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Release: Immediate

UI President presents award to Mason City middle school teacher April 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will present Carol Ann Clayton, a sixth grade teacher at John Adams Middle School in Mason City, with an Iowa Distinguished Teacher Award during a ceremony Tuesday, April 7.

Clayton, who has been teaching mathematics at Adams Middle School since 1973, was cited for her extraordinary commitment to her students, the school and the profession.

One of four teachers selected for the 1997 Iowa Distinguished Teacher Awards, Clayton will receive a $1,000 grant for equipment and teaching materials for the school during a ceremony at 1 p.m. April 7 at the Mason City Community School District office.

She also will be the guest of honor at a reception at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8 at John Adams Middle School.

"The Distinguished Teacher Awards are our way of recognizing some of the very deserving people who don't often hear the words, 'Thank you,'" Coleman said. "As a graduate of Iowa public schools, and through my travels throughout the state, I know there are many, many examples of excellent teachers in Iowa classrooms.

"Their commitment makes a world of difference in the lives of young people," she said.

Coleman redesigned the awards ceremony in 1996 so that she could personally visit the school of each recipient and present the awards. She also created the $1,000 grant as a way of letting each school share in the honor.

At the ceremony, Coleman will present the award to Clayton. Also on hand will be Steven R. Yussen, dean of the UI College of Education; David F. Darnell, superintendent of the Mason City Community School District; Stephen Pottratz, principal of Adams Middle School; Emily Silberstein, a former student of Clayton's; and members of the school's student council will represent the school.

Pottratz said Clayton is an untiring professional whose commitment to her students and to helping the school never wavers.

"All of her instructional decisions are motivated to benefit her students and what will work best for them," Pottratz said. "But she also sees the big picture and is always willing to help improve the school and the instruction that students get here."

Clayton, who also teaches a course in communications, has served on several committees in the school, including terms as a member of the district's Teacher Enhancement Model, a program to mentor new teachers; as a member of the Building Leadership Team; and as a member of the Student Assistance Referral Team.

She began teaching as a junior high mathematics teacher in Emmetsburg in 1968. She taught at schools in Monterey, Calif. and Centre County, Pa. before joining the staff of Adams Middle School in 1972 as a substitute teacher. She began teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math full-time in 1973.

She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, a master's degree from the UI, and a certificate in educational administration from Drake University.

The UI has presented the Distinguished Teacher Awards since President James O. Freedman initiated the program in 1984.

Freedman established the awards to honor teachers who have profoundly influenced the lives of their students, particularly in the skills of critical reasoning and clarity of expression. The awards emphasize the UI's commitment to education and its recognition of the interdependence between K-12, community college, and university education.

The Distinguished Teacher Awards are co-administered by the UI Office of the Provost and the UI College of Education. Each elementary, junior high school and high school in the state is invited to submit one nominee for the award each year.

Winners are chosen by a committee chaired by Yussen. Other members are UI faculty and licensed teachers and administrators.

EDITORS: As part of the selection process for the Distinguished Teacher Awards, recipients are nominated by supervisors, colleagues, parents and students. Here's a sample of what

Carol Ann Clayton's nominators wrote about her.

Supervisor: "Our mathematics program was, in 1986, a largely elitist program for advanced students., with a heavy dose of remedial and general math for many other students. Today over 40 percent of our eighth grade students in both middle schools successfully complete Algebra I before high school. Although many people have contributed to this transformation, Carol Clayton has been a key player throughout and has consistently advocated for opening up access to higher level mathematics for all young people. Most importantly, she models this where it counts -- with our students."

Colleague: "[Carol] Clayton's greatest attribute is her dedication to her students. Instruction in designed to maximize their opportunity for success. She is an outstanding communicator with students, parents, team members, counselors, and administrators. She is untiring in her efforts to try additional intervention and/or techniques that would benefit her students."

Former student: "[Carol] Clayton not only teaches with her brain, she also teaches with her heart. Mrs. Clayton goes above and beyond her duty. Mrs. Clayton motivated me for school, kept me organized, and helped me have the most productive year possible."

Parent: "[A]s parents we appreciated the frequent communication and high expectations for success she exhibited for not only our children but all of her students. Kids care about how well they do in [Carol] Clayton's classes for two reasons: (1) they know how hard she works for them; and (2) she gives them the tools and the motivation to be successful."