For the first time, a Duluth teacher from Area Learning Center and Academic Excellence Online was awarded the Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award Wednesday night.

Joe Schingen, who teaches English, was the first full-time online teacher in Duluth.

"Joe is the first teacher in the district to use a classroom set of Chromebooks. He's the first to host a statewide online-learning student conference - that just happened this spring," said ALC principal and AEO administrator Adrian Norman. "He has quite the lengthy list of accomplishments."

Schingen received a News Tribune 20 Under 40 Award in 2016 and was a semifinalist for the 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.

"Joe is creative, highly skilled and innovative educator who keeps students at the center of everything. He takes time to get to know his students, uses his still set to craft learning opportunities that engage them in meaningful and relevant work," said Dr. Mike Cary, director of curriculum and instruction for the Duluth school district. "He understands best practices in teaching and learning and understand the needs of his students."

Schingen said he was surprised and couldn't believe it after they announced him as the winner of this year's award.

"I'm really proud to be a teacher in the Duluth Public Schools. I'm just one of so many teachers that are working hard for kids and pushing the front edges of what teaching and learning can look like here in Duluth," Schingen said. "I'm proud and honored to get this recognition and to be able to share this day with such high-powered teachers."

Other nominees were Ann Ek of Rockridge Academy, Chrissy Valento of Lincoln Park Middle School, William Zwak of Duluth East High School, Jane Juten of Ordean East Middle School and Jan Seaman of Denfeld High School. Last year's winner was Troy Erie of Lowell Elementary.

The $5,000 award is presented by the Goldfine family and is intended for the personal use of the recipient. Manley and Lillian Goldfine established the award in 2006 to recognize teachers in the Duluth school district who make an impact in the school and community