A few years ago, Patty Herkenhoff was working in retail management and looking for a career change. She started working as an educational assistant in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 and discovered what she really wanted to be: A teacher.
So she completed a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s while working full-time and being a mom and wife. She was hired in 2008 to teach 6th grade at Edward Neill Elementary School in Burnsville. She’s been at the school ever since, also teaching 4th and 5th grades and now serving as an interventionist to boost students’ skills in math — a subject she loves.
Herkenhoff is now among 114 candidates to be the 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Over the coming weeks, a 25-member panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists. The 52nd annual Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 15.
“Patty is the kind of teacher who will bend over backwards to make sure every student's needs are met, every staff member feels included, and every facet of the school runs smoothly,” said Edward Neill Principal Elizabeth Vaught who nominated Herkenhoff for the honor. “Patty will solve a problem before you know it exists and she'll always make sure you feel cared for. Neill Elementary is a great place for students to learn and staff to work because of Patty's daily contributions.”
Herkenhoff is a graduate of Burnsville High School, as are her three children.