MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Rochester teacher has become the first Latinx educator to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year, according to Education Minnesota.

Natalia Benjamin is a high school English learner and ethnic studies teacher at Century High School.

(credit: CBS)

“Many of my students are navigating new cultures and places,” Benjamin wrote in an essay read by the panel who selects the winning teacher. “I hope that I can be a small part of their journey in succeeding as they follow their dreams.”

Benjamin has been in her current position since 2015, and was a substitute teacher and paraprofessional at Rochester Public Schools for two years before that.

“Natalia sets her students up for success by fostering a safe, positive and welcoming learning environment for every child,” Century’s Assistant Principal Molly Murphy wrote in support of Benjamin’s nomination. “Natalia creates an open, supportive environment with mutual respect among the students.”