The Dubuque Community School District Teacher of the Year was named at the annual Educators’ Recognition Reception on May 11, hosted by the Dubuque Education Association.
Cassie McDonald, an English language learners (ELL) teacher at Dubuque Senior High School, was selected for the honor.
McDonald joined the district as a Spanish teacher at Dubuque Senior High School in 2005-2010. From 2019-2022 she also served in that role until 2022 when she taught in a dual ELL teaching role at Dubuque Senior and at the district’s Alta Vista Campus. This school year, she returned to teaching ELL full-time at Dubuque Senior.
Outside of the district, she is an English Speaker of Other Languages (ESOL) instructor at Northeast Iowa Community College, an English instructor in the online VIPKid English Program, and an independent contractor language training tutor for John Deere. She also served as a high school English teacher in Delavan, Wisconsin, from 2002-2005.
McDonald holds a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and English: Language and Secondary Education from Loras College and a master of education degree in English Language Learning from the University of North Dakota – Grand Forks.
“Cassie McDonald has built a community of caring and learning for her students that helps them gain confidence, find success and feel at home at Senior High School,” said one of McDonald’s nominators. “When most teachers are packing up and heading home for the day, Cassie can be found conducting an after-school study hall/support group for her students to give them extra care and connectedness to ensure they stay on track. She’s a hero for her students, and they would tell you as much.”
Other finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award were:
- Ann Arnold, Alta Vista Campus
- Emilie Foust, Table Mound Elementary School
- Amy Freiburger, Sageville Elementary School
- Andrea Runde, Hempstead High School
- Lorlie Ryan, Lincoln Elementary School
- Kristal Schaul, Kennedy Elementary School
- Alli Steepleton, Jefferson Middle School
- Dan Tringale, Jefferson Middle School
- Karla Weber, Hempstead High School
Also at the event:
Project Rooted received the Friend of Education Award, presented for the organization’s efforts to provide students with access to and education about nutritious foods and fresh, local produce. This happens though the group’s Rooted Boxes, created once a month for first-graders in the district’s elementary schools. The boxes are themed and include a journal; fresh, local ingredients; and a utensil (such as a mini cutting board or portable fork and spoon). The boxes also include Rooted Buck, which are vouchers that can be redeemed at Dubuque’s Farmer’s Market, giving children the opportunity to choose healthy foods while making a connection with local community members who grow/produce it.