The Minnesota Chapter of the AATG offers two yearly awards. Select one of the links below to navigate to the relevant section of this page:

MN-AATG Teacher of the Year
MN-AATG Undergraduate of the Year

 2023 We are bringing back the Minnesota German Educator of the Year Award!

It has been a long road through the pandemic, with teachers across the state stretched thin and working hard. Our regional chapter is now bringing back the long-celebrated tradition of offering two yearly awards.

To nominate a teacher for the Educator of the Year Award, please click here!

And to nominate a student for the Undergraduate of the Year Award, click here!

2020 Minnesota German Educator of the Year:

We are living unprecedented times. In the coordinated chaos that all instructors experienced in moving to an online platform, there was little time to think about awards. It is not surprising, therefore, that MN-AATG received no nominations this spring.

We know how hard everyone has worked to deliver the best German learning experience possible under incredibly challenging circumstances. We have learned new online platforms and tools, adapted our lesson plans and syllabi on short notice, devised new ways to engage and support our students, and managed our own well-being, all at the same time. It was an enormous and exhausting challenge, but…

Wir haben es geschafft!

Dieses Jahr feiern wir die Leistungen aller Deutschlehrer*innen! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Semesterende.

National German Exam:

Please also note, unfortunately, due to safety concerns related to COVID-19 pandemic, the AATG will not be able to distribute medals for this year’s National German Exam. As noted in an email from AATG’s Executive Director Keith Cothrun, the AATG recognizes “the great accomplishments of the 20,426 students who participated in the 2020 National German Exam. The Gold, Silver, and Bronze award students are recognized on the Presidential Honor Roll on [the AATG’s] website. You can also download and customize certificates to honor students for their achievements.”

MN-AATG Teacher of the Year

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Frau Elsen!

Brittany Elsen,

Minnesota German Educator of the Year, 2019

Brittany Elsen it a teacher dedicated to the formation of the whole student. To quote an alumna, “She goes above and beyond expectations to help her students and create meaningful relationships with them.” Her co-workers, too, commend Ms. Elsen as a model of professionalism and teaching excellence; to quote a colleague, “she is quite simply an absolutely outstanding educator.” Since Frau Elsen joined the German department of New Prague High School eight years ago, the German faculty has doubled in size and substantially expanded its co-curricular offerings. But growing a German program is not only a matter of teaching excellence. During her time at New Prague, Frau Elsen has introduced the College in the Schools German program, founded a German Club and a chapter of the German National Honor Society, and organized an annual student exchange with a German Gymnasium. These are the big accomplishments, but as her recommenders note, Frau Elsen is always searching for and trying out new ideas for strengthening German at New Prague, including by extending outreach beyond the high school level to introduce younger students to the exciting world of German language and cultures. In recognition of her tireless efforts to support German in New Prague– and to support New Prague’s German students–Minnesota AATG is pleased to present Brittany Elsen with the Award for German Educator of the Year.


The MN AATG German Educator of the Year will be announced at the National German Exam Banquet in May. MN AATG may choose to further nominate winners for MCTLC awards such as Minnesota World Language Teacher of the Year.

~~~~Past MN AATG Teacher of the Year Winners:

Lynn Strom, Watertown Mayer High School, 2018-19
Michele Strassburg, Buffalo High School, 2017-18
Matt Beck, Saint John’s Preparatory School, 2016-17
Emmerich Sack, Saint John’s Preparatory School, 2014-2015
Dan Buck, Spring Lake Park high School, 2013-2014
Matt Mitchell 2012-2013
Jenni Dorfsman 2011 – 2012
Bruce Buscho 2010 – 2011
John Diffley 2009 – 2010
Shari Fox 2008 – 2009
Verena Luethy-Clay 2007 – 2008
Vicki Olson 2006 – 2007
Ted Anderson 2005 – 2006
Maureen Curran 2004- 2005
Gayle Carlson 2003 – 2004
Jutta Crowder, 2002-2003
Rebecca Waterhouse, 2001-2002
Anita Ratwik, 2000-2001
John Linnemann, 1999-2000
Vicki Swedeen, 1998-99
Cheryl Wason, 1997-1998
Felice Dickey, 1995-1996
Shelley Orr and Heide Westergard (dual winners), 1994-1995
Peg Feil 1990

MN-AATG Undergraduate of the Year Award

(coming soon)