"Our teachers play a critical role in shaping Iowa's future, and our state is home to some of the very best teachers in the nation," Culver said. "As a former teacher, I know that the dedication and commitment of Iowa's teachers is an inspiration, and Molly Boyle is a shining example of the very best of her profession. Her work - with her students, her colleagues and her community - has earned her the honor of Iowa's 2011 Teacher of the Year."
Iowa Department of Education Acting Director Kevin Fangman added: "Molly is not only an exceptional teacher in the classroom, she is also a leader among her colleagues, working to coach and mentor other teachers on best practices and supporting efforts to provide quality professional development that has a positive impact throughout her school."
"We're extremely proud of Molly's selection as Iowa's Teacher of The Year," said Dr. David Wilkerson, Superintendent of the Waukee Community School District. "She is an excellent educator and will do a great job representing educators around the state. Molly has a passion and enthusiasm for teaching that is contagious for her students and fellow teachers. Most importantly, students always come first with Molly."
Boyle was nominated by Dr. Brian Cooper, the parent of one of her students, who noted that "what is most impressive about Mrs. Boyle is not that she can motivate the children who are already doing well in school, but that she can motivate all of her students to perform at an exceptional level."
In her application, Boyle points to the need for educators to prepare for the future: "The potential to create 21st century classrooms where students are curious, creative, and technologically savvy is available. In order for this to occur, districts will be required to hold teachers accountable for adhering to revised curriculum, while at the same time committing to providing teachers with the training and time they need to transform their teaching and instructional practice."
One person very familiar with Boyle's work is Chris Smith, principal at Walnut Hills Elementary School. Smith refers to Boyle as "a model teacher" and says: "Molly is an excellent educator. Her knowledge and expertise in instruction and learning is unparalleled. She is student-centered and student-focused."
Boyle has taught in the Waukee Community School District since 2001, teaching at Walnut Hills, Prairieview and Brookview schools. During that time she has also been an instructional coach and K-8 literacy strategist for the school district. In addition, Boyle has taught in the Des Moines, Hudson and Osage school districts.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts degree in Reading Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She has done additional post-graduate studies at Viterbo University and Drake University, and has been a member of Choice Literacy and the International Reading Association.
Finalists for the award were:
- Thomas G. Cuvelier, a science teacher at Senior High School in the Dubuque Community School District, Dubuque, Iowa;
- Donna Sue Lawler, an instruction coach at Southeast Elementary School in the Ankeny Community School District, Ankeny, Iowa;
- Deborah Ann Masker, a vocal music teacher at Kirn Middle School in the Council Bluffs Community School District, Council Bluffs, Iowa;
- Laurie K. Powell, a 4th grade teacher at Smith Elementary School in the Sioux City Community School District, Sioux City, Iowa.
Boyle and the finalists will be recognized at a luncheon, sponsored by Qwest Communications, on October 22, 2010 at the Ruan Center in Des Moines. Boyle's tenure as Iowa Teacher of the Year will run from January to December of 2011.
The Iowa Teacher of the Year Award was established in 1958 and is sponsored Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa legislature. For more information on the Iowa Teacher of the Year program, please visit the Iowa Department of Education website at www.iowa.gov/educate/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=686&Itemid=1503. The Iowa Teacher of the Year serves as the Iowa Ambassador to Education, acting as liaison to primary and secondary schools, higher education and organizations across the state.