Local teachers on candidate list for Minnesota Teacher of the year

James Autio

Lori Gustafson

Two area teachers are on the list of nominees for the 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.

Lori Gustafson teaches third grade at Salem Hills Elementary School in Inver Grove Heights. She has worked in the Inver Grove Heights School District for over 25 years, and has taught second, third and fourth grades. She has also coordinated the district’s Title 1 program and taught in the Atheneum program.

James Autio is a second-grade teacher at Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School. He graduated from Hamline University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English. He has been teaching at Pilot Knob, which is in the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan School District, since 2007. 

This year’s program will name the 53rd recipient of the Minnesota Teacher of the Year honor. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade and adult basic education teachers from public and private schools.

The 2017 winner will be announced Sunday, May 7, at the Radisson Blu Mall of America hotel in Bloomington. Over the coming weeks, a 25-member panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists.

Education Minnesota, the union representing teachers and school support staff, sponsors the competition. 

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