Burnsville High School teacher Mark Riggs is among 123 candidates to be the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Riggs was selected last spring as the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 Teacher of the Year. He is a graduate of Burnsville High School who now teaches physical education and health at the school, advises the Student Council and coaches multiple sports.
"My philosophy of teaching is about making the experience of every student a positive one," said Riggs. "I always want students to understand the power of knowledge and understand the importance of making lasting memories along the way."
Over the next couple of weeks a 25-member panel of community leaders will name a group of semifinalists and finalists, according to Education Minnesota, which heads up the selection process. The 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 3.
Riggs was the first recipient of the District 191 Inclusive Education Practices Award established in 2011 by the district's Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) to recognize staff members who are including students with disabilities in classrooms and extracurricular activities.
In addition to teaching and advising, he has coached football, wrestling and track and field. Also, he currently serves as the athletic coordinator, supervising events in the winter and spring.
Riggs volunteers through several community organizations including the Minneapolis Miracle which provides holiday gifts for children in need, the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, the Burnsville Fire Muster and the Burnsville Athletic Club.