Governor Kim Reynolds filled out what she calls a “Teachers Cabinet” that she says will give teachers a more prominent voice in education policy in the state.
Reynolds announced the first seven members of the cabinet in August and received nomination from the public for the final nine. Saydel Elementary math teacher Traci Lust is one of the 16 and joined the governor for the announcement.
“In education our goal is always to meet the needs of each and every student who walks into our school, and to have a talented teacher in every room. We want to create joyful learning communities where each and every teacher is joyful, collaborative, and is continuously improving,” Lust says. Lust is a master teacher at Cornell Elementary.
“I’ve worked with teachers in many schools across Iowa, and they are deeply committed to helping all students achieve higher expectations. And they welcome the opportunity to share their perspectives on how to increase both achievement and expectations,” according to Lust. “This cabinet provides a much needed forum to allow teachers to have a voice.” Pella Community Schools welding instructor Sheila Graham is another cabinet member.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of the Governor’s Teachers Cabinet to share some of the ways we have been working with students in Pella with local companies for students to gains skills that are necessary in today’s workforce,” Graham says.
“The teachers cabinet will present an important forum to discuss how to best ensure that all students across the state have access to high-quality work-based learning designed by teachers and the business professionals together,” according to Graham.
The governor says cabinet members will meet quarterly with her and Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise to offer their advice about how to better prepare all students. Reynolds says it will strengthen the direct line of communication between the governor’s office, schools and communities. The first meeting will be January 4th in Des Moines.
The members of the Governor’s Teachers Cabinet who will join Lust and Graham are:
Jed Batterson, Elementary School Teacher and Building Technology Integration Leader, Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary School, Cedar Falls Community School District, Cedar Falls High School Robotics Team Assistant Coach
Maggie Davis, Elementary Teacher, Central Elementary School, Nevada Community School District, 2017 Iowa Technology & Education Connection Outstanding Educator of the Year
Jodie Geist, Special Education Teacher, Mount Ayr High School, Mount Ayr Community School District, specializes in helping students transition from high school to adult life
Laura Gilbert-Harwood, Language Arts Teacher and Theater Director, Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School, Waterloo, McElroy Trust 2017 Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching
Denise Hoag, Computer Science Teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs Community School District, was previously employed in the corporate world as a computer programmer
Mary Johnson, Career Coordinator, Pleasant Valley High School, Pleasant Valley Community School District, Iowa ACT College and Career Readiness K-12 Champion for 2018
Alex Oliver, Social Studies Teacher, Riverside High School in Carson, Riverside Community School District, Cross Country, Wrestling and Track Coach
Joni Readout, Instructional Coach, Central Decatur Junior-Senior High School, Central Decatur Community School District, Iowa 2017-18 Milken Educator Award Winner
Vanesa Sanchez, Elementary Dual Language Teacher, Denison Elementary School, Denison Community School District
Greg Smith, Industrial Technology and Project Lead the Way Teacher, Davenport West High School, Davenport Community School District, 2017 Kemin I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award
Vidal Spaine, Special Education Teacher, East High School, Des Moines Independent Community School District
Aileen Sullivan, Chemistry Teacher, Ames High School, Ames Community School District, Iowa 2018 Teacher of the Year
Shelly Vroegh, Elementary Instructional Coach, Norwalk Community School District, Iowa 2017 Teacher of the Year
Jordan Young, History Teacher, George Washington High School, Cedar Rapids Community School District, Football and Track Coach