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Countryside teacher honored with 2021 Teacher of the Year award

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.
Countryside teacher honored with 2021 Teacher of the Year award

The Edina Chamber of Commerce recognized Bryana Carlson, fourth grade teacher at Countryside, as the 2021 Teacher of the Year. Carlson joined Countryside in 2012 as a Continuous Progress (CP) teacher before spending a year teaching in Thailand. She became a National Board Certified Teacher in December 2020. “Her nomination as Edina Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year was submitted as a collaboration between both fourth grade and CP parents -- a true testament to the fact that she touches lives in a positive way wherever she goes,” said Countryside Principal Karen Bergman.

When school transitioned to distance-learning, Carlson did not miss a beat. She continued to provide the same enthusiasm and creativity that she exhibited in the classroom. She would virtually meet with each student to check in with them and make sure they still had that special connection to her, and regularly communicated with parents. She assembled some normalcy and happiness to her students’ lives and her enthusiasm was exhibited in Google Meets and other virtual activities. She also visited students via a “drive-by”. “Even a pandemic couldn’t keep her from her students (safely, of course),” wrote one parent.

A consistent theme associated with Carlson is the importance of connection. She provides individualized attention to each student, making sure they feel valued and supported, and finding ways to challenge them. When teaching curriculum, she creatively implements learning objectives that stretch her students’ thinking. Instead of just teaching her students about the brain, she connects the unit to her students, allowing them to understand how they grow, develop and learn.

Carlson’s dedication to the classroom and her students earned her the Teacher of the Year Award. Her resiliency to connect with her students, her commitment to challenging their abilities, and her compassion for each student’s wellbeing, was recognized by parents and her peers. “My daughter’s fourth grade year was definitely unforgettable because of the pandemic, but even more so, it was unforgettable for the incredible teacher she was lucky to have that year.”

The Teacher of the Year Award is presented by the Edina Chamber of Commerce to a teacher who exemplifies creativity, enthusiasm, commitment and development of a positive learning environment. As part of the honor, the recipient receives a $500 check from Royal Credit Union, a sponsor of the award.