Vinton, IA – Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District congratulates Kelly Steffen as this year’s Iowa History Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made on Thursday, October 17, 2019, by the Iowa Department of Education Mrs. Steffen has played a vital role in the Vinton-Shellsburg district for the last 20 years as an American History Teacher at the high school. Steffen finds the relevance presented in historical context and primary sources to help engage her students and allow them to draw their own conclusions. Kelly hopes that her passion is known and can be felt when they approach new topics in class.
“The disciplines that make up “social studies” teach us how to understand ourselves, how to understand those around us, how to understand our past, and how utilizing this information can help us become educated, contributing members of society,” says Steffen, “We study social studies, so that we may be well-informed, contributing members of society.”
“Kelly Steffen has a passion for her students and history,” says Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District Superintendent Mary Jo Hainstock. “She’s been able to combine those passions as a teacher for our district over the last 20 years. The district is thrilled that she is being recognized for her excellence and commitment to students!”
“Finding relevance is one way I work to engage students,” Steffen said. “I’m hoping to incorporate more state and local history into the classroom. I invite local veterans to speak about their experiences with 20th-century conflicts or other local experts regarding religion or historical events. I also have students visit our local history and Veterans Museum. The new social studies standards and resources have helped make this goal more of a reality.”
“We all work really hard to ensure the best learning opportunities for our students. I feel honored to be surrounded by people who love what they do and inspire the next generation.” Steffen comments.
Steffen’s award is through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, following a recommendation from an Iowa Department of Education committee.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute promotes and celebrates accomplishments in American history education and scholarship, and every year honors one exemplary elementary, middle, or high school history teacher from all 50 states, Department of Defense schools, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. State winners receive a $1,000 prize, an archive of classroom resources, and recognition at a ceremony in their state, and are considered for the National History Teacher of the Year award.
Thank you, Kelly, for being a Difference Maker in our district, and congratulations on this honor! If you’d like to join us in congratulating Kelly Steffen, leave a message on our Facebook post