Science teacher was surprised to win local award

Photo by Tucker Henderson
Kelsey Fahlen was recently named as the New York Mills Teacher of the Year. She currently teaches high school science classes at NY Mills School.

By Tucker Henderson


Many hardworking, dedicated teachers fills the classrooms of the New York Mills school each year. One of those teachers, however, is annually recognized by their peers as going above and beyond the regular call of duty as an educator. This year’s Teacher of the Year award went to high school science teacher Kelsey Fahlen.

“I was pretty shocked,” said Fahlen upon receiving the award. “I feel like there are a lot of really great teachers here, so it was nice. It means that I’m doing my job,” she laughed.

Fahlen is originally from Benson, Minn. where she graduated high school in 2011 before moving on to Concordia College in Moorhead where she graduated in  2015 with Bachelors degrees in Biology and 5-12 Science Education.

“I’ve really enjoyed science and I wanted students to know it can be fun,” said Fahlen of why she pursued teaching. “I feel like sometimes that gets lost. I hope they enjoy it in my room.”

Fahlen has been teaching for nine years, while the past six of those have been in the NY Mills School District.

“I teach seventh through twelfth,” she said. “I teach all the seventh graders. I teach some of the tenth graders, not all of them. And then I teach electives, which would be ninth through twelfth. This year I taught Forensic Science first semester and I’m teaching a Healthcare Science and Career class second semester.”

A favorite part of the Fahlen’s job comes down to her students and coworkers. She says that she enjoys having smiling faces and eager learners in her classroom each and every day. She also enjoys the camaraderie that she shares with the staff each week.

“I really think that we have some good students in NY Mills,” she said. “They are fun. And I have really good coworkers that are good to be with. I feel like we have fun here.”

In Fahlen’s first three years of teaching, she learned the ropes in other school districts while getting a grasp of what teaching life was really all about. In NY Mills, she especially appreciates the support of the community as a whole.

“I have worked in other districts and I truly feel like this community makes you family,” she said. “They are super welcoming, they are so quick to help you when you need anything. They cheer hard for you when you’re up and they pray hard for you when you’re down.”

In her spare time, Fahlen spends time with her husband and one-year-old son.

“Right now he is my hobby,” she laughed. “He’s kind of at a fun age right now, so we have a lot of fun.”