A veteran educator from Cedar Rapids has been selected as the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year. Tania Johnson has spent most of her 22-year career in kindergarten classrooms before she accepted a teacher leadership position with her school district this fall. The Cedar Rapids native was chosen for the state award in part because of her commitment to working with parents and to individualizing lessons for her students.
Johnson says she has specific areas on which she would like to focus to improve education in Iowa. “I think the challenges grow from the poverty level in Iowa and the students who come in not ready to learn. I think the challenges are also coming from education reform and what we can to do to change what has been education for many years and how we can change that in the community and in the schools,” Johnson said.
Johnson will begin her one year tenure as Iowa Teacher of the Year in January. “I think as Iowa Teacher of the Year I can make a huge difference because I’m going to be in contact with teachers and lots of students,” Johnson said. She will travel the state serving as an ambassador for teachers.
The Iowa Teacher of the Year is chosen by a committee that includes representatives from the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa State Education Association, the School Administrators of Iowa and the Parent Teachers Association. Johnson and the finalists for the award will be honored October 26 at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines.
Finalists for the Iowa Teacher of the Year award:
· Heather Anderson, who teaches grades 1-3 at Cowles Montessori School in Windsor Heights (Des Moines Public Schools)
· Christine Green, a 7th grade science teacher at North Scott Junior High School in Eldridge
· Matt Heston, a mathematics teacher at Knoxville High School in Knoxville
· Joshua Steenhoek, a 5th grade math and science teacher at Jefferson Intermediate School in Pella