CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 12, 1999
Greene Elementary teacher Tracy named Iowa Distinguished
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Laura Ann Tracy, a kindergarten
teacher at Greene Elementary School, has been selected by the University of
Iowa for an Iowa Distinguished Teacher Award.
UI President Mary Sue Coleman will present the award
to Tracy during a school assembly at 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 17 at Greene Elementary,
210 W. South St., Greene, Iowa.
Tracy, who has been teaching for 10 years, is the
last recipient among four educators selected statewide for the 1998 awards.
In addition to the award, she will receive a $1,000 grant from the UI for
school equipment and teaching materials.
Coleman will be joined in the award presentation by
Richard Shepardson, interim dean of the UI College of Education. Also on hand
will be Greene Elementary Principal Jeff Peterson, who nominated Tracy.
In announcing the awards, 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.
And I know the difference that their commitment makes in the lives of young
"The Distinguished Teacher Awards are our way
of recognizing some of the very deserving people who dont often hear
the words Thank you," she added.
Tracys supervisors, colleagues and former students
describe her as a "life-long learner" as well as a teacher, and
as a person dedicated to her students and to making the classroom a vibrant
"To put into perspective how strongly I believe
in Mrs. Tracy, she is the first colleague I have nominated for such an award
in my 13 years as an administrator," Peterson said. "Lauras
Tracy began her decade at Greene Elementary as a first
grade teacher, from 1989 to 1992, and has been a kindergarten teacher since
She received her bachelor of arts degree in elementary
education from the University of Northern Iowa in 1989, and her early childhood
endorsement from Morningside College in Sioux City in 1997. She is currently
working on her multi-categorical certification studies at Morningside.
Since 1997 Tracy has served as a facilitator for the
Goals 2000 Literacy Improvement Grant Study Group of the Northern Trails Area
Education Agency. The group consists of teachers from three
school districts who are focusing on developmentally appropriate classroom
In fall 1997 she was co-facilitator of a town meeting
in Charles City, where she led group discussions on community betterment issues.
And in fall 1998 she was a presenter at the "Soaring and Exploring"
Area Educators Conference in Mason City, where her topic was "Enhancing
Learning Through Outside Play."
Tracy has held several offices -- most recently president
-- with the Iowa State Education Association/Greene Education Association
and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The University of Iowa has presented the Distinguished
Teacher Awards since former President James O. Freedman initiated the program
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 UIs commitment to education and its recognition of the interdependence
of K-12, community college and university education.
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.
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 Shepardson.
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 in some cases students. Heres a sample of what Laura Tracys
nominators wrote about her:
Supervisor: "Character traits I have personally observed
and admire in Mrs. Tracy are honesty, empathy, patience, humility and perseverance.
Her positive outlook and work ethic are unending. She is a role model for
the children, as well as their parents and her colleagues."
Colleague: "She does so many wonderful things with
her students that it is difficult to list them all. She tapes their many play
productions and truly makes them feel like stars. She has initiated an outdoor
play program in which the children have an opportunity to discover, explore
and enjoy their recess time in a new and fascinating way. She takes every
opportunity to bring music, cooking and dramatic play into her daily teaching."
Parent: "The first day my son went to kindergarten
I had mixed feelings (like most mothers). When he came home that day the first
thing he said to me was, Mom, I just love my teacher!" That was
the beginning of a great year for him academically, socially and in the areas
of self growth and confidence."