Perpich News

Regional Arts Teacher-Leaders named Candidates for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

UPDATE: February 28, 2020

Wonderful to see that TWO of the 36 semifinalists for Minnesota Teacher of the Year are members of the Perpich Center’s Regional Arts Teacher-Leader network! Congratulations to John Myszkowski and Nora Tycast! Read more:


When Education Minnesota named their 134 candidates for 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year in late January, we here at Perpich recognized a few of those names. Three members of the Perpich Center’s Regional Arts Teacher-Leader network (RAT-L) have been named candidates for this year’s Teacher of the Year. Congratulations to John Myszkowski, Kathrina O’Connell, and Nora Tycast! Here’s what the nominees had to say about their recognition and the value of the RAT-L network:

John Myszkowski

John Myszkowski, Music, Music Teacher and Director of Secondary Choirs at St. Louis Park Public Schools
“First, it’s been a very humbling experience, and I’m exceedingly grateful for the outpouring of support and affirmation. Second, the community of Regional Arts Teacher-Leaders has been both a challenge to stretch and grow as a professional educator. It’s an opportunity to expand my leadership capabilities and expectations as a veteran teacher in an area that I feel is paramount in effecting positive progress in student experiences and achievement — the intersection of cultural, racial, generational, and gender identity and teachers’ beliefs in students’ potential for success.”



Kathrina O’Connell

Kathrina O’Connell, Visual Arts, Grade 6 Instructor at Lake Park Audubon School District
“It is an honor to receive a nomination for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. It is also a privilege to collaborate with other Perpich Regional Arts Teacher-Leaders. Working together we are promoting learning in and through the arts to positively impact students’ learning at our own schools and in neighboring schools. The arts do not receive the same amount of attention and focus as other content areas, so our work as leaders is important as we provide support for arts-integration and art-based learning for all of our students.”



Nora Tycast

Nora Tycast, Music, Band Teacher at Spring Lake Park Schools
“It is such a privilege to be recognized as a candidate for Teacher of the Year. As a teacher, I don’t often get to purposefully reflect and/or celebrate the joys of teaching, and through this process I have been able to do both. I was nominated by a student in my current high school program who reflected on how she was able to see the strength of herself represented in the music that we choose to perform in the classroom. Specifically over the past 8 years, my colleague and I have made the choice to seek out under-represented composers and make sure that all of our students see themselves and see someone totally different from them in the role of creator and innovator. Within my work as a teacher leader at Perpich, I have been able to codify through the new Arts Standards, why representation matters and why it is so important for all students to see themselves and people alike and different from them as artists.”

Max Clark-Vail, Regional Centers Director, was very pleased to have three RAT-Ls receive this recognition. “I am very excited to see that three of our Regional Arts Teacher-Leaders are candidates for MN Teacher of the Year. This is a much-deserved recognition and honoring of all they do for students as well as for the field of education,” said Clark-Vail.

This year’s program will name the 56th Minnesota Teacher of the Year, celebrating the tradition of excellence in teaching in Minnesota. Eligible candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade, Early Childhood Family Education, and Adult Basic Education teachers, from public or private schools.

The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced Sunday, May 3, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Over the coming weeks, a 25-member panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists.

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 United Educators Credit Union.

Click here to view a list of all 134 candidates for this year’s award.