Fritz still in running for state Teacher of the Year honor

Published 6:34 am Thursday, February 18, 2010

Austin Public Schools science teacher Tom Fritz has advanced to the semi-finals in the Minnesota Teacher of the Year contest.

A selection panel of 25 community leaders chose Fritz as one of 32 teachers — from a candidate pool of 107 — to advance.

Fritz was named Austin Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year in November.

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The teacher of eighth grade earth science and integrated physics technology at Ellis Middle School also co-coaches Ellis’ Science Olympiad team.

“I really enjoy it. I have always been interested in working with children. I enjoy working with students,” Fritz said when named Austin’s teacher of the year.

Prior to becoming a teacher about seven years ago, Fritz worked in youth ministries.

“Tom is not only extremely competent in his content area, he also has an incredible way about working with kids,” Ellis principal Katie Berglund said in November.

The panel will meet again in late March to select about 10 finalists from the group of semifinalists. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Amber Damm of Minneapolis, will announce her successor at a banquet at The Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park, Minn. on May 2.

Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member statewide educators’ union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers from public or private schools.