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Bloomington teachers named Teacher of the Year semifinalists

The original field of 168 nominees for Education Minnesota’s 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year has been whittled down to 40 semifinalists from across the state and includes Bloomington teachers Josh Coval and Katie Juul (Kennedy High School) and Cory Wade (Hillcrest Community School).

A panel of community leaders will select 10 finalists in late March, with the winner announced in May.

Coval is a language arts teacher at Kennedy High School. He has served on a host of district committees, including language arts curriculum and the Q-Comp governing board. He’s also served on Kennedy’s building and instructional leadership teams, and the staff relations committee. Coval is active in the Bloomington Federation of Teachers as a building steward and member of the contract negotiation team. He has coached Kennedy soccer, nordic skiing, cross country, and track and field, and is the advisor of the student newspaper and a new indoor climbing club.

Coval and his wife, Marcie, both began teaching at Kennedy 20 years ago, and he credits the work they did in helping ninth grade students transition to high school for his passion for teaching and building relationships. “Those relationships with students take so much time and energy to build, but they make all the difference. The kids we get to work with and establish meaningful relationships with are worth it.”

Juul is in her 16th year of teaching, the last 13 years as a language arts teacher at Kennedy High School. She has played a large role in writing and implementing BPS Online courses and flexible learning options, and is currently teaching an online 11th grade English course. Juul has served as a content mentor to new teachers, a cooperating teacher for students from various colleges and universities, and a member of Kennedy’s staff development committee.

Juul is passionate about connecting with students through literature and loves hearing their stories. “Being an English teacher allows me to provide rich and meaningful texts that not only ask students to think about universal messages and conflicts, but also how to make connections to current events, history and their own lives. Through literature, we are able to honor the stories of our diverse student population and push them to analyze the connectedness of our experiences.”

Wade is in his 13th year as a teacher in Bloomington Public Schools, having previously taught at Westwood Elementary School and currently third grade at Hillcrest Community School. He has served on the district’s reading steering committee, curriculum technology committee, equity committee, learning support team and the Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) Council. At Hillcrest, Wade has served on the school’s Artful Learning unit development team, and advisory and building leadership teams. He is also the Hillcrest yearbook editor and designer.  

Wade is energized and inspired by collaboration with fellow educators to “provide students with new and interesting opportunities, and expand their knowledge of their community and world.”

He is grateful for the opportunity to guide students through academic and social growth and values their interactions and creativity. “It’s fulfilling for me to learn more about who my students are and the people they care about,” he said.