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Friedell teacher is semifinalist for state honor

Carrie Kouba, a music teacher at Friedell Middle School in Rochester, has been named one of 30 semifinalists in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year honor.

Other area teachers to reach the semifinalist stage are Mark Nechanicky, an Albert Lea Elementary School teacher, and Katy Smith, a Winona early childhood instructor.

The field of candidates was narrowed by 23 community leaders. 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, Ryan Vernosh of St. Paul, will announce his successor at a banquet at the Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park on May 1.

Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member statewide educators' union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program.

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