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Marshall’s Northouse Receives 2024 Iowa STEM Teacher Award

Theressa Northouse poses with a large check when receiving the Northeast Iowa STEAM Teacher AwardThe Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council at the Iowa Department of Education is proud to announce Theressa Northouse, a technology coach at Marshall Elementary School, has been named as a recipient of the 2024 Iowa STEM Teacher Award, sponsored by Kemin Industries. The award is given to six educators each year who go above and beyond to inspire student interest in and awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Now in its 10th year, the award is given annually to one full-time, licensed preK-12 teacher from each of the six STEM regions in Iowa. Each recipient is honored for their efforts to foster enthusiasm and inspire a passion for STEM that goes beyond the classroom and helps prepare students for future high-demand careers.

Northouse was recognized for her efforts in going above and beyond in providing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) experiences at Marshall Elementary School. She has established several STEM clubs at her school, including a Coding Club, a Girls Who Code Club, and a Robot Club. Northouse’s work in the teaching of computer science is done with equity in mind, because she believes in the importance of students being able to see themselves in jobs that involve STEM.

Northouse has always collaborated with companies like John Deere and The National Inventors Hall of Fame to bring real-life, hands-on opportunities to the classroom. Her grant writing also produced Finch, Sphero, and DASH robots to ensure coding and robotics at all grade levels, while infusing creative challenges for the kids to keep them engaged. Northouse was described by her nominator for this award as “bringing tremendous energy to the classroom to keep kids engaged and wanting more STEAM.”

As a recipient of the 2024 Iowa STEM Teacher Award, Northouse will receive $1,500 to use for her classroom and $1,500 for personal use.


About the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

Established in July 2011 via Governor’s Executive Order, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council leverages public-private partnerships of educators, companies and Iowa students and families to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The Council’s work supports strong college and career pathways for students and growth for state and local economies. The 44-member STEM Council is co-chaired by Governor Kim Reynolds and Foundation Analytical Laboratory Owner and Director of Technical Services Diane Young. For more information, visit

About Kemin Industries

Kemin Industries ( is a global ingredient manufacturer that strives to sustainably transform the quality of life every day for 80 percent of the world with its products and services. The company supplies over 500 specialty ingredients for human and animal health and nutrition, pet food, aquaculture, nutraceutical, food technologies, crop technologies, textile, biofuel and animal vaccine industries.

For over half a century, Kemin has been dedicated to using applied science to address industry challenges and offer product solutions to customers in more than 120 countries. Kemin provides ingredients to feed a growing population with its commitment to the quality, safety and efficacy of food, feed and health-related products.

Established in 1961, Kemin is a privately held, family-owned-and-operated company with more than 3,000 global employees and operations in 90 countries, including manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Italy, San Marino, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.


Wagner Named Next Irving Elementary School Principal

Renee Wagner (photo)

Renee Wagner

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Renee Wagner as the new principal of Irving Elementary School for the 2024-2025 school year, pending approval by the Board of Education at its March meeting. Wagner, who currently serves as an instructional coach at Drexler Middle School in Farley, Iowa, replaces Susan Meehan, who was recently named administrator of the district’s new Seedlings Preschool Center.

As principal of Irving, Wagner will be responsible for the strategic and day-to-day operations of the school, which serves approximately 410 students and has over 85 professional and support staff.

Wagner assumes this role after serving as an instructional coach at Drexler Middle School since 2020. Prior to that, she was an instructional coach at Western Dubuque High School from 2014-2020. Prior to her role in instructional leadership, she served as a teacher at Drexler Middle and Intermediate School from 2010-2014 and was a Title I reading teacher at Cascade Elementary School.

“Renee brings a students-first philosophy that is guided by her strong track record of building positive relationships and her expertise in proven instructional practices,” said Superintendent of Schools Amy Hawkins. “That, combined with her positive attitude and excitement for learning make her the right fit to lead Irving into the future.”

Wagner holds a bachelor of arts degree in elementary and middle level education from the University of Northern Iowa, a K-8 reading endorsement from Clarke University, and a master’s degree in education (educational administration) from Loras College.

Hatcher Named Next Kennedy Elementary School Principal

Rich Hatcher (photo)

Rich Hatcher

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Rich Hatcher as the new principal of Kennedy Elementary School for the 2024-2025 school year, pending approval by the Board of Education at its March meeting. Hatcher, who currently serves as assistant principal at Western Dubuque High School, replaces Nick Hess, who was recently named principal of Marshall Elementary School in the district.

As principal of Kennedy, Hatcher will be responsible for the strategic and day-to-day operations of the school, which serves approximately 585 students and has over 81 professional and support staff.

