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The robert E. Yager

Active Learning Award

Recognizing Outstanding Educators

The Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award honors outstanding educators who foster an active learning environment in their classroom and create opportunities for students to imagine, create, discover and explore.

ABOUT THE AWARD

We are honored to recognize four excellent educators each year.

At The Iowa Children’s Museum, we believe active learning is critical to child development and education. Research overwhelmingly asserts that students learn best when they actively participate in their own learning.

Many educators in our community dedicate themselves to providing students with opportunities to become engaged learners, innovative thinkers, and creative problem-solvers. We are honored to recognize four of these excellent educators each year.

Recipient Awards

  • $100 gift card for classroom supplies and needs
  • One classroom field trip to The Iowa Children’s Museum
  • Free museum admission passes for classroom students
  • Original “Active Learning” art print created by a local artist
  • 15 Family Day Passes to the museum for the educator’s school district/center/organization
  • Four tickets to The Iowa Children’s Museum’s Celebrate Play! Gala for the presentation of your award

 

All museum passes and field trips redeemable through the end of the 2024-2025 academic year

Presented in memory of Dr. Robert E. Yager

The Active Learning Award is presented in memory of University of Iowa Professor Emeritus and world-renowned educator Dr. Robert E. Yager. Dr. Yager devoted his career to empowering educators to inspire students to learn through active engagement with concepts and hands-on materials.

Nominate an Educator

Nominations are now closed for the 2023-2024 award, but will re-open for the next year in late 2024.

Previous Award Recipients and Nominees

Award recipients:

  • Annika Buell, Garner Elementary School
  • Gus Creach, Oak Hill Elementary School
  • Ann Creasey, Willowwind School
  • Barbara Goodwin, Good Shepherd Center
  • Karen Johnson, Tipton Elementary School

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • 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

Award recipients:

  • Chelsea Dallman, Lincoln Elementary School
  • Andrea Dibble, Lakeview Elementary School
  • Chris Gibson, Alexander Elementary School
  • Brittini Ludovissy, Earlville Elementary School
  • Rachel Willenborg, Summit Schools

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Analaura Acord, Kirkwood Elementary
  • Heidi Anderson, Longfellow Elementary
  • Rachel Brown, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Kate Degner, South East Junior High
  • Dawn Forsyth, Echo Hill Elementary
  • Sarah Franje, Heritage Christian
  • Siobhan Gordon, Alice’s Rainbow Childcare Centers
  • Alison Hershberger, Mark Twain Elementary
  • Lisa Kavanaugh, Willowwind
  • Fawn Lahndorf, HLV Community School District
  • Kali Lovgren, Lone Tree Elementary
  • Whitney Luepke, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Barb Meyer, Regina Elementary
  • Bobbie Nelson, Bright Beginnings Daycare
  • Mary Poynton, North Bend Elementary
  • Callie Rammelsberg, Prairie Hill Elementary
  • Rachel Schaefer, Buford Garner Elementary
  • Lori Schieltz, Wickham Elementary
  • Kristin Smith, Heritage Christian
  • Becky Sorg, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Alissa Stanton, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Whitney Turner, Mount Vernon Comm School District
  • Cynthia Ukah, Weber Elementary
  • Lisa Woods-Hall, Lemme Elementary

Award recipients:

  • Chelsea Dallman, Lincoln Elementary School
  • Andrea Dibble, Lakeview Elementary School
  • Chris Gibson, Alexander Elementary School
  • Brittini Ludovissy, Earlville Elementary School
  • Rachel Willenborg, Summit Schools

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Analaura Acord, Kirkwood Elementary
  • Heidi Anderson, Longfellow Elementary
  • Rachel Brown, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Kate Degner, South East Junior High
  • Dawn Forsyth, Echo Hill Elementary
  • Sarah Franje, Heritage Christian
  • Siobhan Gordon, Alice’s Rainbow Childcare Centers
  • Alison Hershberger, Mark Twain Elementary
  • Lisa Kavanaugh, Willowwind
  • Fawn Lahndorf, HLV Community School District
  • Kali Lovgren, Lone Tree Elementary
  • Whitney Luepke, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Barb Meyer, Regina Elementary
  • Bobbie Nelson, Bright Beginnings Daycare
  • Mary Poynton, North Bend Elementary
  • Callie Rammelsberg, Prairie Hill Elementary
  • Rachel Schaefer, Buford Garner Elementary
  • Lori Schieltz, Wickham Elementary
  • Kristin Smith, Heritage Christian
  • Becky Sorg, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Alissa Stanton, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Whitney Turner, Mount Vernon Comm School District
  • Cynthia Ukah, Weber Elementary
  • Lisa Woods-Hall, Lemme Elementary

