Winners announced for Excellence In Education

Posted April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019 at 3:52 PM
IOWA CITY  Winners of the 2019 Excellence In Education Awards have been announced by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce and Iowa City Area Development Group, less than two weeks ahead of the ceremony where those winners will be honored.

The Chamber and ICAD will team up on April 24 to present the Excellence In Education Awards at the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City for the first time. The ceremony will feature awards for Student Excellence, Volunteer of the Year, Creative Collaboration and more, all in an effort to recognize growth and innovation in area schools.

The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. Kicking off at 6:30 p.m., it will be co-emceed by the Chamber’s Kim Casko and Kate Moreland of ICR Iowa.

Education is the backbone of the Iowa City area, supported as we are by the University of Iowa, Moreland said. But it is also the heart. We have long been a home to innovation in education.  That’s why companies like ACT, Pear Deck and Higher Learning Technologies thrive here.

Winners of the awards include:

Creative Collaboration Award: CASL PROGRAM (Teachers Rachel Pisarik, Taylor Schlicher, Mike Keller-Wilson, Michele Kopecky, Scott Stimmel, Joseph Bailey, Karla Lopez Velador)

The Creative Collaboration Award showcases a group that partners creatively in a program that facilitates enhanced teaching and learning and has an overall impact on student performance. This award specifically focuses on the uniqueness of the partnership that promotes teacher innovation, increases student interest and drives performance and/or achievement.

Student Excellence Award: ZACHARY HORCH

Recognizes a student for their academic achievements and efforts to go above and beyond during the 2018-19 school year. The ideal candidate demonstrates a growth mindset and a desire to uplift others.

 Spark Award: ERIC EWALD

The Spark Award is given to an administrator who goes 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.

 STEM Innovator Award: DOMINIC AUDIA  

The STEM Innovator Award showcases the creative innovations of a program that facilitates enhanced problem-based teaching and learning. This award specifically focuses on the uniqueness of the program actions that promote teacher innovation, increase student interest and drive performance and/or achievement. Recipients of this award must have completed STEM Innovator training through the University of Iowa.

Administrative/Support Staff Excellence Award: MARCY WARDENBURG (Liberty High)

The Administrative/Support Staff Excellence Award recognizes the exemplary service of a dedicated administrative assistant or employee who fosters a positive learning environment at his/her school.

 Volunteer of the Year: CRAIG KESSLER

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant and lasting impact on a program or classroom.

Impact Award: ICCSD IDS Innovation Team – Andrew Fenstermaker, Lead IDS, Evan Hartley, Mike Haverkamp, Mike Bevelacqua, Diana Hawley)

The Impact 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.


The Inspire 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.

Tickets to the April 24 awards ceremony are free of charge and all are welcome. For more information, visit

The awards are made possible by Lead Sponsor University of Iowa – Office of the President; supporting sponsors Pearson, University of Iowa Health Care, Dr. Suzanne Stock, Orthodontist, and University of Iowa Community Credit Union; venue sponsor The Englert Theatre; and 2019 education sponsor ACT.