Celebrating Excellence



Faculty earn honors from peers 

It was a stellar spring for College of Education faculty, as Nicole Skaar was named Iowa School Psychologist of the Year by the Iowa School Psychologists Association, while Sue Etscheidt was the recipient of ISPA's Distinguished Service Award. Tricia Schrage was announced as Educator of the Year by the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society, and Mike Waggoner was recognized by his peers with the American Educational Research Association Distinguished Achievement Award from AERA’s Religion and Education Special Interest Group. 

College of Education awards

Teaching: Danielle Cowley, Special education

Scholarship/Research: Sarah Montgomery, Curriculum and instruction

Professional Service: Linda Fitzgerald, Curriculum and instruction

Diversity and Equity: Shuaib Meacham, Curriculum and instruction 

University awards and recognition

UNI Outstanding Teaching Award: Sohyun Meacham, Curriculum and instruction

Class of 1943 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching: Lyn Countryman, Teaching

Ross A. Nielsen Professional Service Award: Amy Petersen, Teaching

2019 faculty summer scholarship recipients

Windee Weiss, Kinesiology
Mark Hecimovch, Health, recreation and community services
Sarah Montgomery, Curriculum and instruction 
Wu-Ying Hsieh, Special education 
Jody Stone, Teaching

Iowa Teacher of the Year, Presidential Award among alumni educator honors 

UNI alums receiving recognition from Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education this year included: 

Iowa Teacher of the Year: Christopher Burke (ASC, ‘16, principalship, and M.A., ‘15, educational leadership and postsecondary education), a math teacher at Dubuque’s Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching: Deb Little (B.A., '87, elementary education; M.A., '96, reading), teaches fourth grade at Denver Elementary School, Denver, Iowa. 

Iowa Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching: finalist – Math: Natalie Franke (B.A., ‘96, elementary education; ‘03, principalship), is a second grade teacher at Brookview Elementary in Waukee.

Iowa Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching finalist – Science: Lisa Chizek (B.A., ‘85, curriculum and instruction; M.A., ‘12, science education), a fourth and fifth grade teacher at North Tama Elementary in Traer. 

Latham honored with Educational Leadership Legacy Award 

Latham Legacy Award Jo Ellen Latham, director of curriculum and instruction for the Southeast Polk Community School District, was named the UNI Educational Leadership Legacy Award recipient for 2019. 

Latham received her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and her master's in reading and language arts from UNI. She later returned to complete her doctorate of education degree as well as her K-12 administrative certificate. She was with the Heartland Area Education Agency in Johnston prior to accepting the director of curriculum and instruction role for Des Moines Public Schools. She joined Southeast Polk in the same position in 2011. 

Noted a colleague from Southeast Polk: “Jo Ellen is a visionary leader who is talented in leading educators through the challenges of teaching and learning to a place of self-efficacy. She is humble, inspirational, brilliant and kind. She is honest, yet eloquent, and always values people over programs. Her love of continuous learning and professional growth is contagious to everyone who meets her.” 

This award is given annually to an alum of the UNI principalship, superintendency or doctoral programs who has demonstrated exemplary educational leadership as a leader of learning, service and/or change, core values of educational leadership at the College of Education. 

Hall of Excellence inductees rise to 130

2019 Hall of ExcellenceFive new inductees into the Elinor A. Crawford and William R. Thrall Hall of Excellence were honored at 16th annual induction ceremonies during UNI Homecoming weekend in October. They include: Emily Jones (B.A. ‘04, M.A. ‘06); Rochel Rittgers, (B.A. ‘81); Jianyu E. Wang, (M.A. ‘00); and Leland Wise Jr.  (B.A. ‘67, M.A., ‘70). Chris Edginton, who retired after many years of service at UNI, including 19 years as director of the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, received an honorary award. 

These five inductees follow the five honorees at the 2018 ceremonies: Theodore Blaesing, (B.A. ‘71, M.A. ‘74); Chris Bucknam (M.A., ‘82); Alex Garn (B.A. ‘96); Jennifer Hall, (B.A. ‘01, M.A. ‘06; Ed.D. ‘10); and Lori Smith (M.A. ‘95). 

The awards are given annually to honor the professional contributions of  graduates of what is now the departments of Kinesiology and Health, Recreation and Community Services.