Excellence in Teaching

Minnetonka Awards for Child-Centered Excellence in Teaching

This award seeks to select the best representatives of the many outstanding teachers in the Minnetonka School District. The award includes recognition at every level and from every school. This award will serve as local recognition and the District’s nominating procedure for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year program.

2022 Winners

  • Maddie Schinke, ECSE Teacher, Minnetonka Community Education
  • Kendria Chowdhury, Third Grade Teacher, Clear Springs Elementary
  • Courtney Loynachan, Fifth Grade Teacher, Deephaven Elementary
  • Abby Klass, First Grade Teacher, Excelsior Elementary
  • Gretchen Ruble, Fourth Teacher, Groveland Elementary
  • Kirsten Pederson, Fifth Grade Teacher, Minnewashta Elementary
  • Angie Elliott, Third Grade Teacher, Scenic Heights
  • Else Goll, Math Teacher, MME
  • James Malewig, Social Studies Teacher, MMW
  • Beth Gibbs, Language Arts Teacher, MHS
  • Juan Pablo Salcedo, Social Studies Teacher, MHS
  • Faith Kasper, Teacher, S.A.I.L.

Award criteria

  • Demonstrates exemplary commitment, enthusiasm, student-focus, effectiveness, and professionalism.
  • Displays personal and professional integrity.
  • Advocates for the best interest of students; addresses emotional and developmental needs of students.
  • Employs a wide range of educational and scientific research in teaching, including effective practices in differentiation—pulling the best out of each student.
  • Exhibits a genuine love of children and a professional commitment to children’s learning.
  • Creates a positive, supportive, respectful and disciplined atmosphere for personal and academic achievement to flourish.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to professional growth, school improvement, and community involvement.
  • All licensed teachers are eligible for nomination.

Nomination process

  • Any Minnetonka colleague, administrator, student, parent, community member, or alumnus may make the nomination. Self-nominations are not accepted.
  • The nomination shall include:
    • Nominator’s name and phone number
    • Nominee’s name, job title, and school or department
    • Answers to the following questions
      • Briefly describe this nominee’s strengths in relation to the criteria for this award.
      • Briefly describe how this nominee displays a genuine love of children and commitment to their learning.
      • Briefly describe how this nominee demonstrates best practices in teaching.
      • Briefly describe this nominee’s involvement in our schools and community, beyond regular duties.
  • Submit one or more letters of support which share personal observations of how the nominee demonstrates a commitment to child-centered excellence. It is suggested that letters be from both an employee and non-employee of the District.
  • One finalist from each school (two from MHS) and DEC are selected by a recognition or Tonka Pride committee at each site and shall be notified in late April.
  • The District Recognition Committee selects two teachers from among the finalists to represent Minnetonka in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program. District support will be provided to complete the two state nominations.

Nominations for the 2022 Celebration of Excellence are closed.


The Awards

Past Recipients