Julie Kirchner - wayzata schools teacher

Julie Kirchner

PLYMOUTH — One Lake Minnetonka-area teacher has been named a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Wayzata Public Schools teacher Julie Kirchner, who teaches library media and information skills at Meadow Ridge Elementary, was named one of 40 semifinalist, according to a Feb. 25 news release.

Kirchner was among eight Lake Minnetonka-area teachers to be named in the initial field of 168 candidates. A selection panel of 23 community leaders chose the 40 semifinalists from the initial field, the release says.

The panel will review the semifinalists’ portfolios and video submissions in late March to select “about 10 finalists,” the release says.

Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet on May 5 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Teachers in the Lake Minnetonka area have a history of winning Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Past winners from the area include:

  • Corey Bulman, Westonka Public Schools, in 2017
  • Michael Smart, Intermediate District 287, in 2007
  • Barb Stoflet, Hopkins Public Schools, 2001-02 (the timeline for the program changed in 2001)
  • Rita Wigfield, Hopkins Public Schools, 1992

The Minnesota Teacher of the Year honor is the “oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education,” Education Minnesota’s website says. The winner of the honor will represent the profession and serve as an advocate for education and spokesperson for teachers by making presentations, meeting with policymakers and attending meetings.

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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