel will convene again and review additional materials from the semifinalists to choose a group of finalists. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet is set for May 5 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Organized and underwritten by Education Minnesota, the Minnesota Teacher of the Year program receives support from Education Minnesota ESI, Educators Lifetime Solutions, EFS Advisors, Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, SMART Technologies, and Expedition Credit Union.