Outstanding Educators

Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award

At The Iowa Children’s Museum, we believe in the Power of Play and in the positive impact of active learning on child development and education. Research overwhelmingly asserts that students learn best when they actively participate in their own learning. Many excellent educators in our community dedicate themselves to facilitating active learning in their classrooms, providing students opportunities to become engaged learners, innovative thinkers, and creative problem-solvers. In recognition of this strength in our educational community, The Iowa Children’s Museum is honoring four outstanding local educators with the Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award.

2014 Honorees (selected for their outstanding contributions to active learning):

Lianna Cornally

Wondergarten Early Enrichment, Solon

Dawn Johnson

Kids World Preschool, Centerville

Vicki Saunders

Borlaug Elementary, Iowa City

Alicia & Shawn Weithers

Loving Hands Daycare and Preschool, Lambs Grove

Special Recognition To All 2014 Nominees:

Shawn Perkins, Danville Early Learning Center, Danville

Karin Mullen, Bridgeview Elementary teacher, LeClaire

Kerri Bell, Kalona Elementary, Kalona

Brittany Busch, Unity School Preschool, Sioux City

Jan Grenko-Lehman, PE Coordinator, Iowa City

Leanne Amelon, Clear Creek Elementary, Oxford

Mary Zobeck, Grant Wood AEA VAST Center, Cedar Rapids

Jenny Lorch, Penn Elementary, Iowa City

Carrie Karr, Penn Elementary, Iowa City

Emily Ring, Borlaug Elementary, Iowa City

Tonya Thatcher, East Union After-School Program Coordinator, Afton

Janet Conrad, Lincoln Elementary, Washington

Chad Hippen, Lincoln Elementary, Washington

Jodi Swift, Lincoln Elementary, Washington

Angie Rhinehart, St. Joseph Catholic School, Marion

Meghan Meyer, Borlaug Elementary kindergarten teacher, Iowa City

Susan Boatwright, Prairie Crest Elementary, Cedar Rapids

Any local preschool or elementary educator who has made a significant contribution to student-centered active learning is eligible for the award.  Nominations can be submitted from parents, educators, administrators, students, and community members.

The Robert E. Yager Active Learning Awards will be presented to the 2015 honorees at The Iowa Children’s Museum’s annual Celebrate Play! Gala. Please consider whether your nominee will be able to travel for the presentation in Coralville. Tickets are $100/person and available online at www.theicm.org

Each Active Learning Award (valued at $1,575) includes:

For the Award-Winning Educator

  • Four tickets to The Iowa Children’s Museum’s Celebrate Play! Gala
  • Award presentation at the event
  • Special recognition in the event program
  • Original “Active Learning” art print created by local artists
  • Free Museum Admission Passes for classroom students
  • One classroom field trip to The Iowa Children’s Museum, additional bus funds available
  • $100 gift card to the Think Tank at The Iowa Children’s Museum


For the Award-Winning Educator’s School

  • Two family memberships to The Iowa Children’s Museum
  • Ten family admission passes to The Iowa Children’s Museum


Click here to read an article about The 2012 Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award!

Click here to read an article about The 2013 Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award!

2013 Honorees (selected for their outstanding contributions to active learning):

Jill & Jeff Dodds

Simple Abundance Childcare, Coralville

Dawn Scholtens

Sunset Heights Elementary, Webster City

Jim Bezoni

River Valley Elementary, Washta

Rachel DeMaris

Willowwind, Iowa City

2012 Honorees (selected for their outstanding contributions to active learning):

Sarah Kalsem

Shimek Elementary, Iowa City

Sherri Clemence

Penn Elementary, Iowa City

Connie Stusak

Jackson Elementary, Cedar Rapids

Ted Proctor

Horn Elementary, Iowa City