Nominations are under way for Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year for 2016.

It’s impossible to pick the best teacher in Minnesota, so the goal is to find someone who best represents all of the state’s educators.

Staffers at the offices of Education Minnesota were ready when the online nomination process officially began for the 52nd edition of the award.

“It went live at 8 a.m. this morning,” Teacher of the Year coordinator Doug Dooer said. “We’ve been getting a steady stream already.”

Dooer said getting a bunch of nominations right away happens every year.

“We usually get a good number. Sometimes people are waiting for October 1 so they can get the nomination process going,” he said.

Nominations can come from anyone, even self-nominations are accepted.  As many as 300 nominations have been made in past years, and about a hundred move forward by submitting essays summing up their careers.

“Every teacher that we talk to, by and large, say this is a great reflective process,” Dooer said. “They get to, kind of, articulate why they do what they do. Even though there is some work involved, teachers say what a great process it is for them.”

A 25-member panel pares down the nominations to semifinalist and finalists before the 2016 Teacher of the Year is named on May 15th in Bloomington.

Amy Hewett-Olatunde of LEAP High School in Saint Paul was named 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Listen to the full interview with Dooer below. 

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