Iowa State graduate Sarah Brown Wessling named National Teacher of the Year

AMES, Iowa -- It's the most prestigious award in teaching, and it comes to Iowa State University graduate Sarah Brown Wessling after only 10 years on the job.

Wessling was named today as National Teacher of the Year in a ceremony at the White House. President Barack Obama will announce her as the recipient in a special ceremony on Thursday, April 29. She is on hand in Washington, D.C. for the announcement and gala celebration with state teachers of the year from across the country.

The Johnston High School language arts teacher was named the 2010 Iowa Teacher of the Year in October.

"To me, the award says that I have created an environment where learning is valued," Wessling said after earning the Iowa Teacher of the Year honor. "It recognizes the authentic nature of my classroom, where students are given chances to make mistakes without being penalized, helping them to learn and become strong, successful people."

Since earning that award in January, Wessling has traveled the state as an education ambassador, working with teachers and their students, as well as education students at colleges and universities.

Wessling holds both a bachelor's degree ('98) and master's degree ('03) in English from Iowa State, where she also completed the teacher licensure program.

Wessling, a Johnston High School language arts teacher, works with her class outside the high school. Photo by Dawn Kasotia, Johnston Community School District

Wessling's accomplishments will be celebrated upon her return to Iowa. The Johnston Community School District and Johnston High School will host an assembly on Thursday, May 6 for students at 2:15 p.m. in the high school gym and a congratulatory reception for the community at 4:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers, who honor 50 state recipients and select one winner for the Anthony J. Mullen National Teacher of the Year award.