Iowa Teacher to be named National Teacher of the Year

An Iowa teacher is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year.

Sarah Brown Wessling, who teaches at Johnston High School, is the current Iowa teacher of the year. She was nominated for the national position and word this morning from the Governor’s press office she has won the top honor. I had heard about a month ago that this was a strong possibility.

Congratulations to Sarah Brown Wessling on this honor.

Here’s the press release from the Governor’s press office.


Johnston Community School District teacher Sarah Brown Wessling selected out of four national finalists.

DES MOINES – Johnston Community School District teacher Sarah Brown Wessling will be named the 2010 National Teacher of the Year by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on April 29, 2010. She was among four finalists for the honor, which is a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and sponsored by Target and the ING Foundation. The finalists are from California, Florida, and Michigan.

“I join all Iowans in saying how incredibly proud I am that an Iowa teacher is being recognized as the best in the nation,” Governor Chet Culver said. “Sarah Brown Wessling is an outstanding educator whose inspiration stays with her students far beyond the high school classroom. She plays a vital role in shaping the young people she teaches into thoughtful, productive citizens. Iowa is fortunate to call Sarah our own, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to her on this honor.”

“I congratulate Sarah on being chosen National Teacher of the Year,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey. “Her passion for teaching and unending professionalism is a model for all teachers. Iowa has long been recognized for the outstanding quality of our educators. Sarah now has the opportunity to continue to show the nation what we have always known – Iowa is honored to have amazing teachers.”

Wessling was named the 2010 Iowa Teacher of the Year by the Iowa Department of Education. Former student and past Johnston school district board member Tyler Buller nominated Wessling for the Iowa teaching award. In his nomination letter, he wrote, “I find myself craving the same lifelong learning that drives Sarah to connect with students and constantly seek to improve her own knowledge and education.” He noted she has had a long-term positive impact on all her students.

Clay Guthmiller, Superintendent of Schools at Johnston Community School District, agrees. “We are extremely proud to have Sarah as part of our district,” he said. “She is a shining example of the quality teachers that serve our students each day. Sarah is an enthusiastic, dynamic educator who symbolizes what teaching is all about. She sees the potential in all of her students long before they discover it themselves. Her passion for teaching and learning is evident in everything she does. Sarah is an inspiration for Iowa and will serve as an outstanding representative and advocate for educators nationwide.”

Wessling has taught at Johnston High School for 10 years, where she is chairperson of the English department. Wessling also taught in the Cedar Falls Community School District for one year. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education and a Master of Arts degree in English from Iowa State University. She was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society and the Phi Beta Kappa Liberal Arts and Sciences Honor Society. Wessling is a National Board Certified Teacher and has received the Iowa Governor’s Scholastic “Favorite Teacher Award” recognition, the Future Leader in Education Award, and the Promising Teacher Award from the Iowa Council of Teachers of English.

She is a member of the Iowa Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Johnston Education Association. In addition, she has served on many district committees, including its professional development team, building improvement team, reading leadership team, and high school literacy team.

Wessling was raised in Winterset, Iowa, and graduated from Winterset High School in 1993. She is married to Tim Wessling and they have three children, ages six, three, and four months.

The Johnston Community School District will welcome Wessling home from Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 6, 2010 with a high school student assembly from 2:15 to 2:50 p.m. at Johnston High School. A community reception will follow from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The National Teacher of the Year is selected by a committee of representatives from 15 national education organizations. The teacher is selected from among the state teachers of the year, including those representing American Samoa, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. State teachers of the year are selected on the basis of nominations by students, teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the states. Applications are then submitted to CCSSO, where the national selection committee reviews the data on each state candidate and selects the four finalists. The selection committee then personally interviews each finalist before naming the National Teacher of the Year. Additional information on the National Teacher of the Year Program can be found at

For more information on the Iowa Teacher of the Year program and how to nominate an Iowa teacher, please visit

We’ve got several Iowa Journal links to education programs on IPTV.
We most recently discussion education innovations. You can view that program here.


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