MAQUOKETA — Jane Schmidt, a longtime teacher known for her leadership, her ability to connect with students, and her commitment to improvement, is the 2014 Iowa Teacher of the Year, Gov. Terry Branstad announced today in Maquoketa.
“Great teachers make a world of difference for their students, for their colleagues and for their communities,” Branstad said. “The Lt. Governor and I congratulate Jane Schmidt, who is a true role model for both students and teachers.”
Schmidt, a 33-year teaching veteran from Delmar, is an eighth-grade literacy and language arts teacher at Maquoketa Middle School in the Maquoketa Community School District.
“The Teacher of the Year award honors exceptional teachers who leave a lasting impact on the lives of their students and fellow teachers,” Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck said. “The leadership of outstanding teachers like Jane Schmidt will help our entire education system grow and improve.”
Schmidt’s leadership extends well beyond the classroom. She serves as a teacher mentor at her school and, in a new role this fall, she coaches educators, refines curriculum and gauges the effects of teaching practices across the school district. Schmidt also will help her school district craft a teacher leadership and compensation plan, an opportunity made available by the education reform law adopted by Iowa legislators this year.
“I love schools, and I’ve never been tired of teaching,” Schmidt said. “It’s always been my passion, and it’s always given me purpose. I think that’s all we ask of a career – that, and a commitment to continuous improvement.”
Schmidt works with her students to nurture not only a love for reading and writing, but also a deep understanding of the importance of literacy. She recently shared with her students a study on college dropouts that showed a link to an inability to keep up with the reading.