2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Sponsored by Kemin Industries

The 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award recpients have been selected an announced. Please join us later in the year to nominate a teacher for 2021. 

2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Recipients


Matt Hansen
Industrial technology instructor
MMCRU High School
Marcus, IA


Shelly Miller
Business education instructor
CAM High School
Anita, IA

North Central

Melissa Taft
First grade teacher
Forest City Elementary School
Forest City, IA

South Central

Ronda McCarthy
Middle school science teacher
St. Theresa Catholic School
Des Moines, IA


Ann Arnold
Mathematics teacher
Alternative Learning Center
Dubuque, IA


Megan Bildner
Chemistry teacher
Pleasant Valley High School
Pleasant Valley, IA

About the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Program:

Administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, students and other STEM advocates are invited to nominate an inspirational science, technology, engineering or mathematics teacher for the 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, sponsored by Kemin Industries and the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Formally known as The STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching, this award is dedicated to honoring one teacher from each of the six STEM regions for their contributions and dedication to STEM education in Iowa. Each recipient will receive $1,500 for personal use, as well as another $1,500 to be used in their classroom.

This award honors teachers who make a significant difference in the lives of students across the state by providing excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future. We are looking for educators who represent I.O.W.A., defined as:

Innovative: Use unique ways to educate students to develop a curiosity in STEM fields.
Outstanding: Have a true passion for education and provide an exceptional learning experience.
Worldly: Help students see that STEM is all around us and is more than the sum of its parts.
Academic: Engage students in the classroom, preparing them for higher education and high- demand careers.

Eligible nominees include licensed, full-time, PreK-12 Iowa STEM teachers in public or non-public schools. Nominations for previous award recipients and self-nominations will not be accepted.

The timeline for the 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award is as follows:
August 18, 2019 --- Nominations open
October 4, 2019 --- Nominations close/Applications open
November 8, 2019 --- Applications close
January/Early February 2020 --- School ceremonies for 2020 recipients
Mid-February 2020 --- STEM Day at the Capitol & formal 2020 recipient ceremony

How to Nominate:
We encourage everyone - administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, students and other STEM advocates - to submit a nomination. To nominate a teacher, sign up for an account using the button in the upper right-hand corner. 

If you created an account for a previous year of the award, your account is still active within the system, so please use the previous account. If you’re not sure what email address is associated with your account, use the verify your account function. If you need to reset your password, follow the “Forgotten Password” prompts on the Log In page and follow the directions in the email message to get access to your account and reset the password.
After you have created your account, the website will prompt you to fill out and submit a nomination form. Then, an email will automatically be sent to the teacher you’ve nominated, at the email address provided in the nomination, notifying them of the nomination. This email will also include directions on how they can complete their application.

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is an initiative created by former Governor Terry Branstad, co-chaired now by Governor Kim Reynolds and Accumold CEO Roger Hargens, and supported by a bipartisan Iowa legislature. It has established the priority of increasing interest, awareness and achievement in STEM education to prepare students to fill the high-demand, STEM jobs in Iowa’s current and future workforce. As the state’s first STEM teaching award, we aim to recognize, honor and award STEM teachers in Iowa for their efforts to encourage and inspire students to explore and succeed in STEM fields.

This award is sponsored by Kemin Industries. Kemin is a global molecular science company that develops and manufactures over 500 specialty ingredients that deliver important nutrition and health benefits through products consumed by people and animals. Founded and headquartered in Des Moines in 1961, Kemin understands the importance of STEM education - especially in the state of Iowa.

For questions about the award or the nomination and application processes, contact one of the following:

Shari Saunders-Behnke - ssbehnke@strategicamerica.com 

Carrie Rankin – rankin@IowaSTEM.gov

For questions about the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, contact:  

Carrie Rankin, rankin@iowastem.gov


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