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        Teaching Today Minnesota | Fall 2023                                                                                                   Page 5

                 St. Paul Educator Michael Houston is 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

                                            his mother with help from his grandparents,
                                            Houston was the first in his family to gradu-
                                            ate  from  college,  first  earning  a  bachelor’s
                                            degree in St. Paul, and then going on to earn
                                            a master’s degree from Hamline University.
                                            In addition to teaching at Harding, Houston
                                            also  works  as  adjunct  professor  teaching
                                            math  classes  to  prospective  elementary
                                                Houston’s  19-year  career  at  Harding
                                            includes 18 years as a football coach — 10
                                            of  which  he  was  head  coach. At  Harding,
                                            Houston  is  the  mathematics  department
                                            chair, a learning team facilitator and union
            Michael  Houston,  a  mathematics   steward.
        teacher  at  Harding  High  School  in  Saint   “Teaching  is  important  to  me  because   math  teacher  who  previously  worked  with   creating classroom community. In the wake
        Paul Public Schools, is the 2023 Minnesota   I  get  to  help  shape,  form,  and  mold  the   Houston at Harding and served with him on   of the pandemic and the ongoing trauma our
        Teacher of the Year.                academic minds of the students in my class-  the  SPPS  district  mathematics  team.  “His   Harding  students  have  endured,  my  goal
            Houston  is  the  59th  recipient  of  the   room.  In  my  time  here  at  Harding,  being   ability  to  engage  all  students,  particularly   every day is to make sure they have fun in
        prestigious  award,  and  the  fifth  from  the   able  to  witness  students’  growth  academi-  students of color, is exceptional; partly due   their learning and know they are loved.”
        St.  Paul  district,  to  be  named  Minnesota   cally  and  athletically  has  been  the  most   to his lived experiences as a teacher of color   Courtesy  of  Education  Minnesota  and
        Teacher of the Year. Houston is a two-time   amazing.  I have been very fortunate to have   and to his determination to help all students   St. Paul Public Schools
        finalist  for  the  award,  also  having  been   built community, a trusting atmosphere, and   achieve  success.  He  meets  students  where
        named  a  finalist  in  2017.  An  independent   an enjoyable learning experience within my   they are and inspires them to learn deeply.
        selection committee representing Minnesota   classroom  for  many  students  over  my  19   His  passion  and  dedication  to  equity  and
        leaders  in  education,  business  and  govern-  years.”                culturally responsive instruction has made a
        ment chooses the Teacher of the Year from   “Michael  is  passionate  about  his  stu-  tremendous difference in the lives of the stu-
        individuals who are nominated and who then   dents  and  works  tirelessly  to  engage  them   dents he works with every single day.”
        choose to become a candidate.       in  the  study  of  mathematics,”  wrote  Kim-  Houston  says  his  teaching  philoso-
            raised in a single-parent household by   berley Nichols, a Gordon Parks High School   phy  “has  always  been  centered  upon

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