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It’s an exciting time for those who are involved in education in the Cedar Valley. In some form or another the efforts of local educators touch us all, so we should all share in the excitement of the recent announcement of this year’s Gold Star Award teachers.

Now we look forward to the program honoring these teachers at 7 p.m. May 22 in the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa. Those who have attended in the past know it’s a lively and exciting ceremony as appropriate as it is encouraging.

Just ask yourself: Where would we be without great teachers?

The Gold Star program was developed in 1989 by the R.J. McElroy Trust and KWWL-TV as a way to help improve education in Northeast Iowa by encouraging outstanding teachers. Each Gold Star Award winner receives $1,000.

This is the 30th year of the event, and we believe it’s had an impact on bringing well-deserved attention — not only to each year’s award winners — but to all of the teachers who impact so many lives every day.

This year the McElroy Trust received 954 nominations for 525 teachers in Black Hawk County. They were nominated by students, parents, community members and colleagues.

These 10 Gold Star teachers have been noticed for their expertise and passion in delivering education and support to Cedar Valley students.

These professionals would be the first to tell you they are representative of the hundreds of teachers in our area schools who do their utmost in helping kids achieve their full potential. This year’s Gold Star Award teachers are:

  • Marit Beisner, kindergarten teacher, Cedar Heights Elementary School, Cedar Falls.
  • Ben Byersdorfer, seventh-ninth grade band teacher, Peet Junior High School, Cedar Falls.
  • Ashley Cardamone, seventh-ninth grade art teacher, Holmes Junior High School, Cedar Falls.
  • Tammy Frahm, special needs teacher, Cedar Falls High School.
  • Juanita Kimpston, prekindergarten teacher, Fred Becker Elementary School, Waterloo.
  • Nick Kuhle, sixth-grade math teacher, Hoover Middle School, Waterloo.
  • Robin Loes, K-eighth grade expanded learning program teacher, Kingsley Elementary School, Waterloo.
  • Susan Neverman, first-grade teacher, St. Joseph School.
  • Jason Scheitler, sixth-grade social studies/religion teacher, Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School, Waterloo.
  • Elizabeth Zondo, ninth-12th grade at-risk coordinator, Union High School, La Porte City.

The public is invited to attend the event at the GBPAC, which is free of charge. Tickets, however, are necessary for admission and are available at

We thank those who took the time to make nominations and Gold Star organizers for acknowledging the talented and inspiring teachers in the Cedar Valley. We look forward to them being honored in front of their family, friends, colleagues, community leaders, education supporters and — last but not least — the kids.

These outstanding teachers represent the hard work and dedication of all the teachers in the Cedar Valley.

Their impact on our children and, in turn, on our society, is immeasurable.


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