Governor Tom Vilsack has named a woman who’s worked in the education field for 40 years to be Iowa’s top education official. Judy Jeffrey of Polk City has been acting director of the department since August when former director Ted Stilwell resigned. Jeffrey says she had no intention of seeking the job permanently three months ago, but after many people encouraged her she did apply for the post. “All of that encouragement has so humbled me but at the same time it has re-energized me and recommitted me to education in the state of Iowa,” she says. “You know, you hear about recommittments in marriages and recommittments to faith. Honestly, this has been a real recommittment to me to education and I just discovered over the last few months that there’s a tremendous amount of energy I have yet to give and I really do want to give that back to you.” Jeffrey made her comments yesterday afternoon during a speech at the Iowa Association of School Boards convention in Des Moines. Governor Tom Vilsack spoke just before Jeffrey did, and made public his decision to name her the state’s top education official. Vilsack says Jeffrey is passionate about education and understands what it means to be a good teacher. Vilsack says Jeffrey understands the challenges and is dedicated to ensuring that Iowa children get the best opportunities they can in the classroom. Jeffrey worked for 24 years in the Council Bluffs school district as a classroom teacher and an administrator before taking a top administrative post in the Iowa Department of Education. She began her teaching career in the Goldfield School district in 1964, then worked in Cedar Falls before going to Council Bluffs. She’s has been the administrator of the state’s Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary division since 1996. She’s a 1963 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and earned a masters from Creighton University.
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