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Rach in semifinals for MN Teacher of the Year award

File photo Lance Rach

Heart of the Lakes Elementary School teacher Lance Rach was recently chosen as one of 39 semifinalists eligible for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.

A panel of 25 community leaders waded through 135 candidates and narrowed the field to the top 39 -- one of which was Rach.

"When I received the letter telling of being chosen as a semi-finalist I was speechless," said Rach in an email to the Focus. "My son Leighton was with me when I opened the letter, and he had to share the good news with the rest my family."

"I feel very honored to represent Perham-Dent Public Schools, all of the teachers, parents, and students of this great community," he added.

Near the end of March, the panel will narrow the field again, choosing the top 10 finalists. If Rach is one of those, he will attend a banquet in May in Brooklyn Park, where the new Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced.

Rach was nominated for the award by the Perham Education Association leadership team last December. He represents all teachers of the Perham-Dent School District as a candidate for the award.

Rach has been teaching in Perham-Dent schools for 19 years. He's taught first and third grades, and is currently teaching fourth grade math, science and social studies.

The teacher's union, Education Minnesota, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program.