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Gov. Reynolds announces 2023 Iowa Teacher of the Year

Date: Monday, November 28, 2022

"2023 TOY"MITCHELLVILLE -- Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Krystal Colbert, a 16-year veteran teacher, as the Iowa Department of Education’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, during an assembly at Mitchellville Elementary School in central Iowa.

Watch an interview with 2023 Iowa Teacher of the Year Krystal Colbert.

See photos and watch the announcement video from the event.

“I am proud of the amazing work Krystal Colbert is doing to make a difference in the lives of her students and the impact she is having on the education system in our state,” said Governor Reynolds. “Outstanding educators like Krystal see that possibilities for growth are endless when you connect students and what they are learning with their community. Every day, she leads by example, focusing on how to make education better so all students can and do perform at the highest levels.”

“The Teacher of the Year award honors outstanding teachers who have made an impact on their students and colleagues,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo said. “Krystal is a life-long learner, teacher leader and a Lighthouse team member working to build leadership and life skills in students. Her focus on supporting each student’s learning style and her ability to see challenges as opportunities for growth will help advance our education system as we move forward.”

Colbert, who is a second grade teacher in the Southeast Polk Community School District, says students who believe in themselves will be successful in school.

“Here at Mitchellville, we are teaching our students that positive self-affirmations, healthy habits, and having a growth mindset are essential in reaching their highest potential,” she said. “We are affirming to our students every day that they are loved and valued and that we care about their success.”

Colbert, along with her husband Jason and children Jamison and Emersynn, lives in Altoona. 

The finalists for the 2023 Iowa Teacher of the Year are:

  • Lori Brandt, a special education teacher in the Sioux Center Community School District.
  • Levi Letsche, a high school mathematics teacher from the Sheldon Community School District.
  • Amy Phillips, an elementary teacher in the Marshalltown Community School District.
  • Corrine Schalk, an elementary teacher in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.
  • Katie Weldon, a middle school mathematics teacher in the Norwalk Community School District.

The Iowa Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958. The annual program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Honorees serve as ambassadors to education and act as liaisons to schools, higher education, and organizations across the state.