A St. Paul Public Schools educator is Minnesota's 2013 Teacher of the Year.
Megan Hall teaches high school biology and life sciences at Open World Learning Community in downtown St. Paul, and said Sunday that the achievement gap in education is the biggest issue facing her field.
"We're a democracy. We care about being a nation of equals. And we don't have it right now. Not everybody is born with the same advantages. And I think education is the key to closing the achievement gap, I think that teachers are the agents of democracy and the more we work together in our schools, the closer we're going to get to a true democracy," Hall said. She also wants to help teachers collaborate with their colleagues and foster long-term relationships with students and their families so they'll feel more fulfilled in their jobs.
Hall said that, when she was younger, she wanted to be a doctor, but changed her mind after volunteering at St. Joseph's Home for Children in Minneapolis. She says it's her duty to help her students remove any obstacles to a fair life.
Hall has taught at Open World Learning Community since 2006 and has been teaching in St. Paul since 2002. She has a bachelor's degree from Macalester College and a master's in science education from the College of St. Catherine.
She's the third Teacher of the Year from St. Paul Public Schools.
"When we can tap in to that relationship and leverage it for student achievement anything's possible," she said. "We know the families, we know the kids, we do those two things -- we welcome the parents and work together -- and then we get them all the way to the college level by the time it's time to graduate."
Hall says the most important thing people should know about her is that she's the mother of a 3-year-old who's the center of her world. The second: She values long-term relationships with both students and their families. Hall says parents know kids better than anyone else.
As Teacher of the Year, Hall will have an opportunity to go NASA's space camp, which she calls the dream of every science teacher.
The Teacher of the Year honor has been awarded annually by the teachers' union Education Minnesota for 49 years.