Cedar Rapids teacher, former Marine, named Iowa's 2020 Teacher of the Year

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa Department of Education's 2020 Teacher of the Year is a 13-year teaching veteran from Cedar Rapids’ Kennedy High School.

On Wednesday Gov. Kim Reynolds announced George Anderson (above), a teacher at Cedar Rapids’ Kennedy High School, as Iowa's 2020 Teacher of the Year. (Jackie Kennon/KCRG)

George Anderson is a history teacher and assistant football coach at the high school. He also serves on the school’s leadership team.

Gov. Kim Reynolds made the announcement at the school Wednesday morning.

“Outstanding educators like George Anderson help shape our state’s future,” Reynolds said. “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, 43, 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,” Anderson said. “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 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 said. “As a former social studies teacher, I was particularly enthusiastic hearing about how George makes social studies come alive and relevant in his classroom.”

In the 61-year history of the Iowa Teacher of the Year program, there have been two Teachers of the Year out of the Cedar Rapids district. The other, Tania Johnson, was named Iowa’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.

There were four other finalists for the 2020 award. They included:

• Corrine Brown, fourth-grade teacher at Cedar Heights Elementary School, Cedar Falls Community School District
• Luis Lemus, a dual language teacher at Irving Dual Language Elementary School, Sioux City Community School District
• Dan Loy, fifth-grade teacher at Beaver Creek Elementary School, Johnston Community School District
• Joan Nikkel, seventh-grade language arts teacher, Pella Middle School, Pella Community School District