2021 Nominees

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Pamela Bellows — Aldrich Elementary
Abbie Perez — Aldrich Elementary
Angie Webb — Aldrich Elementary
Jed Batterson — Aldrich Elementary
Jessica Folkerts — Aldrich Elementary
Jessica Knock — Aldrich Elementary
Judy Evans — Aldrich Elementary
Katie Charlton — Aldrich Elementary
Kimberly Gomez — Aldrich Elementary
Lacie Schuster — Aldrich Elementary
Mary Ascher — Aldrich Elementary
Raine Kramer — Aldrich Elementary
Sonya Kremer — Aldrich Elementary
Tricia Draus — Aldrich Elementary
Tara Nielsen — Aldrich Elementary
Cindy Cox — Becker Elementary
Dawn Laws — Becker Elementary
Kelsey Lyons — Becker Elementary
Andy Wolfe — Bunger Middle School
Carmen Barker — Bunger Middle School
Cory Kendall — Bunger Middle School
Jakob Elmquist — Bunger Middle School
Matt Dailey — Bunger Middle School
Melanie Shayer — Bunger Middle School
Michael Rupe — Bunger Middle School
Morgan Picolotti — Bunger Middle School
Rachel Harmon — Bunger Middle School
Thaddeus Nelson — Bunger Middle School
Wendy Clark — Bunger Middle School
Andrew Eisenman — Cedar Falls
Brenda Patterson — Cedar Falls
Brenna Griffin — Cedar Falls
Chris Wood — Cedar Falls
Debbie Paulsen — Cedar Falls
Katie Walsworth — Cedar Falls
Kyle Engelhardt — Cedar Falls
Andrew White — Cedar Heights Elementary
Ann Weber — Cedar Heights Elementary
Bethany Neuse — Cedar Heights Elementary
Coryn Clasen — Cedar Heights Elementary
Jasmine Ebling — Cedar Heights Elementary
Kasey Eller — Cedar Heights Elementary
Kathy Phillips — Cedar Heights Elementary
Kris Plagge — Cedar Heights Elementary
Theresa Schmitt — Cedar Heights Elementary
Tiffany Ahrens — Cedar Heights Elementary
Aaron Wendt — Central Middle School
Ashley Chase — Central Middle School
Esther Rohret — Central Middle School
Holly Janssen — Central Middle School
Jennifer Brown — Central Middle School
Matt Stein — Central Middle School
Sam Bass — Central Middle School
Kimberly Archie — Cunningham Elementary
Sherita Stokes — Cunningham Elementary
Allie Neitzke — Dysart-Geneseo Elementary
Kristin Cayton — Dysart-Geneseo Elementary
Lynne Ternus — Dysart-Geneseo Elementary
Michelle Keegan — Dysart-Geneseo Elementary
Miranda Hartkemeyer — Dysart-Geneseo Elementary
Braxton Chicchelly — Don Bosco High School
Bethany Twedt — Dunkerton Elementary
Dan Cutsforth — Dunkerton Elementary
Whitney Wilson — Dunkerton Elementary
Chuck Tomson — Dunkerton Elementary
Dori Gorman — Dunkerton Elementary
Natalie Crawford — Dunkerton Elementary
Adam Bolts — Dunkerton Secondary
Alysia Pratt — Dunkerton Secondary
Amber Schmitt — Dunkerton Secondary
Cathy Mills — Dunkerton Secondary
Hannah Corbin — Dunkerton Secondary
Karin Bloomquist — Dunkerton Secondary
Traci Wolfensperger — Dunkerton Secondary
Amber Pichelmann — East High
Chris Tims — East High
Jason Knittel — East High
