Harding High School has multiple Teacher of the Year candidates

In its 55th year, the 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year program has the third highest number of candidates in its history. 

Among the 168 candidates are six East Side teachers — half of all the St. Paul nominees — the majority coming from Harding High School.

East Side candidates include Markie Crosby, Bernetta Green, Molly Keenan, Ben Lathrop, Shannon Pettipiece and Eugenia Popa.

Crosby is a Spanish language teacher at Harding High School. She has a degree in Hispanic studies from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. 

A fifth grade teacher at Eastern Heights Elementary, Green lives in St. Paul and is a graduate from St. Paul Public Schools herself. She has been teaching since 1998.

Keenan is a social studies teacher at Harding High School, teaching 12th-grade International Baccalaureate 20th century history, and 10th-grade human geography. She was also a nominee last year. 

Lathrop has been teaching at Harding since 2008, when he and his family moved to the neighborhood. He teaches English and journalism and advises the student newspaper, The Beacon.

Pettipiece is a mathematics teacher of 10 years at Harding. She grew up in St. Paul and has been the co-coach for the varsity softball team, as well as math team coach.

Not only has Popa been an ESL teacher at Harding High School for four years, she also taught in her native country of Romania and in the U.K. She has been an educator for 36 years, the last 23 as a teacher on the East Side.

Candidates from across the state include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and Adult Basic Education teachers from public and private schools. 

Semifinalists and then finalists will be chosen by a 25-member panel of community leaders over the next few weeks. 

The 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced on Sunday, May 5, at the St. Paul RiverCentre.


—Marjorie Otto

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