A Hastings biology teacher was named a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year on Feb. 25, according to a press release from Education Minnesota.

Joe Beattie, a Hastings High School teacher, was named one of 40 semifinalists for the annual award out of an initial field of 168 teachers. Education Minnesota, the state's teacher's union, hands out the award that the organization describes as "the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education."

Beattie and the other 39 semifinalists - that range from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and adult education teachers - will find out in late March if they are one of the roughly 10 finalists for the award. The winner will be named at a banquet May 5 in St. Paul.

Other local teachers that are semifinalists include Tark Katzenmeyer and Kaarin Schumacher, teachers at Woodbury High School. Randolph Public Schools teacher Jordan Snesrud was named a candidate in January, but did not move on as a semifinalist.

According to Education Minnesota's website, the honoree meets with policymakers, attends meetings and makes presentations as "an advocate for education and spokesperson for teachers."

Throughout the honor's 55-year history, no Hastings Public Schools teacher has been named Minnesota Teacher of the Year.