Crosby teacher wins Innovative Teacher of the Year award – Brainerd Dispatch

CROSBY – She built the plane while flying it.

That’s how Cuyuna Range Elementary School Principal Kurt Becker describes Allison Larsen. Formerly a fifth grade teacher and a technology coach, Larsen worked as the technology and innovation teacher for the last five years, essentially building a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, program from the ground up.

She works with students in kindergarten through sixth grade, implementing elements of STEAM into their education. And the 2022 Innovative Teacher of the Year award from Innovative Schools Project.

“It’s so exciting. It’s amazing, ”Larsen said after being surprised with the announcement during a class Thursday, May 12.

A nonprofit working with the Region Five, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena. The nonprofit works to remove financial barriers to educational resources and materials that promote hands-on, experiential learning.

Last year, Innovative Schools Project, the Innovative Schools of the Year award, recognizing a teacher who has promoted innovative practices with students. The award comes with a $ 1,000 grant for the winning teacher to use in their classroom.

“I’m excited,” Larsen said.

Clark Marshall, board chair of the Cuyuna Lakes Educational Foundation, nominated Larsen for this Kat award.

“What has I done has a remarkable impact and visibility, I think,”

“She also participates in educational conferences throughout the country,” Marshall added. “… She passes on knowledge and experiences to others, which is an important part of what she does.”

Allison Larsen works with third grade students Emily Hurdlik, left, and Lily Kleineck Thursday, May 12, 2022, in her classroom at Cuyuna Range Elementary School in Crosby.

Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Over the past five years, Larsen looks back at a lot of 3D printing projects that have been popular with her students, along with laser engraving, ukulele building, circuitry and coding.

“It’s really valuable for them,” Larsen said of teaching STEAM subjects early on in their education. “Especially because some students don’t thrive in the traditional classroom. This is something that they can be exposed to as many different types of STEM concepts as they may be they’re good at something they don’t usually figure out in a traditional classroom. ”

For more information on Innovative Schools Projects and its available grants and programs, visit

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at [email protected] or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at

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