Award recipients:

  • Tony Branch, Youth Engagement Director, United Action for Youth
  • Karla Brendler, Kindergarten Teacher, Horace Mann Elementary
  • Sarah Crippen, 5th Grade Teacher, Arther Elementary
  • Tina Lemburg Jones, Teacher, Montessori Children’s Garden
  • Alisa Meggitt, Global Studies Teacher, North Central Junior High

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Analaura Acord, Kirkwood Elementary
  • Heidi Anderson, Longfellow Elementary
  • Rachel Brown, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Kate Degner, South East Junior High
  • Dawn Forsyth, Echo Hill Elementary
  • Sarah Franje, Heritage Christian
  • Siobhan Gordon, Alice’s Rainbow Childcare Centers
  • Alison Hershberger, Mark Twain Elementary
  • Lisa Kavanaugh, Willowwind
  • Fawn Lahndorf, HLV Community School District
  • Kali Lovgren, Lone Tree Elementary
  • Whitney Luepke, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Barb Meyer, Regina Elementary
  • Bobbie Nelson, Bright Beginnings Daycare
  • Mary Poynton, North Bend Elementary
  • Callie Rammelsberg, Prairie Hill Elementary
  • Rachel Schaefer, Buford Garner Elementary
  • Lori Schieltz, Wickham Elementary
  • Kristin Smith, Heritage Christian
  • Becky Sorg, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Alissa Stanton, Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Whitney Turner, Mount Vernon Comm School District
  • Cynthia Ukah, Weber Elementary
  • Lisa Woods-Hall, Lemme Elementary

Award recipients:

  • Ryan Bentzinger, Willowwind School
  • Taylor Bigbee, Tamarack Discovery School
  • Jan Johnson, Lakeview Elementary School
  • Nikki Wilcox, Iowa BIG

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Arianna Aron, United Action for Youth
  • Kelly Fischer, Trinity Lutheran School
  • Matthew Fisher, Wickham Elementary
  • Rachel Herman, Prairie Hill Elementary
  • Dawn Johnson, Kids World Preschool
  • Megan Johnson, Lone Tree Community School District
  • Terri Johnson, Kids World Preschool
  • Joey Lankelma, South East Junior High
  • Heidi Mittlesteadt, Jefferson High School
  • Jill Zeiser, Oak Hill Elementary
  • Allison Otting, Kirkwood Elementary
  • Michelle Pelechek, Regina Elementary
  • Ryan Philliaps, Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Stephanie Schlabaugh, Lincoln Elementary
  • Tricia Weber, Kenwood Leadership Academy

Award recipients:

  • Lisa Cowden, 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher, Willowwind School
  • Jamie Day, PE/Health/Wellness Teacher, Summit Schools
  • Lisa Hall, 6th Grade Teacher, Lemme Elementary School
  • Brianna Wood, Lead Autism Day Health Staff, ChildServe
  • Jamilee Xiong, Preschool Teacher, Little Angels Learning Center

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Patrice Becicka, Prairie Creek Intermediate School
  • Alyssa Cabrera, Horace Mann Elementary School
  • Katie Detweiler, Borlaug Elementary School
  • Kim Hayes, Lemme Elementary School
  • Kristin Homrighausen, UIHC Child Care Center
  • Terri Johnson, Kid’s World Daycare & Preschool
  • James Jordan, Coralville Central Elementary School
  • Jamie Newton, Summit Schools
  • Allison Osweiler, Regina Catholic Education Center
  • Candace Orris, Tiffin Elementary School
  • Amber Strang, Harrison Elementary School
  • Heidi Tafolla, Van Allen Elementary School
  • Jen Wallace, Regina Catholic Education Center
  • Aubrey Yager, Johnson STEAM Academy

