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2024 Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award Recipients

Each year, The Iowa Children’s Museum receives dozens of nominations for outstanding educators across Iowa who foster an active learning environment in their classrooms and create opportunities for students to imagine, create, discover, and explore. 

During our recent Celebrate Play Silver Spectacular, we were honored to announce and celebrate the five recipients of this year’s 2024 Dr. Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award:

Annika Buell, 2nd Grade Teacher, Garner Elementary School

Gus Creach, 5th Grade Teacher, Oak Hill Elementary School

Ann Creasey, 5th/6th Grade Teacher, Willowwind School

Barbara Goodwin, Lead Preschool Teacher, Good Shepherd Center

Karen Johnson, 4th Grade Teacher, Tipton Elementary School

These educators have all excelled in facilitating active classroom learning. They provide students with opportunities to become engaged learners, innovative thinkers, and creative problem solvers. 

Ann Creasey with Willowwind School said in response to her recognition, “I’ve worked alongside three Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award honorees who have inspired me as a teacher, so to be recognized is truly an honor. My students motivate me with affirmation that hands-on, authentic learning experiences are making a positive impact on my students.”

This award is presented in memory of University of Iowa Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert E. Yager. Dr. Yager devoted his career to empowering educators to inspire students to learn through active engagements with concepts and hands-on materials. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Yager Charitable Trust, we can present these educators with resources to support their outstanding work. Each award recipient received a field trip to The Iowa Children’s Museum, museum passes for the educator’s school district/organization, gift cards for classroom supplies, and a personalized frame print. 

The Iowa Children’s Museum would also like to congratulate the outstanding educators nominated for their work advancing active learning in the classroom this year.

  • Dana Bangs, Stewart Elementary School
  • Jessica Black, Regina Early Education
  • Cassandra Cate, Peosta Elementary School
  • Melissa Gadient, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Allison Gaffey, Van Allen Elementary School
  • Allison Glick, Pekin Community School
  • Lance Green, Horace Mann Elementary School
  • Stacy Holmes, Wickham Elementary School
  • Matt Houghkirk, Noah’s Ark Preschool
  • Tonya Hovey, Mid-Prairie Community School District
  • Dona Howe, Prairie Hill Elementary School
  • Courtney Janaszak, Ekstrand Elementary School
  • Frank Jowitt, Belle Plaine Community School District
  • Kimberlee Klein, Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District
  • Rhonda Lacina, Lone Tree Elementary School
  • Steph Lange, Taylor Tots Family Childcare
  • Ian Mackay, Norman Borlaug Elementary School
  • Jennifer McGrane, Regina Elementary School
  • Jenna Nash, Longfellow Elementary School
  • Amanda Nelson, Little Angels Learning Center
  • Kayla Nelson, George Washington Senior High School
  • Stacy Pasker, College Community School District
  • Abigail Patterson, Madison Elementary School
  • Emily Root, Trinity Lutheran School
  • Victoria Samala, Good Shepherd Center
  • Rachel Schaefer, Buford Garner Elementary School
  • Katelyn Schrader, Hiawatha Elementary School
  • Ben Torres Duran, McKinley STEAM Academy
  • Hannah Uhlik, Western Dubuque High School
  • Alyssa Walker, North Cedar Community School District
  • Mr. White, Kids Kampus
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