Fil-Am named ‘Minnesota Teacher of the Year’
Sarah Lancaster, a Filipino American, is the first Asian/Pacific Islander educator to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Lancaster, who teaches at the Onamia Elementary School, was honored with the prestigious award on May 1 at the annual awards ceremony hosted by Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union.
An independent selection committee chose the Fil-Am educator from among 77 teachers across the Minnesota.
Lancaster is also the first from the Onamia district to receive the honor. Born to a Filipino immigrant mother and an American father, she is the only teacher of color in her district.
Lancaster works with third and first-grade students in Onamia Public Schools and has been teaching in her hometown for the last nine years.
She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and design from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
In a video Lancaster submitted to the selection panel, she says as person of color, she gets to show her young students that beyond many “barriers is an amazing person, a scholar, an athlete, someone looking to connect with their culture and find their true identity. I can supply and awaken the language, strategies, enthusiasm and joy that very well may have been inside them all along.”
In addition to teaching, Lancaster has coached more than 20 seasons of both athletics and arts programs in Onamia, directed annual high school musicals and volunteered with local and church youth groups.
Lancaster currently serves as President of the Onamia Area Civic Association. As Minnesota Teacher of the Year, she will represent the profession as an education advocate and spokesperson for teachers.