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Winners of Iowa City’s 2019 Excellence in Education Awards will be honored in a ceremony Wednesday


Excellence in Education Awards Show

Englert Theatre — Wednesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Zak Neumann/Little Village

After 21 years of presenting its Excellence in Education Awards, the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce is doing something new this year. In partnership with the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD), the chamber will, for the first time, be honoring winners with an awards ceremony at the Englert Theatre on Wednesday evening.

The Excellence in Education Awards cover many aspects of K-12 education in the Iowa City area, including teachers and administrators, support staff and volunteers, and even students.

Teachers Tricia Carty of North Central Junior High School and Sakinah Ellickson of Liberty High School are both winners of the Inspire Award. Dominic Audia, who teaches science at Iowa City West High School, will receive the STEM Innovator Award.

Van Allen Elementary School Principal Eric Ewald will receive the Spark Award, for going “above and beyond what is expected” in his role as an administrator.

This year’s Impact Award will go to the Iowa City Community School District IDS Innovation Team. The award is given “to a school group that embraces three core goals: to inspire, innovate, and achieve,” according to the chamber.

The Creative Collaboration Award will be shared by the six teachers of South East Junior High School’s CASL Program (Cross-Curricular Approach to Student-driven Learning). The CASL classes combine language Arts, global studies and science with “an emphasis on community building through collaboration,” South East’s website explains.

Marcy Wardenberg, a secretary at Liberty High School (and who worked at West High for 22 years before transferring to Liberty) will receive the Administrative/Support Staff Excellence Award.

Craig Kessler, who is known to the Willowwind School students he reads to as “Papa Craig,” will be honored as Volunteer of the Year.

Zachary Horch of South East Junior High will be singled out for his academic and other achievements with the Student Excellence Award.

The 90-minute ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.

Joining the chamber and ICAD in this year’s awards are its lead sponsor, the Office of the President of the University of Iowa, and supporting sponsors Pearson, University of Iowa Health Care, Dr. Suzanne Stock and the University of Iowa Community Credit Union. The Englert Theatre is this year’s venue sponsor and ACT is the education sponsor.


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