Hatcher assumes this new role after serving as assistant principal of Western Dubuque High School since 2017. Prior to his time in the Western Dubuque Community School District, he was a student needs facilitator at Jefferson Middle School in Dubuque from 2014-2017 and was an instructional coach and talented/gifted facilitator at Jefferson from 2007-2014. Prior to that, he was a science and geography teacher at Williams Intermediate School and F.L. Smart Middle School, respectively, which are both in Davenport, Iowa.

“Rich is an energetic, relationship-driven administrator who thrives on building connections with families, student and staff,” said Superintendent of Schools Amy Hawkins. “We are thrilled to welcome him back to the Dubuque Community School District and we are excited for all he will bring to this role at Kennedy.”

Hatcher holds a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, a master of educational leadership degree from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill.

Twelve District Schools Receive 2023 ENERGY STAR Certification

School Board members and district administrators receive ENERGY STAR Certificates from Cenergistic

The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce that 12 district buildings have earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Certification for 2023. This recognition is presented to the most energy efficient buildings in the country.

“ENERGY STAR recognition underscores our district’s commitment to energy efficiency,” said Dubuque Community School District Superintendent Amy Hawkins. “Our energy conservation efforts are saving taxpayer dollars while also helping protect the local environment and maintaining healthy, comfortable learning spaces for students and staff.”

To earn ENERGY STAR Certification, buildings must rate in the top 25 percent nationwide for energy efficiency and meet ventilation standards.

Dubuque Community School District buildings earning ENERGY STAR Certification include:

  • Audubon Elementary School
  • Carver Elementary School
  • Dubuque Senior High School
  • Eisenhower Elementary School
  • Hempstead High School
  • Irving Elementary School
  • Kennedy Elementary School
  • Marshall Elementary School
  • Prescott Elementary School
  • Roosevelt Middle School
  • Sageville Elementary School
  • Table Mound Elementary School

Since partnering with Cenergistic on a comprehensive energy conservation program, the Dubuque Community School District has saved an estimated $2,054,909, with an environmental impact equivalent to taking 1,185 cars off the street or removing the energy used from 671 homes for a year.

The cost of utilities is the second-largest operational budget line-item for Dubuque Community School District, and the prices for electricity, natural gas, water, and sewage have been steadily increasing.

To combat these rising energy and utility costs, Dubuque Community School District entered into a partnership with Cenergistic to implement a comprehensive organizational behavior-driven energy conservation program throughout all its buildings and campuses. Cenergistic guarantees the conservation program will save taxpayer dollars. Since the program was first implemented, Dubuque Community Schools has reduced its energy consumption by 22 percent.

Dubuque Community Schools’ comprehensive energy conservation program addresses energy use throughout the organization. Energy specialists track energy consumption at all campuses through state-of-the-art technology to identify and correct areas where energy is over-used.

Energy Specialist Josh Pociask works closely with district personnel as well as Cenergistic engineers and experts to continually optimize systems and schedules. Together they monitor energy use with advanced technology and shape energy-using practices through education — affecting how each person in the organization understands, uses, and saves energy for years to come. The outcome is healthier, more efficient buildings using less energy — and lower related costs.

Suicide prevention header

Suicide Prevention Event, Nov. 2

Join us for a
Dubuque Community School District
Family Education Series Event

A Message of Hope and Recovery

Thursday, November 2
6-7:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Middle School Lass Auditorium


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth aged 14-18. In addition, 1 in 5 youth have reported they are seriously considering suicide.

At this presentation, you’ll hear from guest speaker Kristen who will share her story of how she was able to cope and recover from the impact of significant trauma in her childhood. The presentation is sponsored by the Duck Cup Memorial Fund.

The presentation will be followed by a panel of local experts and a question-and-answer session, including:

  • Ann Butzier, Parent and UnityPoint Health Nurse
  • Kristen Nolen, Dubuque Senior High School Brain Health Retreat Room Liaison
  • Dr. Michael Peroski, Medical Associates Psychiatrist
  • Dan Powers, Alta Vista Campus Administrator and Former School Counselor

Local agencies will also be present before and after the event to talk with families and offer resources.

Dubuque Community Schools to Host Bond Referendum Information Sessions

The Dubuque Community School District will host a series of upcoming community information meetings on the $150 million school bond referendum that will be on the November election ballot.

Sessions will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 30, at Bryant Elementary School; Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Eisenhower Elementary School; and Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Marshall Elementary School. Each meeting will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.


