Sarah Finn-Sommerfield, a Noteworthy Teacher

Anna Geldert, Staff Writer

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This month, we take a break from typical student life stories to highlight one of Minnetonka High School’s favorite teachers: Sarah Finn-Sommerfeld. Ms. Finn-Sommerfeld, known to most as Ms. Finn, or simply “Finn,” has taught orchestra in the Minnetonka district for fourteen years. Over the years, she has become an important figure in the lives of hundreds of orchestra students.

“Well, I don’t like to talk about it… but I’m kind of a big deal,” she said jokingly.

Finn, who says she “fell in love” with violin in first grade, grew up to the sounds of high school orchestra. When debating where to go after college, she recalls how she “kept coming back to what she was best at,” eventually deciding to pursue a career directing orchestra.

“Each day is a new adventure,” explained Finn, when teaching orchestra. “Each group has different skills, interests, and personalities. It’s interesting to learn more about them, and to introduce them to different types of music.”

Aside from her extraordinary musicality and skills as a violinist, Finn is also always ready to be there for her students, both inside and outside the classroom.

Mikayla Lee, ‘21, was eager to testify to Finn’s excellence as a teacher.

“[Ms. Finn] has a lot going on in her life,” said Lee. “But she never uses that as an excuse. She makes time for us.”

When asked why she thinks students enjoy her class, Finn credits a variety of reasons. She described how she tries her best to involve students in their own education, providing them with opportunities to shape their orchestra experience by letting them have a say in what music they play and how they would like to learn it. She also credits her willingness to connect with her students, one of her main goals as a teacher.

“I’m a big believer in creating a family environment in the orchestra. I really, truly care about all of my students, and I try to get to know them, and let them get to know me,” she explained. Laughing, she added, “Plus, I’m hilarious. I have the BEST jokes.”

If you haven’t yet gotten the chance to meet Ms. Finn, it seems like you might be missing out. For those of you lucky enough to have her, or another teacher like her, take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and for the positive impact.  

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