Award recipients:

  • Kari Cushion, 2nd Grade Teacher, Alexander Elementary, Iowa City
  • Amy Erickson, Before & After School Coordinator, Borlaug Elementary, Coralville
  • Naomi Larson, Alternative Kindergarten Teacher, Lisbon Community Schools
  • Jo Nowak-Thompson, Pre-school Teacher, Washington Elementary, Mt. Vernon

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Colleen Baldrige, Preschool Teacher, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, IC
  • Jennifer Balvanz, Kindergarten Teacher, Prairie Trail Elementary, Ankeny
  • Correne Bass, 5th Grade Teacher, Weber Elementary, Iowa City
  • Deidra Benser, Preschool Teacher, Little Angels Learning Center, Iowa City
  • Jennifer Brauns, Afterschool Care, Saints Mary & Mathias Schools, Muscatine
  • Val Calderwood, Kindergarten Teacher, Penn Elementary, North Liberty
  • Krystle Davis, 6th Grade Teacher, Regina Catholic Education Center, Iowa City
  • Katie Eichhorn, Special Needs Teacher, Johnson STEAM Academy, Cedar Rapids
  • Anna Gibbs, Special Education Teacher, Garner Elementary, North Liberty
  • Mo Gingerich, 4th Grade Teacher, Mid-Prairie West Elementary, Wellman
  • Lisa Hildebrand, PE Teacher, Van Allen Elementary, Iowa City
  • Stephanie Jenson, Pre-K Teacher, Lakeview Elementary, Solon
  • Michelle Koenighain, Curriculum Director/Lead Teacher, Williamsburg Child Care Center
  • Katy Lincoln, 1st Grade Teacher, Regina Catholic Education Center, Iowa City
  • Kaye Lindsley, Preschool Teacher, Willowwind School, Iowa City
  • Aspen Lohman, 1st Grade Teacher, Coralville Central, Coralville
  • Beth McNutt, Early Childhood Itinerant Teacher, Grantwood AEA, Cedar Rapids
  • Amy Miller, 2nd Grade Teacher, Riverdale Heights, Bettendorf
  • Malissa Pryoy, Kindergarten Teacher, Lincoln Elementary, Macomb, Illinois
  • Mary Rockafellow, 1st Grade Teacher, Regina Catholic Education Center, Iowa City
  • Dustin Schneider, 2nd Grade Teacher Prairie Hill Elementary, Cedar Rapids
  • Tessa Strabala, Special Education Teacher, Tiffin Elementary, Tiffin
  • Laurie Thompson, 1st Grade Teacher, Faith Academy, Iowa City
  • Susan Toth, PE/Health Teacher, Willowwind School, Iowa City
  • Nicole Upchurch, Early Childhood Teacher, Prairie Green School, Cosgrove
  • Lauren Willberg, Preschool & Music Together Teacher, Preucil School, Iowa City

Award recipients:

  • Bridget LaRoche: 4th Grade Teacher – Van Allen Elementary, North Liberty
  • Erin McDonald: ELP Teacher – Shimek & Penn Elementary Schools, ICCSD
  • Ashley Reedy: Special Education Teacher – Borlaug Elementary, Coralville
  • Mary Zobeck: Materials Center Assistant – Grant Wood AEA

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Brenda Bean: Highland Elementary, Riverside
  • Brooke Buxton: Shimek Elementary, Iowa City
  • Teresa Greiner: Highland Elementary, Riverside
  • Brendan Hunt: Bright Horizons, UIHC
  • Dominic Iannone: Teacher & Robotics Team Mentor, Iowa City
  • Terri Johnson: Kids World, Centerville
  • Sarah Kalsem: Shimek Elementary, Iowa City
  • Deanna Smock: Horn Elementary, Iowa City
  • Rebeca Yoder: Highland Elementary, Riverside

Award recipients:

  • Fawn Boston-Halter: 1st Grade Teacher – Tiffin Elementary, Tiffin
  • Shawn Cornally: Director – Iowa BIG, Cedar Rapids
  • Christine Sobocinski: 1st/2nd Grade Teacher – Willowwind School, Iowa City
  • Ruth Temple: 2nd Grade Teacher – Borlaug Elementary, Iowa City