The meeting will feature information on projects included in the bond referendum, which include:

  • Construction of a new, modern middle school on the Washington Middle School site to replace the more than 100-year-old Washington and Jefferson buildings while ensuring access to similar, high-quality facilities for all middle school students in the district.
  • Addition of air conditioning (and other HVAC mechanical improvements) to all schools in the district currently without it.
  • Construction of a gymnasium addition to Eisenhower Elementary School to eliminate space constraints due to not having a separate gymnasium and lunch/multipurpose room.
  • Construction of a baseball and softball complex with lights, restrooms, and concessions.
  • Land acquisition for a potential future elementary school aligned with geographic population shifts.

At the meeting, the team from INVISION Architecture leading the bond facility project planning will provide an overview of the projects. They will also discuss the financial impacts of the bond, which will not cause the district’s overall tax levy rate to change.

News mobile registration employment fair featured image 1

2023 Mobile Registration + Employment Fair, Aug. 5-10

Need help registering your student?
Looking for a job in an amazing school district?
We are hitting the road and bringing the district to you!

Visit our registration and human resources teams at one of our Mobile Registration and Employment Fair stops throughout the community.

At each stop:

  • Our registration team will be on hand to assist families in completing online registration for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.
  • Our human resources team will take applications and conduct on-the-spot interviews for a variety of district jobs, including paraprofessional, transportation and food/nutrition positions.
  • Computers with internet access will be provided – and we even have a few treats in store!

Join us at one of the following times:

Saturday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m.- 2p.m.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL BASH: Audubon Elementary School
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL BASH, including the shuttle schedule to get there!

Monday, Aug. 7, 1-3 p.m.
Allison-Henderson Park

Tuesday, Aug. 8, from 3-5 p.m.
Hempstead High School

Wednesday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Murphy Park

Thursday, Aug. 10, from 1-3 p.m.
Roosevelt Middle School

We look forward to seeing you!

Dubuque Community School District Adds Competitive Dance to Extracurricular Offerings, Dance Clinic Scheduled for July 20

The Dubuque Community School District has added competitive dance to its high school extracurricular offerings for the 2023-2024 school year, with teams taking shape at Dubuque Senior High School and Hempstead High School.

As part of the launch of these new teams, a Dance Clinic will be held for students entering grades 9-12 at Dubuque Senior and Hempstead on Thursday, July 20, from 9 a.m.-noon at Dubuque Senior’s Nora Gymnasium.

Cost for the camp is $25 per person and reservations can be made at

With the addition of this new activity also comes the appointment of inaugural head coaches for these teams. The district is pleased to announce the appointment of Kylie Goedken as the head coach of the Dubuque Senior High School dance team and Angie Olson as head coach of the Hempstead High School program.

Goedken, a graduate of Dubuque Senior, is owner/studio head director at Xtreme Dance in Dubuque. Olson is a German teacher at Hempstead who brings a variety of competitive dance experience to the role. Both schools will begin competition in the upcoming school year.

District Receives Excellence in Financial Reporting Award

The Dubuque Community School District was recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) for having met the program’s high standards for financial reporting and transparency. The award is for the district’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for the fiscal year ending in 2022.

This is the 14th consecutive year the district has received this honor.

“The COE’s mission is to promote and recognize excellence in financial reporting,” said ASBO International Chief Operations Officer/Interim Executive Director Siobhan McMahon. “The Annual Comprehensive Financial Report informs stakeholders about the financial and economic state of the district, making it an important communications tool for building trust and engaging with the school community.”

“We are committed to responsibly using and reporting on the financial resources that we are entrusted with,” said Kevin Kelleher, chief financial officer for the Dubuque Community Schools. “Our annual financial report is one tool in doing so and we hope our Certificate of Excellence helps assure taxpayers of our commitment to the highest standards of financial management.”

Each year, the Dubuque Community School District manages an overall budget of approximately $190 million. By participating in the Certificate of Excellence Program, school districts submit their ACFR for review by a team of financial professionals who provide feedback to improve future documents. According to ASBO, recognition in the Certificate of Excellence program can facilitate bond rating and continuing bond disclosure processes.

The recognition program is presented by the Association of School Business Officials International and is sponsored by American Fidelity, provider of cost-savings solutions and supplemental insurance benefits.

The Association of School Business Officials International is a non-profit that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. It provides programs and services to promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation.

Music notes

District Recognized Among 2023 ‘Best Communities for Music Education’

The Dubuque Community School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

2023 Best Communities for Music Education (logo)This is the seventh consecutive year the district has received the honor.

Now in its 24th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Music teachers in the district are congratulated by representatives of West Music on the Best Communities for Music Education Award from the NAMM Foundation

Music teachers in the district are congratulated on the Best Communities for Music Education Award from the NAMM Foundation

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also to attend college as well.

In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.