A salute to state’s top teacher for 2012

With all the criticism of teacher qualifications that went on at the Minnesota Legislature, celebrating the selection of an Edina High School English teacher as the Teacher of the Year, is a welcome relief.

Congratulations to Jackie Roehl, whose family lives in St. Louis Park, on being named Teacher of the Year by Education Minnesota.

There are, of course, many teachers deserving of the honor, among the 300 who were nominated.

Of the 10 finalists, eight teach in schools in the Twin Cities suburban and exurban communities. This is a tribute to communities who know the number one obligation is to give every student an opportunity for a quality education.

Experts agree that the mark of a good school system above all is the quality of the teachers, like Roehl, who change their teaching methods to respond to the diversity of cultural backgrounds in their classrooms.

Roehl is doing all she can in her classroom to reduce the racial achievement gap by among other things, grouping students so they can help one another learn.

Moreover, she instructs teachers to respond to the diversity and culture of their students, enabling them to be better teachers.

Lately teachers are saying their morale is down. Celebrating the achievements of teachers and recognizing the value of the teaching profession is long overdue.

It would be fitting if Edina service clubs would go out of their way to celebrate having a Teacher of the Year, comparable to how they might recognize the athletic coach of the year.

At the same time, communities with finalists should recognize the quality of their teachers in some special way. Perhaps Rotary clubs and Chambers of Commerce could take the lead this fall as a new school year starts.

This newspaper company salutes the following finalists from our region:

Charles Anderson, O.H. Anderson Elementary School, Mahtomedi.

Ryan Canton, St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West.

Bruce Danielson, Cambridge-Isanti High School.

Robyn Dettling Madson, Forest Lake High School.

Neil Eerdmans, Oxbow Creek Elementary School, Champlin, Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Greg Goddard, St. Louis Park High School.

Joe Meyer, Eagle Ridge Junior High School, Savage, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District. — Don Heinzman