Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Tuesday the names of all 16 members of her first Governor’s Teachers Cabinet, which is being convened to give teachers a more prominent voice in education policy decisions. In August, she announced the names of the first seven members and sought additional nominations from the public by Oct. 15. Iowans submitted the names of 46 candidates for consideration.

Cabinet members will meet quarterly with Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise to offer their advice about how to better prepare all students for the knowledge economy, elevate the teaching profession and strengthen the direct line of communication between the governor’s office, schools and communities. The first meeting will be Jan. 4 in Des Moines.

“Teachers are the most important influence inside schools and play a critical role in keeping our students, communities and state competitive,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I look forward to having in-depth conversations with teachers about how to increase student achievement and engagement. Future Ready Iowa sets the goal of 70 percent of our workforce with education or training beyond high school by 2025, but all of today’s high school graduates must be ready for college or career training. What else should we be doing to support Iowa children, teachers and school counselors?”

“Recognition is growing that we must better connect what students learn in the classroom to future careers,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “As the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning and other initiatives expand school-business partnerships, what would be most helpful to teachers in both rural and urban communities across our state? We are eager to hear from these outstanding educators.”


Maggie Davis, 3/4 Multiage Teacher

The 16 members of the Governor’s Teachers Cabinet, who represent a mix of content expertise, grade levels, and rural and urban communities, are:

  1. Jed Batterson, Elementary School Teacher and Building Technology Integration Leader, Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary School, Cedar Falls Community School District, Cedar Falls High School Robotics Team Assistant Coach
  2. Maggie Davis, Elementary Teacher, Central Elementary School, Nevada Community School District, 2017 Iowa Technology & Education Connection Outstanding Educator of the Year
  3. Jodie Geist, Special Education Teacher, Mount Ayr High School, Mount Ayr Community School District, specializes in helping students transition from high school to adult life
  4. Laura Gilbert-Harwood, Language Arts Teacher and Theater Director, Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School, Waterloo, McElroy Trust 2017 Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching
  5. Sheila Graham, Welding Instructor, Career Academy of Pella, Pella Community School District, 2017 American Welding Society Howard Adkins Instructor of the Year
  6. Denise Hoag, Computer Science Teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs Community School District, was previously employed in the corporate world as a computer programmer
  7. Mary Johnson, Career Coordinator, Pleasant Valley High School, Pleasant Valley Community School District, Iowa ACT College and Career Readiness K-12 Champion for 2018
  8. Traci Lust, Master Teacher, Cornell Elementary School, Saydel Community School District, has worked in primary grades including preschool, with a focus on early literacy, and has also served as a Dean of Students
  9. Alex Oliver, Social Studies Teacher, Riverside High School in Carson, Riverside Community School District, Cross Country, Wrestling and Track Coach
  10. Joni Readout, Instructional Coach, Central Decatur Junior-Senior High School, Central Decatur Community School District, Iowa 2017-18 Milken Educator Award Winner
  11. Vanesa Sanchez, Elementary Dual Language Teacher, Denison Elementary School, Denison Community School District
  12. Greg Smith, Industrial Technology and Project Lead the Way Teacher, Davenport West High School, Davenport Community School District, 2017 Kemin I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award
  13. Vidal Spaine, Special Education Teacher, East High School, Des Moines Independent Community School District, grew up in Sierra Leone and lived in Ukraine before emigrating to the United States
  14. Aileen Sullivan, Chemistry Teacher, Ames High School, Ames Community School District, Iowa 2018 Teacher of the Year
  15. Shelly Vroegh, Elementary Instructional Coach, Norwalk Community School District, Iowa 2017 Teacher of the Year
  16. Jordan Young, History Teacher, George Washington High School, Cedar Rapids Community School District, Football and Track Coach