A central Iowa teacher who says she doesn’t believe in failure has attained one of the ultimate successes in her profession. Ruth Ann Gaines will be inducted tonight (Saturday) into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, the second Iowan ever to receive the honor. Gaines, a drama teacher at Des Moines East High, says the life of an educator is full of challenges and rewards — and this achievement is her reward. Gaines says “I’ve enjoyed teaching. It’s been a hard row to tow in many ways but I feel I’ve made a difference in a lot of people’s lives and to be honored in this way kind of puts the frosting on the cake and makes it all worthwhile.” Gaines was named Iowa’s Teacher of the Year in 1998, the same year Hector Ibarra of West Branch became the first Iowan inducted into the National Hall of Fame. Gaines says she’s worked very hard in her 32 years of teaching to “reach” students.She says “I have a God-given talent of being able to connect with just about everybody I teach and to find out what their individual needs are and then to be able to motivate and encourage them to achieve them.” Gaines created Sisters For Success, a mentorship program for African-American high school girls with the purpose of building self-esteem and to foster academic success. She also created the Leadership Council that leads the school and community in addressing diversity issues.Tonight’s induction ceremony is in Emporia, Kansas. Next week, she’ll fly with the other four inductees to Washington, D.C., for more ceremonies and to meet with several high-ranking government leaders. As part of the honor, Gaines will get one-thousand dollars to award as a college scholarship to the student of her choice. Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 55 educators from 25 states have been inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. For more information, surf to “www.nthf.org”.
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