The field of possible candidates for this year’s Minnesota Teacher of the Year honor has been narrowed to 39 semifinalists, and one of them is a teacher at Salk Middle School in Elk River.
Ron Hustvedt Jr. is a social studies teacher at SMS for students in sixth through eighth grade.
Hustvedt said the process and the news has been quite humbling.
“Teaching is such a dynamic job and its truly larger than any one person,” he said. “You have to be the ultimate utility player who can fill so many different roles. I do some of those very well and lean on a fantastic support structure with the others.”
A selection panel of 25 community leaders chose the semifinalists from an initial field of 135 candidates from across the state.
Harry Davis, of Elk River, and Michelle Farnum, Elk River were also among the top 135 teachers.
Hustvedt said there are a ton of amazing teachers out there who have not yet been nominated or who have not followed through with the nomination process.
“I originally did not plan on completing the application after being nominated by a parent and her son, but they insisted that I do so and I’m glad I did even though it feels funny having the spotlight turned on me like this.”
The panel will meet again in late March to select about 10 finalists from the group of semifinalists. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Jackie Roehl of Edina, will announce her successor at a banquet at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest in Brooklyn Park May 5.
Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member statewide educators union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers from public or private schools.
The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: The SMARTer Kids Foundation, the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest, the Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, United Educators Credit Union, McDonald’s Restaurants of Minnesota, Teacher Federal Credit Union, Pearson Education and Education Minnesota ESI.
District 728 to testify at the State Capitol
School Board Chair Jane Bunting and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Bezek, are scheduled to testify next week before the Senate Education Policy Committee. The chair and superintendent will lay out their arguments for passage of two District 728 bills, SF 522 and SF 618, Tuesday, March 5 between 8 and 11 a.m. in room 112 of the State Capitol complex.
The first bill, SF 522 sponsored by Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, requests permission to transfer restricted Debt Service Reserve funds to the General Fund without making a levy reduction. These are collected funds previously approved by taxpayers.
The bill, the second of its kind in as many years, requests a one-time request to transfer up to 80 percent (approximately $3.28 million) of these funds to go to the general fund without making a levy reduction.
A second bill, also sponsored by Kiffmeyer, calls for adjusting equity revenue for the Elk River Area School District by what is called the “Metro Equity Region Factor.” Existing state law provides school district offices located in the metro counties of Anoka, Hennepin Carver, Dakota, Ramsey, Scott and Washington to receive additional funding. The District 728 Office is located in Sherburne County; however, more than 3,390 district students reside in Anoka or Hennepin counties. The bill asks that District 728 receive equitable funding for these students. With passage, at current enrollment figures, the Elk River district could receive up to $400,000 more in annual funding from the state.
As of Feb. 21, House companion bills had not been introduced for SF 522 or SF 618, but are expected within the week. Both bills are priorities of the district’s Legislative Platform.
The district’s Legislative Action Team is asking supporters to attend the testimony. For more information, call Director of Community Engagement Charlie Blesener at 763-241-3400, ext. 5501 or e-mail 2013 LAT Chair Jamie Plantenberg-Selbitschka at firstname.lastname@example.org.