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May 15, 2016
CSP Graduate Named 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
Concordia St. Paul graduate AB Wright (’11) was named the 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year by Education Minnesota. AB, an 8th grade language arts teacher at the Best Academy in North Minneapolis, is the first teacher from a Charter School to win this award. (view Kare 11 news story about AB here)
“I want to help every young person realize that they are important and that they bring something unique and special to this world. I want them to believe in their own greatness, because they are all great, even when they don’t believe it.”
AB’s pathway to a Teacher of the Year finalist started many years ago. A young AB moved to the Twin Cities with his mother and siblings, staying for a time at Mary’s Place homeless shelter before moving to North Minneapolis. There, AB experienced many of the things that his current students are experiencing: poverty, lack of academic direction, and hopelessness. He was working at a YMCA after high school when he realized he wanted to become an educator.
“I was on probation and things were happening in my life that didn’t need to be. I wanted to be a good influence to others, but I realized I couldn’t help anybody if I couldn’t help myself.”
AB came to Concordia because of the support he experienced during the admissions process and from the education department – it was one of the first times he felt that someone genuinely cared about his future. People entered his life who saw something in AB that he was unable to see in himself and it pushed him to grow and let the energy of loving his life shine through. AB’s vision for how he could, in turn, impact other young lives began to develop.
Shortly after graduating, AB discovered Best Academy and joined their mission to influence children in North Minneapolis. He is a tremendous role model for children not only because he looks like them and grew up in the same culture as them, but because he shows them their worth.
AB Wright greets his students each day with a booming, “Good morning, young kings and queens.” It’s his way of letting his students know that they’re important.
“Along my journey, I’ve learned that my influence is limitless. It can be whatever I want it to be, but it has to be positive” says Wright. “Children need to know that we won’t be perfect, but we can learn and try to work our hardest every day. We can be bigger, we can be better.”
AB lives in New Hope with his wife and three daughters. This spring, he completed his master’s degree in Education from Hamline University.