CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
UI President presents award to Sioux City kindergarten teacher March
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will
Donna Dee Dwyer, a kindergarten teacher at M.G. Clark Elementary School
in Sioux City, with an Iowa Distinguished Teacher Award during a ceremony
Thursday, March 5 at the school.
Dwyer, who has been teaching at Clark Elementary School since 1956,
was cited for her extraordinary commitment to her students, their families
and the profession.
One of four teachers selected for the 1997 Iowa Distinguished Teacher
Awards, Dwyer will receive a $1,000 grant for equipment and teaching materials
for the school during a student assembly at 10 a.m. March 5.
"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 says. "And I know the difference that
their commitment makes in the lives of young people."
"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.
At the student assembly, Coleman will present the award to Dwyer. Also
on hand will be
Jon Whitmore, UI provost; Michael R. Bartek, principal of Clark Elementary
School; James Austin, superintendent of the Sioux City Community School
District; Richard Bathurst, assistant superintendent; and Jerry Kjergaard,
Bartek said Dwyer has been a positive influence on her students, their
families, the school and the community during her four decades of teaching.
"You'd have to see her to believe her," Bartek says. "I
feel fortunate coming to school every day and seeing her enthusiasm for
teaching and her genuine excitement to be working with students. She's
a very highly respected teacher and member of the community."
Dwyer began teaching in Allen, Neb. in 1954 and moved to Sioux City
in 1956 to teach kindergarten at Irving Elementary School. Since then she
has taught kindergarten at Irving, Lincoln, Bryant, Bancroft and M.G. Clark
elementary schools, often traveling between school buildings.
She has taught at M.G. Clark Elementary School since 1956, where she
is known to several generations of Sioux City families.
A native of Wakonda, S.D., Dwyer earned her teaching certificate, bachelor's
degree and master's degree from the University of South Dakota.
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 Steven R. Yussen, dean
of the UI College of Education. 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
Donna Dee Dwyer's nominators wrote about her.
Former supervisor: "[Donna Dee] Dwyer teaches with such excitement
and enthusiasm that children 'love to learn' -- they can't wait to learn
to read. She teaches with as much energy and enthusiasm now as she did
when she started, always giving 110 percent."
Colleagues: "The staff receives the 'end product' of the kindergarten
year. The qualities that the children have received in Ms. Dwyer's class
are such that all children can blossom positively as they make their way
through the remaining grades. She has initiated 'great starts' for so many
students in her 43 years of teaching and working with society's greatest
asset and hope for the future -- 'children'"
Former student: "As a volunteer in the same school where I attended
kindergarten those many years ago, I see Miss Dywer interact with her students
every day. 'They are just so smart! You just can't believe it,' she so
often says with a sparkle, summoning us down the hall to watch her class
beat a rhythm during rhythm band (a very noisy activity), or execute a
perfect square dance. She encourages parents to visit often, so we can
appreciate how clever the children are ... how talented, how wonderful!
The welcome mat is always out the door of the kindergarten room."
Parent: "The one thing that strikes me as so outstanding is that
she gives ALL the children a positive attitude toward school. This is especially
apparent as they enter the first grade and have a great willingness to
learn. This is a rare gift in a person and Donna Dwyer should be credited
with the success of many students in their school experiences."