Congratulations Southern Minnesota. Your students are well-educated! Education Minnesota has released the names of the 11 finalists for 2017 Minnesota teacher of the year, and two of them are from Southern Minnesota: Sarah Swan McDonald, a Northfield High School social studies teacher and Scott Noet, an Owatonna Junior High social studies teacher.

The selection panel will interview the finalists on May 6, then vote for their choice, according to a press release. The winner will be announced at a banquet on May 7. The panel is comprised of 23 leaders in education, business, government and nonprofits. The finalists were chosen from 37 semifinalists, and this year's program began with 132 candidates.

The other nine candidates for 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year are:

  • Alison Alowonle, Excelsior Elementary, Minnetonka, grades 4-5
  • Corey Bulman, Mound Westonka High School, English, grades 9, 11-2
  • Greta Callahan, Bethune Community School, Minneapolis, kindergarten
  • Adrian Davis, Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis, music, grades 9-12
  • Michael Houston, Harding High School, St. Paul, math, grades 9-12
  • Charity Przepiora, Roseville Area High School, language arts, grades 10-12
  • Teresa Stadem, Richfield College Experience Program, English, grades 9-12
  • Ong Xiong, Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet, St. Paul, kindergarten
  • Mary Zilge, Cherry View Elementary, Lakeville, vocal music, kindergarten through grade 5

We've got our own great teachers right here in the Rochester area and we pick one each month as the winner of our Cool Classroom award! Check out the recent winners HERE!