CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
UI President presents award to Cedar Rapids teacher May 6
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will
present Sue Grabe, a second-grade teacher at Prairie Crest Elementary School
in Cedar Rapids, with an Iowa Distinguished Teacher Award during a ceremony
Wednesday, May 6 at the school.
Grabe, who has been teaching at Prairie Crest since 1981, was cited
for her extraordinary commitment to her students, their families and the
One of four teachers selected for the 1997 Iowa Distinguished Teacher
Awards, Grabe will receive a $1,000 grant for equipment and teaching materials
for the school during a classroom presentation at 2 p.m. May 6.
"As a graduate of Iowa public schools, and through my travels throughout
the state, I know there are many, many examples of excellent teachers in
Iowa classrooms," Coleman said in announcing the awards. "And
I know the difference that their commitment makes in the lives of young
"The Distinguished Teacher Awards are our way of recognizing some
of the very deserving people who don't often hear the words, 'Thank you,'"
Coleman redesigned the awards ceremony in 1996 so that she could personally
visit the school of each recipient and present the awards. She also created
the $1,000 grant as a way of letting each school share in the honor.
Coleman will present the award to Grabe. Also on hand will be Steven
R. Yussen, dean of the UI College of Education. Representing the school
will be Ying Ying Chen, principal of Prairie Crest, and Mick Starcevich,
superintendent of the College Community School District.
Chen said Grabe's teaching style is so personal and unaffected that
Grabe often doesn't notice the impact that she has on her students' young
"Sue has the reputation of turning the most challenging children
into success stories," Chen says. "To her teaching is not only
principles and techniques, but a form of art."
Grabe began teaching in 1981 as a learning disabilities resource specialist
for fifth and sixth grades at Prairie Crest. Since then, she taught special
education classes, first grade and fourth grade before becoming a regular
second grade teacher in 1996.
Grabe earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa.
The UI has presented the Distinguished Teacher Awards since President
James O. Freedman initiated the program in 1984.
Freedman established the awards to honor teachers who have profoundly
influenced the lives of their students, particularly in the skills of critical
reasoning and clarity of expression. The awards emphasize the UI's commitment
to education and its recognition of the interdependence between K-12, community
college, and university education.
The Distinguished Teacher Awards are co-administered by the UI Office
of the Provost and the UI College of Education. Each elementary, junior
high school and high school in the state is invited to submit one nominee
for the award each year.
Winners are chosen by a committee chaired by Yussen. Other members are
UI faculty and licensed teachers and administrators.
EDITORS: As part of the selection process for the Distinguished
Teacher Awards, recipients are nominated by supervisors, colleagues, parents
and students. Here's a sample of what Sue Grabe's nominators wrote about
Supervisor: "[Grabe] offers nothing but the best to her students
day after day, yet she is still 'searching for better ways.' . . . To her,
an unlimited repertoire of teaching strategies is a must. She takes initiatives
in researching and studying in order to meet the needs of all students."
Colleagues: "[Grabe] inspired me to take risks and set personal
goals in order to enhance my teaching skills. Sue daily instilled positive
encouragement with friendly words and pats on the back. She cares not only
for her own students, but for all students. Sue lends a helping hand to
anyone who needs her: colleague, student or friend. Sue is a warm, cheerful
person who exhilarates her personality into the classroom and makes learning
fun. Her compassion for teaching is evident every day when you see her
students leave her classroom with a cheerful smile and a wave good-bye."
Former student (now in third grade): "I think Mrs. Grabe should
be teacher of the year because she is nice. She is a good teacher. She
does not embarrass you when she wants to talk to you. She plays games with
you on special days. She helps me find books because she knows I love reading!!"
Parent: "If a child's first years of school are negative ones they
can be lost forever to learning. . . . [Our son] is not a bookworm, yet
it is like Mrs. Grabe opened his eyes to a new discovery. He is constantly
writing about everything. This is no small task with a boy hooked on sports."