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Outstanding educators awarded

Golden Apples to be presented to eight area teachers Tuesday

April 27, 2009
Messenger News


Messenger staff writer

The Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce will recognize eight area educators for their excellence in teaching when they are presented with Golden Apple Awards Tuesday evening.

To be named a recipient of the award, teachers must be nominated by a co-worker, former student or parent of a former student. The nomination process also requires two additional letters of recommendation along with a nominee application and consent form filled out by the nominated teacher, Lindsay Nevins, Chamber of Commerce program coordinator said.

To be eligible for nomination, teachers may teach at any Webster County-based school, including Catholic, Lutheran and Christian schools.

This year's recipients are Dan Hansen, Ann Knobbe, David Vaughn, Kim Galles, Katie Gronbach, Andi Adams, Annette Foster and Richard Hanson.

Hansen, who teaches ninth-grade courses at Fort Dodge Senior High, was nominated by fellow FDSH teacher Todd Constable.

"Dan has a heart of gold and is the epitome of what a great teacher and role model should be," Constable said in his nomination.

Knobbe is a second-grade teacher at St. Edmond Elementary, she was nominated by her colleague, Michelle O'Brien.

O'Brien said in her nomination that Knobbe uses her teaching, life experiences and philosophies to make students want to learn.

"I invite you on a trip to Ann Knobbe's classroom," O'Brien said. "Once there, you will notice student-created graphs and organizers decorating walls, an eclectic classroom library with overstuffed furniture, science experiments and a group of diverse second-graders each intrinsically motivated to reach high standards and expectations. The force behind these successful students is Ann Knobbe."

Vaughn is a director and teacher at the Gordon Willard Alternative Center with the Fort Dodge Community Schools. He was nominated by co-worker Charlene Anderson.

In her letter of recommendation, Anderson said that Vaughn encourages and supports fellow teachers to try new teaching methods and techniques.

"Dave is very supportive of those who work with him," she said. "In our position at the Alternative Center, we have been called on to serve students with a wide range of concerns and abilities. He encourages each of us by being a terrific role model and by giving us the freedom to try new techniques and ideas that might work for our students."

A third-grade teacher at St. Edmond Elementary, Galles, was nominated by Mary Salocker, a parent of a former student.

Salocker said in her nomination form that Galles is dedicated to the achievement of every child she teaches.

"Mrs. Galles was my daughter's third grade teacher," said Salocker. "I was appreciative of the insight Mrs. Galles possessed, her dedication to achievement for every child, and her passion to teach the "whole child". When I use the description "whole child", I am referring to the child's mental, physical, emotional and social needs."

Gronbach is a kindergarten teacher at Cooper Elementary School described by her colleague Cathy Jordison as a bright cheerful person who brings positive energy to the schools climate.

"She is always prompt and reliable about her class and school responsibilities," Jordison said. "She exhibits a respectful relationship with children and a positive working attitude with fellow staff members."

Adams teachs English and creative writing classes at Fort Dodge Senior High. She was nominated by former student Joshua Lennon.

"Out of all the teachers in the Fort Dodge Senior High School, I know Mrs. Andi Adams deserves the Golden Apple Award because of her unusual but effective way of teaching to keep her students involved and willing to learn," Lennon said in his nomination letter. "She is someone students admire in the school because she puts forth the effort to make sure high school students succeed in what they put their minds to."

Foster, who teaches preschool at Southeast Webster-Grand, was nominated by her principal, Rich Wagner.

"Every year it amazes me how Mrs. Foster is able to help these young students grow socially, behaviorally and academically," said Wagner. "What a difference in these children from the first day of school in August to the last day in May. I honestly believe that the reason that her class and her students are so successful is due to the fact that Mrs. Foster truly loves what she is doing and the kids she works with. She has high expectations for her kids and their progress."

Hanson, an art teacher at Fort Dodge Senior High, was nominated by Maureen Seamonds, professor of art at Iowa Central Community College.

Seamonds said in her nomination letter that she is inspired by Hanson's commitment to providing extra-curricular activities to his students.

"Whenever there is an exhibition at the college for high school students, he makes sure his students are involved and he provides the necessary encouragement and support that it takes to get the work to the show."

The recognition awards banquet will begin with a social at 6 p.m. Tuesday followed by a dinner and program at 6:30 at the Willow Ridge Golf Course, 1788 Madison Ave.

Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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