North teacher nominated for Teacher of the Year

Stephanee Goeken

North High School’s Stephanee Goeken, 39, is among 132 nominees for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. 

Goeken is a student support specialist and has been a faculty member at North High since 2005. 

She works with the at-risk students and provides individual and system interventions when they are needed. She also teaches students replacement behaviors and social skills, and works with the school administration on appropriate consequences when students need to be disciplined. 

Goeken’s love for this type of work stems from her previous jobs working with at-risk youths in a day treatment program in Denver, Colorado, and kids on intensive supervision probation in Ramsey County. Through these experiences she learned that ultimately her passion is in finding ways to reach youths before they end up getting into trouble with the law.

“My favorite part about teaching is making connections with students. I enjoy being someone that they feel is authentic and cares enough to have difficult conversations. ... I love seeing the change that is brought about in the student’s behavior and the success the student earns,” Goeken said.

She added that her teaching philosophy is that students need to see that the adult is being genuine in order for positive behavior changes to occur. 

“I believe that behavior change is brought through a system of consistency, fairness and care. I believe that every student has a right to learn and that it is our responsibility to help that student achieve to their fullest potential and to help them navigate whatever barriers ... life may put in their way,” Goeken said.

She has a bachelor’s degree in corrections and a master’s degree and special education licensure for students with emotional and behavior disorders. Both degrees were earned at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

This year’s Minnesota Teacher of the Year program will name the 53rd recipient. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade and adult basic education teachers from public and private schools.

Over the coming weeks, a 25-member panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists. The 2017 winner will be announced Sunday, May 7.

Education Minnesota, the union representing teachers and school support staff, sponsors the competition. 



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