East Side teachers nominated for 2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

A near-record 167 teachers have been nominated for the 2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award, as announced Jan. 18. 


Johnson High School renovations wrapping up with finished touches

Marjorie Otto/Review • A 6,200 square-foot-expansion, along with roofing and plumbing work, began in 2016 at Johnson High School. The expansion, seen on the east side of the school building facing Arcade Street, includes a new entrance, new administrative offices and five new classrooms.

Two years and $15.9 million later, the construction at Johnson High School is just about finished.


Johnson High School alumni donate bench to the school

The Denissons spent about 100 hours constructing the bench and donated about $4,000 worth of materials. The bench can seat some 20 people and a commemorative plaque will be added next spring. • submitted photo

As a way to mark their 50-year class reunion, members of the Johnson High School class of 1966 wanted to create or donate something to the school. 

They decided on a bench, and not just an ordinary wooden bench, but a big stone “J.”


Schools set referendums for November elections

The school boards of both South St. Paul Public Schools and Inver Grove Heights Schools have approved putting two questions each on the upcoming November ballot.

South St. Paul


Several South-West school board seats up for election

There are six school board seats up for election this year in the South-West coverage area. 

Candidate filing for the seats opens on Tuesday, Aug. 1 and closes Tuesday, Aug. 15.


Fourth East Side teacher nominated for Teacher of the Year award

Ong Xiong

Ong Xiong teaches at Phalen Lake magnet

St. Paul Public Schools announced a fourth teacher from the East Side has been nominated for the 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. 


Two East Side student athletes are Athena Award winners

Miranda LaFavor

The Athena Awards Committee asked St. Paul area schools to nominate their top female athlete for the award. The schools obliged, and 43 girls, representing city and suburban, public and private high schools were selected to receive the award.


Teaching is second nature to St. Pascal Baylon teacher

Krista Welle’s fourth grade class, from left to right, Chiashee, Audrey, Natalie, Olivia, Giovanni, Michael, Krista Welle, Matteo, Gabe, Sean, Orlando and Christopher. (Marjorie Otto/Review)

Some teachers don’t choose teaching; teaching chooses them.

St. Pascal Baylon Catholic School teacher Krista Welle knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was growing up.


‘I’m not afraid to be vulnerable’

Koua Yang, teacher and coach at Harding High School, says, “I just want people to know how challenging and how rewarding teaching is.” (Marjorie Otto/Review)

Harding teacher shares his philosophy on how to connect with students 


“I just really love working with kids. They just make me happy,” says Koua Yang, a Harding High School instructor, coach, and one of 11 finalists for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award, an award that celebrates Minnesota’s teachers and their work.

For 16 years, Yang has been a social studies teacher at Harding High School. He currently teaches Asian American studies and human geography, and coaches the boys and girls tennis teams.

“It was instilled in me early on that education was important by my mom. My mom was my greatest teacher,” Yang says.


Students are her ‘heroes’

Juanita Ortiz

Elementary teacher Juanita Ortiz uses her cultural background to help her students

Juanita Ortiz realized she wanted to be a teacher while she was working in the Head Start program.

“I didn’t know until I stumbled into it,” she says.

Ortiz says she began noticing she had more success with the Latino children because she knew their language and culture, and could communicate easily with their parents.


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