By Elianna Novitch
Alumnus George Anderson was named 2020 Iowa Teacher of the Year
University of Iowa College of Education alumnus George Anderson, who graduated from the UI in 2006 with a M.A. in Social Studies Education, was named the Iowa Department of Education’s 2020 Teacher of the Year today.
Governor Kim Reynolds presented Anderson with the award at Cedar Rapids’ Kennedy High School where he works as a history teacher and is an assistant football coach. He also serves on the school’s leadership team.
Anderson is a 13-year teaching veteran who presents his history classes as hands-on, problem-solving opportunities.
“Outstanding educators like George Anderson help shape our state’s future,” Gov. Reynolds says. “Providing more than just facts from a page, George brings moments of historical significance to life in the present day. Thank you, George, and to all our educators for putting Iowans on a path to be successful.”
Anderson, a former Marine, says he educates students to discover for themselves the concepts behind social studies.
“As a teacher I like active rooms, students moving around and discussing the material with other students,” he says. “I like to see students engage with the material of history in a way that isn't just fact recollection or sequencing events. I want student-centered dynamics in the classroom. I do not want to be the center of attention.”
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.
“The Teacher of the Year award honors outstanding teachers who have made an impact on their students and colleagues,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise says. “As a former social studies teacher, I was particularly enthusiastic hearing about how George makes social studies come alive and relevant in his classroom.