Joelle Smith — East High
Marcey Hand — East High
Nekoda Garbes — East High
Patrick Wagner — East High
Kyle Knox — Expo Alternative Learning Center
Aerial Linder — Hansen Elementary
Ashley Vonderhaar — Hansen Elementary
Christy Amundson — Hansen Elementary
Erika Goulden — Hansen Elementary
Jaci Feuss — Hansen Elementary
Jamie VanMaanen — Hansen Elementary
Jennifer Anderson — Hansen Elementary
Jeremy Swanson — Hansen Elementary
Katie Zylstra — Hansen Elementary
Kim Cawelti — Hansen Elementary
Leah Franklin — Hansen Elementary
Marin Verhulst — Hansen Elementary
Megan Janssen — Hansen Elementary
Michelle DeGabriele — Hansen Elementary
Michelle Kirchner — Hansen Elementary
Sara Pierce — Hansen Elementary
Tyler Ruane — Hansen Elementary
Pamela Platt — Highland Elementary
Maria Hoekstra — Holmes Jr. High
Sara Blanco — Holmes Jr. High
Stacey Yoder — Holmes Jr. High
Vanessa Benitez — Holmes Jr. High
Aaron Lueders — Hoover Middle School
Darby Kurtz — Hoover Middle School
George Heit — Hoover Middle School
Kayla Irwin — Hoover Middle School
Lesley Taylorson — Hoover Middle School
Amanda Krambeer — Hudson Elementary
Carol Menefee — Hudson Elementary
Emily Koch — Hudson Elementary
Jordan White — Hudson Elementary
Sheryl Dekutoski — Hudson Elementary
Tasha Brace — Hudson Elementary
Teresa Kiewiet — Hudson Elementary
Jennifer Ersland — Hudson High School
Lacey McDonough — Hudson High School
Casey Tecklenburg — Hudson Middle School
Janice Rosauer — Immaculate Conception
Kim Bird — Immaculate Conception
Marita Schroeder — Immaculate Conception
Morgan Rutherford — Immaculate Conception
Amanda Everman — Irving Elementary
Amanda Harris — Irving Elementary
Anne Schrek — Irving Elementary
Chelsea Smith — Irving Elementary
Hannah Thies — Irving Elementary
Hayley Bakula — Irving Elementary
Marissa Schweinfurth — Irving Elementary
Randi Krull — Irving Elementary
Sheila Hollingsworth — Irving Elementary
Tessa Horn — Irving Elementary
Amanda Wagenhofer — Kingsley Elementary
Connie Young — Kingsley Elementary
Lawrence Boney — Kingsley Elementary
Michelle Van Winkle — Kingsley Elementary
Victoria Kohls — Kingsley Elementary
Katie Rodden — Kittrell Elementary
Angela Petersen — La Porte City Elementary
Becky Schmitz — La Porte City Elementary
Renee Jesse — La Porte City Elementary
Jordan Henrichs — CF Lincoln Elementary
Carrie Gaier — Waterloo Lincoln Elementary
Joseph Graf — CF Lincoln Elementary
Kelly Pirkl — CF Lincoln Elementary
Krista Lindgren — CF Lincoln Elementary
Lynn Klein — CF Lincoln Elementary
Samanthan Steffensmeier — CF Lincoln Elementary
Stacy Wilkinson — CF Lincoln Elementary
Stephanie Kane — CF Lincoln Elementary
Sue Clubine — CF Lincoln Elementary
Tammy Ryan — Waterloo Lincoln Elementary
Kendall Rochford — Waterloo Lincoln Elementary
Amy McGovern — Lou Henry Elementary
