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Equity leader Qorsho Hassan named a finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Equity leader Qorsho Hassan named a finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Qorsho Hassan, fifth-grade teacher at Gideon Pond Elementary, is one of 10 finalists in the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award program.

There were 135 candidates for the award this year, and an independent selection panel of 24 leaders in the areas of education, business, government and nonprofits selected the finalists from a group of 36 semifinalists. 

“I feel very blessed to work with the best staff and students at Gideon Pond,” said Qorsho. “They have truly empowered me to be the educator I am. This nomination validates the work I do every day as an educator of color, and it informs the equity work I do outside of my classroom.”

Last November, Qorsho was selected from candidates across the country by Kinect Education Group as a Topnotch Equity Leader and profiled in Kinect’s “Top Notch Tuesday” segment. This prestigious award is given monthly to recognize outstanding educators working on equity and inclusion.

Qorsho is also the curator behind “Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between,” an exhibit and book that presents color portraits, first-person video stories and written narratives detailing the lived experiences of young Somali-Americans from Columbus, Ohio. She has helped create several affinity groups within the school district for students and staff of color. The recently launched Amplify One91 group is focused on creating a sense of belonging and community among staff of color in the district. The initiative is also dedicated to serving the unique needs of the community, providing district-sponsored events and professional development considering the affinity’s perspective, and assisting the district in attracting, valuing, retaining and developing equitable staff to serve students and families.

“Imagine one person in your district who makes sure to speak and create change on behalf of those who are not in a position to speak or create change ... that is Qorsho!” said Becca Buck, a District 191 music teacher who nominated her colleague for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. “She is an endless inspiration to me and pushes me everyday to focus on the WHO I teach, not just the what and how I teach.” 

In a KARE11 ‘Breaking the News’ segment, journalist Andrienne Broaddus talked with Qorsho and Gideon Pond Elementary Principal Chris Bellmont about the transition to Distance Learning. Qorsho and Bellmont discussed how much they rely upon relationships and human connection in what they do.

“It’s about being intentional with the relationships we had prior to all this. It’s about unity. It’s about coming together. It’s about letting [students] know that we are there for them,” said Qorsho. 

She added, “We place relationships at the forefront of everything we do … making sure students feel safe, comforted, heard and seen.”

“Qorsho is a game changing educator,” said Bellmont. “She is able to partner with families, students, and colleagues in creating a sustained, extraordinary trajectory for student academic and social growth. There is no limit to the positive impact Qorsho will have on students and our entire community.”  

Due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the previously scheduled Minnesota Teacher of the Year banquet on May 3 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre has been postponed until further notice.

To learn more about the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award, please visit Education Minnesota.