Filipino American Sarah Lancaster is Minnesota’s 1st Asian Teacher of the Year

Sarah Lancaster Teacher of the Year
Sarah Lancaster of Filipino descent makes history as the 2022 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Photo from Education Minnesota website.

Filipino-American educator Sarah Lancaster has made history by becoming the first teacher with Asian/Pacific Islander (API) heritage to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year in the United States.

Lancaster of the Onamia Elementary School was announced the 2022 winner of the prestigious award which honors an outstanding educator in the state of Minnesota.

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Born to a Filipino immigrant mother and an American father, Sarah Lancaster is also the first from the Onamia district to receive the honor.

The Fil-Am educator was chosen by an independent selection committee from among 77 teachers across the state.

Lancaster has been teaching in her hometown of Onamia over the last nine years. She works with third and first-grade students in Onamia Public Schools and is the only Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) teacher in her district.

“I want to give back to the community that once helped to set me up for success,” Sarah Lancaster, whose first and only teaching job has been in her hometown, told Education Minnesota in a news release.

“As a teacher, I get to show my students that they can reach beyond whatever barriers they encounter,” Lancaster said in a video submitted to the Teacher of the Year selection panel.

“I get to show them that beyond these 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.”

A fellow first-grade teacher at Onamia Elementary praised Lancaster’s passion for teaching and dedication to her students.

“No matter the age of the students she is working with, Sarah displays an unrivaled amount of passion for student education and improvement,” said Cynthia Martin, a fellow first-grade teacher at Onamia Elementary, in a letter of recommendation for Lancaster.

“Sarah is forever willing and open to acquiring new knowledge to help students in need of intervention or enrichment. Her breadth of knowledge in teaching methods is vast, and she is able to connect with students in so many effective ways.”

In addition to teaching, Lancaster has coached more than 20 seasons of both athletics and arts programs in Onamia, directing three of the annual high school musicals and volunteering with local youth groups as well as through her church.

Lancaster currently serves as President of the Onamia Area Civic Association. She holds 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.

Lancaster was honored during the annual awards ceremony sponsored by Education Minnesota, the state’s union of educators, at a recognition banquet on May 1, 2022.

As Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Lancaster will represent the profession as an advocate for education and spokesperson for teachers.

Filipino educator Charles Darwin Magdaluyo was recently named the VyStar Duval County Teacher of the Year in this year’s annual EDDY Awards in the United States.

Filipino-American educator Ethelyn Tumalad was earlier named Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) in the United States.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipino-American educator Sarah Lancaster for making history as the first teacher with Asian/Pacific Islander (API) heritage to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year in the United States.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.