A selection panel of 25 community leaders chose the semifinalists from an initial field of 75 candidates from across the state.
Natalia, a native of Guatemala, has been a teacher at Rochester Public Schools (RPS) for 7 years after moving to Rochester with her family 10 years ago. She teaches multilingual students and ethnic studies at Century High School (CHS). Because she believes that equity is a central part of student's success, she participates in several networks dedicated to this work: RPS Employees of Color Resource Group and Rochester Education Association, CHS equity team and RPS Equity Teacher Leader, Education Minnesota League of Latinx Educators (LLE) and Racial Equity Advocates (REA), Teachers of Heritage Speakers, MNTesol, Education for Liberation Ethnic Studies Learning Cohort, and NEA Leaders of Color Pathway Program. These organizations have helped her to improve her students' experiences in her classroom and to serve the families she works with.
The panel will review the semifinalists’ portfolios again, along with semifinalist video submissions, in late March and will select up to 10 finalists from among the group. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year will announce her successor at the Minnesota Teacher of the Year ceremony later this year.