Maple Grove Senior High Social Studies teacher Erik Lien has been awarded the VFW District 7 and Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars High School Teacher of the Year (for grades 9-12). Lien was nominated by Don Herman of the Palmer Lake VFW in Brooklyn Park. Lien was selected for the award from 26 local VFW branches, and the state award from the nine Minnesota VFW districts.
The award is dedicated to teachers who promote civic responsibility, teach citizenship education topics regularly and promote America’s history and traditions effectively through innovative teaching and resource development methods and for their devotion to education. Lien has been connected to the Palmer Lake VFW for the past seven years, organizing visits from veterans from World War II, Korea and the Vietnam War to share their experiences with students and to discuss issues that veterans face today.
Lien will be presented with the state award by VFW State Commander Duane Hermanson on June 11. He will also go on to the VFW National Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. along with the state’s elementary and middle school representatives later this spring.
Lien credits having some great examples of true mentors early in his career in helping motivate him to become the teacher he is today. These include Maple Grove Middle School Social Studies teacher Bill Beckman; former Maple Grove Middle School Social Studies teacher Mike Olson; and former colleague Tim McLean of St. Francis High School. He also says he has been fortunate to have been blessed to work with great department colleagues at both Maple Grove Middle and Maple Grove Senior.