TOP EDUCATORS: Teacher Of The Year Honored

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The Lieutenant Governor honored Iowa’s top educators during a luncheon in Altoona Friday.

In all 12 teachers from across the state were honored but only one has been dubbed Iowa’s Teacher of the Year.

It takes a lot of energy teaching and working as Director of Professional Growth and Student learning for the Maquoketa School District. Schmidt says, “When you love what you’re doing. When you’re passionate and have a purpose for what you’re doing, you get the energy. It just happens.”

Normally around this time on a Friday Jane Schmidt would be working on reading and writing with her 187 eight graders.

But today all the focus was on her hard work. Education leaders honored Schmidt as the 2014 Iowa Teacher of the Year. Schmidt says, “I was just honored, deeply honored because I know that there are awesome teachers throughout the state of Iowa and I’m just honored to be able to represent them.”

Dale Gruis has known Schmidt for more than 10 years and made a special point to congratulate her. Gruis says, “I just left work real quick to drive out here and give her a hug.”

He’s not surprised to hear about her receiving this award. Gruis says, “She really cares about every kid as an individual. It’s not about teaching an entire class. It’s about teaching each student.”

It’s this teaching style, that’s given Schmidt something to look forward to as a teacher for more than 30 years. Schmidt says, “Students vary every year. Every class varies and it never is boring. It is always an exciting challenge to figure out how you can engage them and make them excited to learn.”

She says that excitement is contagious and gives her the energy to do what she does every day.

Schmidt will serve as an ambassador for the next year. She says she’s most excited to have the opportunity to travel to different schools and talk shop with her fellow instructors.