A Johnston High School teacher is preparing for one year of service as the 2010 Iowa Teacher of the Year. Sarah Brown Wessling is chair of her school’s English department and learned that she received the Iowa Department of Education award in late August.
Wessling will begin her tenure in January and plans to talk about the importance of community with parents and teachers around the state. “I think anyway that we can, as a profession, cultivate communities of learners we’re going to put ourselves in a position to collaborate with each other, learn from each other and to really use the gifts of all the people around us to enhance the learning experience of all students,” Wessling said.
The Winterset native earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Iowa State University. Wessling says teaching is in her family’s blood. “My maternal grandmother is one of 11 children and all of the children graduated from college, including the seven females,” Wessling said. “And in every generation, there is a teacher. So, I think teaching is just kind of, you know, who we are.” The 34-year-old Wessling says she doesn’t have any desire to leave the classroom.
“I might, at some point, find that I might want to expand my classroom in some way, but…I certainly would love to have the chance to do some writing. I would love to have the chance to pursue a PHD and some of those things, but I love the kids and it’s still really difficult for me to imagine myself not being surrounded by their energy,” Wessling said.
A ceremony to recognize Wessling and the other finalists for the Teacher of the Year award is scheduled for October 9 at the University of Northern Iowa.