Calli Williams — Lou Henry Elementary
Erin Yates — Lowell Elementary
Nicole Earle — Lowell Elementary
Stephanie Peters — Lowell Elementary
Amy Nading — La Porte City Elementary
Heidi Spore — La Porte City Elementary
Cynthia Spore — North Cedar Elementary
Jane Cline — North Cedar Elementary
Jill Brodahl — North Cedar Elementary
Michelle Peters — North Cedar Elementary
Sara Steiner — North Cedar Elementary
Tammy Uhlenhop — North Cedar Elementary
Ellen Schweppe — Orange Elementary
Katrina Klingenberg — Orange Elementary
Adam Halvorson — Orchard Hill Elementary
Alyssa Deutsch — Orchard Hill Elementary
Beth Bobeldyk — Orchard Hill Elementary
Christy Shaw — Orchard Hill Elementary
Molly Carty — Orchard Hill Elementary
Rachelle Michael — Orchard Hill Elementary
Stephanie Rindels — Orchard Hill Elementary
Suzanne Watters — Orchard Hill Elementary
Teresa Barnett — Orchard Hill Elementary
Theresa Balthazor — Orchard Hill Elementary
Traci Wildeboer — Orchard Hill Elementary
Alex Jackson — Peet Jr. High
Bethany Meier — Peet Jr. High
Colby Grothoff — Peet Jr. High
Eric Lins — Peet Jr. High
Ethan Jennings — Peet Jr. High
Josh Green — Peet Jr. High
Peyton Twedt — Peet Jr. High
Sarah Cooper — Peet Jr. High
Stephanie Groen — Peet Jr. High
Sue Rea — Peet Jr. High
Theresa Kenser — Peet Jr. High
Will Carter — Peet Jr. High
Deborah Boldt — Poyner Elementary
Wendy Lee — Poyner Elementary
Andrew Voss — River Hills School
Pamela Freeseman — River Hills School
Amy Smith — Southdale Elementary
Bethany Taylor — Southdale Elementary
Elizabeth Brunsen — Southdale Elementary
Emily Tieskoetter — Southdale Elementary
Jenna Schmidt — Southdale Elementary
Jessica Sass — Southdale Elementary
Kelli Henrichs — Southdale Elementary
Lisa Dumler — Southdale Elementary
Madeline Chilton — Southdale Elementary
Matthew Switzer — Southdale Elementary
Nick Rhoads — Southdale Elementary
Tish Wedgbury — Southdale Elementary
Wendy Korte — Southdale Elementary
Lisa Freese — Southdale Elementary
Elizabeth Ebensberger — Southdale Elementary
Stephanie Klaren — St. Edwards
Kelli Zimmerman — St. Joseph
Alissa Kjeldsen — St. Patrick
Caryn Frederiksen — St. Patrick
Elizabeth Gronewald — St. Patrick
Ellen Luders — St. Patrick
Jacoby Hill — St. Patrick
Leslie Rhomberg — St. Patrick
Renae Drey — St. Patrick
Sheena Bahr — St. Patrick
Korina Carlson — Union High School
Tim Mitchell — Union High School
Dalton Ciavarelli — Union Middle School
Ellie Uhlenhopp — Union Middle School
Jennie Lorenzen — Union Middle School
Jill Aalderks — Union Middle School
Amanda Kratz — Valley Lutheran
Brian Joe — Valley Lutheran
Angelica Simmonds — CF Virtual Campus
Mary Watson — CF Virtual Campus
Tami Halvorson — CF Virtual Campus
Jessica Hartz — CF Virtual Campus
Lynn Gerbig — CF Virtual Campus
Emily Kadlec — West High
Heather Wagner — West High
Johannah Nanke — West High