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Ashley Bass: Hiawatha Day School, Hiawatha
  • Deidra Benser: Little Angels Learning Center, Iowa City
  • Katy Bolender: Borlaug Elementary, Iowa City
  • Carrie Glick: Penn Elementary, North Liberty
  • Jessica Kite: Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell
  • Tara Luers: Stewart Elementary, Washington
  • Julie Madden: Van Allen Elementary, North Liberty
  • Colette Nakielski: Willowwind School, Iowa City
  • Jo Nowak-Thompson: Washington Elementary, Mount Vernon
  • Abby Papesh: Penn Elementary, North Liberty
  • Andrea Pieper-Askelson: Penn Elementary, North Liberty
  • Nicole Upchruch: Prairie Green School, Cosgrove
  • Beth Weis: Wendell Johnson, University of Iowa
  • Carolyn White: Shimek Elementary, Iowa City
  • Debbie Wilson: Willowwind School, Iowa City

Award recipients:

  • Paula Boback: Educational Director – Prairie Green School, Cosgrove
  • Nichole Early: 2nd Grade Teacher – Heritage Christian School, North Liberty
  • Yukiko Hill: 3rd Grade Teacher – Lincoln Elementary, Iowa City
  • Lindsey Hoyt: 1st/2nd Grade Teacher – Willowwind School, Iowa City
  • Jill Owens: Preschool Teacher – Kirkwood Elementary, Coralville

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Michelle Beninga: Willowwind School, Iowa City
  • Fawn Boston-Halter: Tiffin Elementary, Tiffin
  • Connie Craft: Essential Montessori School, Cedar Rapids
  • Lisa Foley: Arthur Elementary, Cedar Rapids
  • Judy Jenkins: Lincoln Elementary, Iowa City
  • James Jordan: Mark Twain Elementary, Iowa City
  • Nicole Kuennen: Solon Learning Academy, Solon
  • Marcus Kurtz: Wickham Elementary, Iowa City
  • Katie Laurson: Kids World, Centerville
  • Erin McDonald: Borlaug Elementary, Iowa City
  • Jenny Nace: Nolte Academy Preschool for Performing Arts, Coralville
  • Renee Person: Kirkwood Elementary, Iowa City
  • Jennifer Rose: Penn Elementary, North Liberty
  • Amanda Rushton: Regina Elementary, Iowa City
  • Doug Vollstedt: Regina Elementary, Iowa City
  • Lagkana Waters: Regina Elementary, Iowa City
  • Amber Wernimont: Penn Elementary, North Liberty
  • Debbie Wilson: Willowwind School, Iowa City

Award recipients:

  • 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 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

Award recipients:

  • Jim Bezoni: River Valley Elementary, Washta
  • Rachel DeMaris: Willowwind, Iowa City
  • Jill & Jeff Dodds: Simple Abundance Childcare, Coralville
  • Dawn Scholtens: Sunset Heights Elementary, Webster City

 

Special recognition to all nominees:

  • Emily Mizer, Montessori Children’s Garden, North Liberty
  • Joy Lekwa, Colonel’s Kids Preschool, Columbus Junction
  • Chris Cahalan, Harrison Elementary, Cedar Rapids
  • Pam Hubbard, Lincoln Elementary, Iowa City
  • Kayleen Miller, Weber Elementary, Iowa City
  • Paula Boback, Prairie Green School, Cosgrove
  • Brooke Buxton, Shimek Elementary, Iowa City
  • Nicole Early, Heritage Christian, North Liberty
  • Sara McGee, Schuler Elementary, Clive
  • Amanda Stahle, Lakeview Elementary, Solon
  • Julie Dohman, Fort Madision Elementary, Fort Madison
  • Steve Sproule, Shimek Elementary, Iowa City
  • Karen Royer, Tipton Elementary, Tipton
  • Mike Wedge, Sibley-Ocheyedan, Sibley

Award recipients:

  • Sherri Clemence: Penn Elementary, Iowa City
  • Sarah Kalsem: Shimek Elementary, Iowa City
  • Ted Proctor: Horn Elementary, Iowa City
  • Connie Stusak: Jackson Elementary, Cedar Rapids