This award is an honor and validates the work I have put into creating a classroom environment grounded in fundamental principles, yet integrated with critical 21st-century skills. Joining this community of excellence and tradition provides a network with which to actively engage for the remainder of my career. In addition, it is a tribute to the efficacy of the administrative leaders and coaches who have molded me as an educator and helped to implement STEAM opportunities in education.

Michael Larson North Oaks, MN | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Michael Larson is an 11-year educator and serves as a mathematics teacher at Irondale High School. He taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry for seven years at Chippewa Middle School and three years at Mary D. Bradford High School in Wisconsin. He also spent one year at Western Center academy teaching 10-12th-grade Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics, Advanced Algebra, Advanced Makerspace, and Financial. Michael engages his students in STEAM integration with a focus on Desmos, Geogebra, and digital fabrication software. His students find their agency through projects and labs, shifting their role from consumption to creation. Awarded as a 2016 TIES Exceptional Teacher, Michael introduced transformational learning into the mathematics curriculum, organized Chippewa Middle School’s first coding club, co-founded a computer science and mathematics lesson resource at, and designed a new integrated mathematics course for eighth-graders using Python and Raspberry Pi. He has spoken at local and national conferences and is committed to training teachers in appropriate pedagogy and tools to foster interdisciplinary learning. Michael earned a B.A. in secondary mathematics education from the University of Wisconsin River-Falls and a M.S. in integrating technology in the classroom from Walden University. He is certified in middle and high school mathematics education.