Jason Scheitler, Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School

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Position: 6th grade social studies teacher, STEM+, LEAD Class, Religion

Years Teaching: 14 years

Hobbies/Interests: I like to read autobiographies, exercise, work on my Chevelle, and watch Iowa college football.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? When students are excited about what they are learning, and how they are learning it. I also enjoy the ideas that students bring up, that I had never considered before.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Reaching every student’s learning style, and finding the right interventions that will best move him/her forward.

Best tip for new teachers: Your students will rise or fall according to your expectations of them. Always keep your standards high, and students will rise to meet your expectations. Also, be patient with yourself. Not everything is going to work right away, just adjust as you go. Teaching is both an art and a science.

Best tip for career teachers: Take time for yourself, and give yourself breaks to stay fresh (I need to listen to myself on that one). Always continue to be positive in every situation. You are the one in the building who can make a big difference.

Favorite piece of advice for students: You will never regret giving your best effort.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: To me, winning the Gold Star means that others have recognized that I put students first, and they felt strong enough about that to nominate me. There are so many incredible teachers in the Cedar Valley, and for me to be chosen for this makes it that much more special.


Ben Byersdorfer, Peet Junior High

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Position: 7th-9th grade band teacher

Years Teaching: 13 years

Hobbies/Interests: My wife Ann and I love the great American road trip. Listening to inspiring music, camping, fishing, hiking, building fires, and staring at the night sky are all my favorite things that never get old.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? I enjoy how truly meaningful this career has been and always will be. To have been given this purposeful opportunity to live and learn right alongside the brilliant students and adults in this profession is second to none. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Similar to anything else this fragile and worthwhile, there are triumphs and heartbreaks along the way. Consistently seeing the big picture and the greater meaning behind the work we do is a challenge especially since we often find ourselves wrapped up in the smallest moments of the day.

Best tip for new teachers: On that day that you find yourself caught in the middle of a rainstorm with seemingly no way out, understand that just as quickly you will turn around and bask in the sunshine of what is the best day of your career.

Best tip for career teachers: Remember precisely what person brought you to this career. Now go fearlessly and be that person for somebody else.

Favorite piece of advice for students: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: This award for me personally says that I have come full circle as a teacher with the purpose to serve others. I don’t want to imagine where I would be right now without the teachers in my life. To these people and to this profession I owe everything.


Nick Kuhle, Hoover Middle School

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Position: 6th grade math

Years Teaching: 6 years

Hobbies/Interests: Golf, Fitness, Human Movement, Pool, Badminton

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Joking around with the kids and laughing with them

Best tip for new teachers: The behavior you allow is the behavior you’ll get

Best tip for career teachers: Separate personal and professional while always making time for yourself!

Favorite piece of advice for students: Go read the instructions again!

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: It means I’m on the right path and my colleagues at Expo really helped shaped me as a teacher and my team at Hoover have also continued to push me in the right direction. Plus, I think it shows that my parents did a pretty good job of raising their son and I know they find joy in my accolades. It’s a team effort when you’re a teacher and I wouldn’t have won this award without help from many individuals along the way.


Susan Neverman, St. Joseph School

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Position: 1st grade

Years Teaching: 37 years

Hobbies/Interests: quilting, sewing, gardening, and spending time with family and my grandson

What do you enjoy most about teaching? The Children! Their smiles, laughter, hugs, and natural curiosity and love for learning, especially the moment they learn something new!

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Time, there is never enough! You finally get to know every student well in your classroom and then the school year ends.

Best tip for new teachers: The most important things you will teach your students will not be found in textbooks. Be that teacher that makes a difference; be loving, caring, and empathetic.

Best tip for career teachers: Enjoy every moment and never stop smiling! The school year goes by too quickly.

Favorite piece of advice for students: Perseverance; never stop trying, always do your best!

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you:  Receiving this award for doing something I love and enjoy makes me very proud. I am humbled to have parents and students appreciate the work I do.


Robin Loes, Kingsley Elementary & Bunger Middle School

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Position: K-8th grade teacher & Expanded Learning Program

Years Teaching: 22 years

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy being a part of my children’s activities, playing the piano, and being with my friends.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? I enjoy being with people.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? The most challenging thing about teaching is there always more to do. Teachers always think to themselves, “Well what if I would have ….”

Best tip for new teachers: My best tip for new teachers is to build bridges with colleagues. You will need each other.

Best tip for career teachers: My best tip for career teachers is to listen to your listen to everyone. You never know who may have the best advise you’ve ever heard. Advise will help us continue to learn and evolve to be the best possible people we can be.

Favorite piece of advice for students: Remember that nobody ever woke up and said, “I think I will do the second-best thing I can do today.” Accept what is done, and learn from your mistakes. Persevere until you are proud of your work.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: 

To me, being a Gold Star Teacher means that I have touched someone else’s life enough that he or she felt compelled to nominate me for recognition.
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Marit Beisner, Cedar Heights Elementary

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Position: Kindergarten

Years Teaching: 24 years

Hobbies/Interests: Volunteer with Retrieving Freedom Inc. as a Puppy Foster and a Teacher Foster to train future service dogs for disabled veterans or children with autism.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Every day is a new day with unexpected moments. Watching the joy in a student’s face and seeing their confidence grow when the “light bulb” turns on! Inspiring others and making a positive difference in their lives.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Finding more time and striking a healthy balance between work and home.

Best tip for new teachers: Have high expectations for yourself and your students. Be prepared yet flexible for student needs.

Best tip for career teachers: Keep on learning. Make learning fun for kids.

