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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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IOWA TEACHER OF THE YEAR. The Iowa Teacher of the Year Award was established in 1958 and sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa legislature. The award provided an opportunity to recognize an Iowa teacher who motivated, challenged, and inspired excellence; who was respected by students and peers; who was a dedicated professional that helped nurture hidden talents and abilities; who was a creative, caring individual; who took teaching beyond textbooks and blackboards; and who was an exceptional teacher helping to redefine American education.

The Iowa Teacher of the Year served as the Iowa Ambassador to Education, acting as an education liaison to primary and secondary schools in this state.

Anyone, including school administrators, colleagues, students, parents, college faculty, and associations could nominate teachers for the award. Winners are chosen by a committee that included representatives of the Iowa Department of Education (DE), the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI), the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), the past Iowa Teacher of the Year, and representatives from higher education institutions. (1)

Annually five finalists were chosen from among the names of those nominated who had completed a rigorous autobiography and written position papers on several topics. As of 2010 finalists included:

2009 Susan SWIFT

2010 Randolph W. LYON

2011 Thomas G. CUVELIER

2019 Christopher BURKE became the first teacher from Dubuque to win the Teacher of the Year honor in the 60 years of the program's existence.



1. "Iowa Teacher of the Year," Iowa Department of Education, Online: https://educateiowa.gov/pk-12/award-exchange-programs/iowa-teacher-year-toy