Austin Public Schools announced Tuesday that Ellis Middle School art teacher Lars Johnson has been named the 2023 Austin Teacher of the Year.
Johnson, who has worked at Ellis for the last seven years, was surprised with the award in his classroom by a coterie of family, district administrators, and well-wishers.
According to Austin Teacher of the Year committee chair Dave Brown, Johnson was one of 26 nominees considered for the award.
Johnson will now be in the running to be Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Nominees for the state award must go through a portfolio process and be selected to move forward. Over the more than 20-year life of the program, Austin has had two nominees make it to the semifinalist stage and one make it to the final ten.