Two-time University of St. Thomas graduate Jackie Roehl, a 10th-grade English teacher at Edina High School, was chosen Sunday as the 2012 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Roehl received her bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas in 1987 and her master’s in 1994.

She is the 48th winner of the prestigious award, which is sponsored by Education Minnesota, the 70,000-member statewide educators’ union.

Roehl has committed to bringing the latest strategies for engaging all students at their highest levels. “It is through spreading ideas about culturally responsive teaching in my classroom and with my colleagues that I feel I have made my greatest contribution to education,” she said.

She said finding new ways to teach students from different backgrounds will be a key to solving one of the biggest challenges in Minnesota education.

“Closing the racial achievement gap is a moral and ethical imperative, and we will do little to change the racial predictability of achievement without a major shift in teaching approaches and active social justice work,” Roehl said.

Roehl has taught at Edina High School since 1998 and holds numerous educational leadership positions within the district.

“Jackie has a strong belief that each of her students can and will learn and be successful. She sets very high expectations for her students and then provides them the tools to achieve those expectations,” said Mary Manderfeld, director of enrollment and school improvement for Edina Public Schools. “She is a deeply committed teacher and has a tireless work ethic in her attempt to reach all students.”