North Tama’s Brenda Kaufmann named 2024 Iowa Teacher of the Year finalist

Ann Mincks of Hoover High School named Teacher of the Year


DES MOINES – Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow announced earlier today that Ann Mincks, a 15-year teacher, is the 2024 Iowa Teacher of the Year during an assembly at Hoover High School in Des Moines, while Brenda Kaufmann, a second-grade teacher at North Tama Elementary, was named as one of six finalists this year.

“[Mrs. Kaufmann] was nominated by a colleague last spring and has been aware of [the honor] for a while, but she and her administrators were sworn to secrecy!” North Tama Superintendent David Hill said in an email sent to staff on Monday that was shared with the Telegraph.

“It has been so hard keeping this a secret from all of you during the selection process over the past few months, and it is such a relief now being able to inform you that Brenda Kaufman has been recognized as one of the top educators in the state of Iowa.”

The Teacher of the Year award recognizes exceptional teachers who demonstrate excellence in the classroom and who have made a significant impact on student outcomes and their fellow educators.

“Each day, Iowa’s outstanding teachers, like Ann Mincks, provide students with what they need to meet high expectations and realize their incredible potential,” Director Snow said during Monday’s assembly in Des Moines. “Ann is an expert in meeting the needs of students who are English language learners and leverages the Science of Reading to best support students. On behalf of Governor Reynolds and all of us at the Iowa Department of Education, we thank Iowa’s dedicated educators and congratulate Ann on this honor!”

Mincks, 39, teaches English to English language learning high schools, many of whom are newcomers, in the Des Moines Community School District. She comes from a family of teachers and has helped to increase literacy proficiency at her school through the use of evidence-based, effective literacy instruction grounded in the Science of Reading.

“I believe our actions as educators matter,” she said. “I want students to have an experience that truly breaks down the walls of the classroom and connects students to their future successes in a career and as a community member.”

The finalists for the 2024 Iowa Teacher of the Year:

-Daniel Black, a music teacher in the Council Bluffs Community School District

-Thomas Braverman, a special education teacher formerly in the Iowa City Community School District

-Rachel Evanoff, a science teacher in the Dubuque Community School District

-Tiffany Herr, an elementary school teacher in the Norwalk Community School District

-Brenda Kaufmann, an elementary school teacher in the North Tama County Community School District

-Nicole Schroeder, an elementary school teacher in the Saydel 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 schools, higher education and communities across the state.

“It is an incredible honor to be named a finalist for the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed upon a teacher in the state of Iowa,” Supt. Hill further wrote. “Please join me in congratulating Brenda on this much-deserved recognition!”

A full profile of Kaufmann will feature in a future edition of the Telegraph.