This is an incredibly sad day for the teaching profession. Mary Beth Blegan was, is, and forever shall be a class act. I was incredibly fortunate to get to know her during the decade I served on the National Teacher of the Year selection committee, and I saw first-hand the great work she did for her fellow teachers and for the position.
Mary Beth, shown reading to kids in this 2005 photo taken from the Daily Globe in her hometown of Worthington, Minn., was named the 1996 National Teacher of the Year by President Clinton. She then worked as the first Teacher in Residence for the U.S. Department of Education from 1997 to 2000 before returning to Minnesota, where she was a consultant for the St. Paul Schools.