by Dennis Dalman
Sartell teacher and community volunteer Joe Schulte is now one of 11 finalists for 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year from Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers’ union.
That announcement was made April 6. Previously, Schulte had been one of 44 semi-finalists for the honor, which began as an annual award 59 years ago. Those 44 semi-finalists were selected from 132 teachers who had been nominated.
Raised in Sartell, Schulte teaches technology education, grades 9-12, at Sartell High School. The annual Teacher of the Year winner will be announced at a May 7 banquet at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
The current Teacher of the Year is Sarah Lancaster, a teacher at Onamia Elementary School. She will present the award to the 2023 recipient at the May 7 banquet. A panel of judges will select the winner after interviews with all 11 nominees.
In January, when the 132 candidates were announced as among the best, nine of them, including Schulte, teach at Sartell schools.
The selection of the 11 finalists were chosen by a panel of 21 leaders in the areas of education, business, government and nonprofits.
Besides Schulte, the other finalists and the subjects they teach are:
Fatuma Ali, English, Hopkins High School.
Michael Houston, math, Harding High School, St. Paul.
Molly Megan Keenan, social studies/history, Harding High School, St. Paul.
Bee Lee, visual arts, Emmet D. Williams Elementary, Roseville.
Josh Mann, social studies, Albertville High School.
Giovanna Valeria Margalli, elementary education, Cornelia Elementary, Edina.
Sorcha Nix, science, Open World Learning Community, St. Paul.
John Peter, English as a second language, Pelican Rapids High School.
Fathima Eliza Rasheed, theater, Global Arts Plus, St. Paul.
Allyson Wolff, Spanish immersion, Eisenhower Elementary, Hopkins.
Joe Schulte’s skills and his teaching expertise have had positive effects not just on students but on so many other aspects of life in Sartell year after year. A multiple nominee for Sartell Citizen of the Year, he was honored with that award in 2015.
The emcee at the awards ceremony listed just some of Schulte’s volunteer projects: the Sartell Farmers’ Market, Pinecone Central Park, the Verso Mill Project, the Sartell Garden Club, the Sartell Fire Department, the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church’s summer bazaar, youth ministry programs and Casting for a Cure charity event, organizing high-school pep fests and coaching youth baseball and basketball – to name just some of his activities.
He also works with technology-arts students in SabreCON (Sabre Construction). It is a partnership with Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity in which Schulte’s students build homes for families in need of good, affordable housing. Schulte has also developed an internship program for his students at the DeZurik manufacturing plant.
Schulte is a member of the Knights of Columbus, served as its leader and worked on Knights’ projects for the entire St. Cloud Catholic Diocese to help secure education for families in need.