Natalia Benjamin, a Century High School teacher, is one of nine public school teachers in the state to reach the finalist stage for Teacher of the Year.

The nine finalists were announced Tuesday by Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers union that organizes the program.

Benjamin teaches English language and ethnic studies to students in grades nine through 12. Benjamin has survived three rounds of winnowing to get to the finalist stage. It started as a list of 75 candidates, then was narrowed down to 25 semifinalists and finally to the nine finalists.

Other Teacher of the Year finalists include: Layne Bell, Hopkins High School; Kim Marty-Goblirsch, Medford High School;; Todd Hunter, Anoka High School; Eugenia Popa, Harding High School, St. Paul; France Roberts, Meadow Ridge Elementary School, Wayzata; Sandra Stephens, Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion program at South Washington County Schools; Jessica Stewart, Osseo Senior High Schoo; and Lauren Wheeler, Thomas Edison High School, Minneapolis.

The selection panel is tentatively set to meet in June to conduct individual interviews with each of the finalists and to cast votes for the 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

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The 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Qorsho Hassan, will announce this year's honoree at a banquet to be held later this year.