If you walk into Mr. Staker’s fifth grade classroom at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts in Brooklyn Park, you might see (or hear) some ukuleles. He believes learning should be fun and puts that philosophy into practice every day. He uses ukuleles in his classroom to make learning fun and to build relationships with students during lunchtime.
Staker always knew he wanted to be two things: an artist first, then a teacher. “I feel like my days have a purpose, and it’s great to know that I’m giving back to my community,” he says.
Lucas Staker was recently honored as a semifinalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. He was nominated by a colleague at Birch Grove Elementary and decided to submit a candidate portfolio, which was reviewed by a group of close to 30 selection panelists. He was then chosen as one of 40 semifinalists out of a pool of 168 candidates and honored onstage at the recognition banquet in May.
The candidate portfolio consists of essays, professional experience and letters of recommendation. He wrote in an essay on his philosophy of teaching, “I’m not an expert on the administrative side of funding a public school, but I do know that the main reasons our jobs exist are to educate and enrich the lives of all students who spent more time with us than their own families from September through May.”
Upon moving to Minnesota after meeting his wife, he knew Birch Grove Elementary School, an arts magnet school in the Osseo district, was the right place for him. He started as a part-time education support professional and moved into classroom teaching the next school year.
Staker lives in Buffalo but enjoys teaching students in Brooklyn Park because of the sense of pride in the community. “I can feel the energy and joy in my students and their parents and feel like I’m contributing to the pride of Brooklyn Park’s community every day.”
Congratulations to Mr. Staker!
You can find more information on the Minnesota Teacher of the Year program here.