Mounds View educator makes the cut as Teacher of the Year semifinalist

David Wicklund

A Pinewood Elementary teacher is holding his place as a candidate for Education Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year award after the field of candidates has narrowed to 34 teachers across the state. 

The field of nominees was large, starting off with 115 candidates in all, including pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and Adult Basic Education teachers. 

David Wicklund was named a semifinalist and is still in the running to receive the award.


‘Alongside amazing teachers’

Wicklund, 36, is a student services assistant at Pinewood Elementary School in Mounds View.

“I work a lot on school culture, trying to create a positive school climate and vibe across the building,” he said.

Wicklund explained that he supports teachers and students alike. He does character building sessions in classrooms, but also helps individual students as well. 

This is Wicklund’s first year in his current position. Prior to being the student services assistant, he taught special education at Pinewood for three years. 

And before joining the staff at Pinewood in School District 621, he was a third-grade teacher at a charter school in Minneapolis, which is where he grew up. He still resides there with his wife Julie, who’s also a teacher, and their two kids, Eleanor, 4, and Everrett, 6 months. 

“I love my job,” Wicklund said. “I work alongside amazing teachers every day, and amazing kids, too. It’s super rewarding to have a positive impact on this community in Mounds View. It’s exciting,” he added.

Wicklund has been working in schools for 13 years and studied education at Eastern University in Philadelphia. He earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Minnesota.

“I think this school is a pretty amazing place,” he said of Pinewood. “We have a lot of amazing teachers working hard here.”


About the award

Candidate nominations were accepted in October and November last year. Nomination criteria included holding a bachelor’s degree and a Minnesota teaching license, at least three years experience teaching and the intention to keep teaching through the 2016-2017 school year.

Beyond those specific details, nominees for the award, per an Education Minnesota release, were expected to be “someone who motivates and inspires students for a lifetime.”

The winner of Minnesota’s 2016 Teacher of the Year award will be named during a ceremony at the Radisson Blu Mall of America hotel on May 15. Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year then becomes the state’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Minnesota has fared well nationally — Education Minnesota says the state is only second to California in national wins, having done so four times. 


Jesse Poole can be reached at or at 651-748-7815. Follow him on Twitter @JPooleNews. 


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