2024 Innovation in Education Awards

Posted April 17, 2024

Greater Iowa City, Inc. is excited to announce the local teachers, students, staff, school groups, and organizations who will be awarded at our annual Innovation in Education awards. This after-school reception and awards ceremony honors the people and programs that model the future of K-12 education in Johnson County, IA.


Join us on April 24th at 6:00pm at The Englert! It is free and open to all who wish to celebrate and support growth and innovation in Johnson County K-12 schools.

The Inspire Award

This award is given to a teacher that inspires, excites, and influences students to learn through exceptional, unprecedented or extraordinary programs and/or creates an innovative, future-focused classroom.

Emily Carew

Northwest Junior High

Robin Wilson

Lemme Elementary

The Spark Award

This award is given to individuals who go above and beyond in order to create a learning environment where all students have a chance to succeed, and all instructors feel the freedom to innovate.

Mitch Gross

Iowa City West High Schol

The Impact Award

This award is given to a school group that embraces three core goals: to inspire, innovate, and achieve. Their pursuit of these first three goals culminate to realize a fourth: IMPACT on teachers, students, and their community. This program exceeds all others in its ability to impact students and teachers through inspiring, innovative, exceptional, unprecedented and/or extraordinary program components.

Darla Burr

Willowwind School

Brett Burr

Willowwind School

Tamarack Discovery School

The Innovation in K-12 Mental Health Award

This award recognizes a program, group, or leader that addressed the extensive challenge of stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues in K-12 students. They address unmet needs and create innovative approaches to reduce stigma, increase access to care, improve equity in mental health, enable early identification/prevention, or enhance intervention.

Karen Smith

Van Allen Elementary

I'm Glad You Stayed Project

The Early Childhood Innovation Award

This award recognizes outstanding childcare providers and programs for their commitment to building the foundation children need to make the best possible start in life. They are committed to tackling the ever-changing challenges and demands of providing accessible and high-quality childcare through creative problem-solving and collaboration.

Good Shepherd Center

Tami Bell

Van Allen Elementary

The Administrative/Support Staff Excellence Award

This award recognizes the exemplary service of a dedicated administrative assistant or employee who fosters a positive learning and supportive environment at his/her school.

Rachel Butler

Willowwind School

The Career-Connected Learning Award

This award recognizes a school program or educator that bridges the gap between K-12 classroom learning and future careers through real-world experiences and partnerships, empowering the next generation of community leaders.

Alyssa Amelon

Clear Creek Amana High School

John Reynolds

Student Build Program at ICCSD

The Student Innovation Award

This award recognizes students for their achievements and efforts to go above and beyond during the 2023-2024 school year. The ideal candidate demonstrates a growth mindset, empathy and a desire to uplift others.

Shanza Sami

The Excellence in Librarianship Award

This award recognizes the unsung heroes of literacy and learning. Dedicated librarians illuminate the path to wisdom, enriching the lives of those they serve. This award celebrates librarians who go above and beyond, demonstrating innovation, resourcefulness, and a deep commitment to the intellectual growth of K-12 students.

Victoria Fernandez

Iowa City Public Library

The Innovator Award

This award is given to a teacher (or group of teachers) that creates learning opportunities for students to be innovative, inventive, and entrepreneurial. 

Diane Fickel

Iowa City West High School

Ann Creasey

Willowwind School

The Heart of Gold Award

This award recognizes the selflessness, dedication, and unwavering commitment of an outstanding volunteer who has made a significant impact in greater Iowa City’s K-12 education. The recipient of this award has a heart of gold, demonstrating a genuine passion for education by supporting students and/or teachers.

Jennifer Struthers

Northwest Junior High, West High School

Kristen Green

Shimek Elementary PTO