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Education

Pleasant Valley High School Teacher Named Iowa Teacher of the Year

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WVIK News

Sara Russell, a social studies teacher at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, won the award for outstanding teaching and making an impact on students.

Friday morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds presented the award to Russell, who says she started teaching after taking an education class on a whim in college.

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Left to Right: Dr. Ann Lebo, Director of the Iowa Department of Education; Sara Russell, Iowa 2022 Teacher of the Year; Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

"There is no greater feeling than when you know you have helped someone overcome a difficulty, learn a new concept, or gain self-confidence. With each day I spent with those students, I knew I had found my professional passion. And as they say, the rest is history."

This fall marks Russell's 20th year teaching. She says she focuses on hands-on activities, guiding students as they discuss, defend, explain, and apply their learning.

"So I really hope that students leave my room with the ability to critically think, the ability to make connections other classes, and just that they're ready to be productive citizens."

The award was presented at a schoolwide assembly in Pleasant Valley High School Friday morning. As an honoree, Russell will serve as a liaison to other schools and organizations across the state of Iowa.