An elementary teacher from Norwalk is the 2017 Iowa Teacher of the Year. Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds visited Lakewood Elementary School today and Reynolds made the announcement in the school gym in front of bleachers filled with students.
“Iowa’s 2017 teacher of the year, Shelly Vroegh,” Reynolds says. Vroegh is a fifth-grade teacher and instructional coach who has been at Norwalk since 1997.
“When I came to Norwalk 20years ago, never did I imagine that I would be standing in front of you giving this speech,” Vroegh says. “As I reflect on my career I can say with absolute certainty that I am here because of each and every one of you in this room. You have all played a part in shaping who I am as an educator, and for that I am extremely grateful.” She talked with reporters after the ceremony.
“This was an exciting event today. I am honored to have been chosen as the 2017 IowaTeacher of the Year and to be able to represent all of the wonderful teachers in the state of Iowa,” Vroegh says. Vroegh is 43 and says she taught her first classes as a child.
“My middle sister and I spent a lot of time together playing school upstairs with me as the teacher and her as the student,” Vroegh says with a laugh. She credits another family member with her decision to become a teacher.
“You know, I think I always knew deep down that I wanted to be teacher. My aunt…was a third grade teacher, she just retired this past year and she has been an influence in my life as well. I spent a lot of time being a lifeguard in the summer working with kids, teaching swimming lessons — so I think that it was always something that I knew I wanted to do,” according to Vroegh. Vroegh
credits the Norwalk school system with providing a good environment to teach kids.
“This is our third Iowa Teacher of the Year in the last eight years, which I think shows you about the dedication and commitment of the staff here in Norwalk and just how hard we work,” Vroegh says. “Students are very important to us, and their education is very important to us.”
Vroegh is active in the Norwalk community, from being a “football mom” to working the Special Olympics. She and her husband Troy have two sons, Mitch and Connor.
Other finalists for the 2017 Teacher of the Year are:
-Kristie Kuhse of Waverly, a family and consumer science teacher at the Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School
-Amanda Schiller of Donnellson, teaches middle school science in the Van Buren Community School District
-Laura Tracy of Swalesdale, who teaches kindergarten at North Butler Elementary School
-Andrew Troxel of West Point, who teaches social studies at Fort Madison Senior High School