ST. PAUL, Minn. - It's usually teachers who tell students they are proud, but on Monday in Megan Hall's seventh grade science class at Open World Learning Community it was her students who showed how proud they were of her.
Education Minnesota, the state's largest teacher union, named Hall Teacher of the Year on Sunday. That came as no surprise to Joshua Lor, a former student.
"I used to be very independent, like I wouldn't open up to anybody, but with Megan anything is possible," he said.
"I'm just so proud and I just hope that she wins more because she should. She deserves it," seventh grader Sean Smith said.
Hall believes all her kids can be high achievers, even when the test scores don't agree.
"Some years, we'd have like 100 percent of kids pass state tests and at that same time we'd have you know, not enough kids passing," she said.
On top of tests, she's had to battle through tough cuts. Open World used to be a K-12 school. The elementary and middle schools were on the chopping block a few years ago. Parents fought hard and got to keep the middle school, but the school was relocated to downtown St. Paul.
"My hardest days have been weathered with some outstanding educators and being able to stand together, knowing that all of us put kids first, that we're all dedicated to make it work doesn't make it easier, but makes it more peaceful," Hall said.
Hall says she knows education is changing, but the reason why she's a teacher hasn't. She was on her way to medical school when she started volunteering at St. Joseph's Home for Children in Minneapolis. There she worked with children who faced major disadvantages but were resilient.
"I felt the spark. I felt that moment of helping a kid move forward," she said.
She's been helping kids move forward in the St. Paul school district since 2002.
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