Favorite piece of advice for students: First we work and then we play. It’s ok to make mistakes. Try, Try, Again!

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: It’s an honor to receive this award for doing something that I love. It’s a great recognition of a career of high expectations for my students and myself.

Tammy Frahm, Cedar Falls High School

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Position: Special Needs

Years Teaching: 23 years

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy volunteering and being an advocate for those living with disabilities. My primary hobby at this time is learning as much as I can about adaptive sports and cheering on my daughter as a member of the Cedar Falls High School track team.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? My favorite part of my job is watching my students learn and grow into young adults. Sometimes it may take a month or more for a student to learn a skill. No matter how large or small the task it is a time to celebrate.

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Throughout my teaching career, I have supported families during some of their most difficult moments. I was asked to stay with one of my student’s parents as they chose to disconnect their son from life support. I have assisted families with obtaining items to take care of their basic needs. I recently joined a search party looking for a student of mine that is missing. I have learned that a teacher does more than just teach academics, they teach about life. The most difficult thing about my occupation is teaching my students about life events we have no control over and are often hard for adults to understand, such as death or severe illness, and the unknown reasons why their friend isn’t coming to school each day.

Best tip for new teachers: As new educators, don’t focus on the can’t, but instead work enthusiastically to identify the HOW.

Best tip for career teachers: Never say, “but I have always done it this way,” and remember that those new younger teachers can teach us old timers some bright new ideas.

Favorite piece of advice for students: Everyone has challenges that they have to overcome. Sometimes those challenges resemble mountains that you have to climb. For you to get to the top of the mountain, you may have to run, walk, roll, or be carried. All goals are attainable — the way you reach them may be different, but the outcome is the same. SUCCESS!

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: I want to take a moment to say thank you, and I am honored to be named a 2018 Gold Star Teacher. I also want to share what a Gold Star teacher encompasses. You see a teacher isn’t the only one that helps students reach their full potential. Every day I am thankful I have parents that give me the privilege to work with their children. I am grateful for the bus drivers that bring my students to school safely and for the janitors that clear a safe path to enter my room. They even check with me daily to make sure the room is comfortable for learning. I have a team of teachers in my department that are willing to share ideas. Teachers in every teaching area within the building ready to say we can figure this out. Instructional coaches are eager to assist when I need more knowledge. The cafeteria workers make breakfast and lunch so my students can focus on learning. The nursing staff makes sure my students are healthy, and they take the time to train me on how to take care of each student’s needs. The office staff reminds me when events are happening that can make a day difficult or great, but no matter what they have it covered. An administration that expects that every student will learn and be a part of the school community. They are dedicated to giving me the tools I need to improve learning. The school counselors that are there for staff and teachers not only during the day, but after hours, also. The support teams that are there to consult and assist with my students with speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The secondary student service coordinator that is always supportive and consistently shares her insightful knowledge. The businesses and services in the community that help me with fixing wheelchairs, figuring out communication devices and providing experiences to young people for transitions after high school. The paraeducators are the foundation in my classroom. They are the ones that make the day run smoothly and are willing to step in to help a student at any moment with a variety of tasks. You see the award may have my name listed, but truthfully a Gold Star teacher isn’t just one person.

Ashley Cardamone, Holmes Junior High

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Position: 7th-9th grade art teacher

Years Teaching: 6 years

Hobbies/Interests: Time with friends, caring for animals, video games, making art, music, reading, and being outside

What do you enjoy most about teaching? My favorite thing about teaching is getting to know my students and helping to build their confidence. I love getting to see my students’ learning…they impress me every day!

What do you find most challenging about teaching? Time! Every time I cross something off my to-do list, another item appears…

Best tip for new teachers: Don’t be afraid to apologize and re-teach if you feel like something didn’t go well. Students will understand! Also, save every happy note students give you. They mean so much.

Best tip for career teachers: Keep your curriculum fresh!

Favorite piece of advice for students: Be kind, work hard, and know your truth.

What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: I am honored to be a Gold Star Teacher. It means the world to me to have been nominated by my students. I am so lucky to work with great people in a great school every day!