Kevin Dahle, Northfield’s 2011-12 Teacher of the Year and Northfield High School social studies teacher, is among the 34 candidates chosen as semifinalists for the honor of 2012 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

A panel of 22 community leaders narrowed the candidates from an initial field of 111. The panel will meet again in late March to choose about 10 finalists from the group of semifinalists. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Katy Smith of Winona, will announce her successor at a banquet at The Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park on May 6.

This year’s program will name the 48th Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Candidates include pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, from public or private schools.

Education Minnesota, the statewide educators’ union, organizes and underwrites the Teacher of the Year program. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year Program also receives support from the following organizations: The SMARTer Kids Foundation, The Northland Inn, the Harvard Club of Minnesota Foundation, United Educators Credit Union, McDonald’s Restaurants of Minnesota, Teacher Federal Credit Union, Pearson Education and Education Minnesota ESI.