ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - An Apollo Social Studies teacher has been named one of the tops in the nation.

Michael Berndt has been awarded the 2023 APA TOPSS Charles T. Blair-Broeker Excellence in Teaching Award by the American Psychological Association’s Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools.

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Berndt has spent his entire 25-year career at Apollo High School. When he arrived, there was only one trimester-long class in psychology offered. He was instrumental in developing the advanced placement psychology program at Apollo. Using that experience, Berndt has served on The College Board and worked to advance the teaching of AP psychology.

Berndt also formed a grass-roots association of psychology teachers in the state. The Minnesota Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools network has reached out to every school district in the state and invited psychology teachers to various professional development events.

In accepting the award, Mr. Berndt was asked what he most enjoys about teaching psychology:

One of the aspects I enjoy most about teaching psychology is how relevant and engaging the material is to students' everyday lives. Each and every unit in the psychology curriculum is applicable and easy for students to relate to their own personal experiences. It's rare for students to ask in a psychology course, "Why are we learning this?" I also really enjoy utilizing all of the activities and demonstrations that replicate certain elements of psychological research and help make certain concepts "come alive" for students.

Apollo High School Principal, Justin Skaalerud, wrote about Mr. Berndt’s clear effectiveness as a teacher.

Mr. Berndt is a highly respected teacher leader in our building. His students are often some of the most successful students on both class GPA and AP scores in our school district.

Berndt will receive an engraved award, a cash prize, and other professional development scholarships.



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