Iowa Reading Awards & Scholarships

Iowa Reading Association offers many awards and scholarships to deserving individuals throughout Iowa. The following awards and scholarships are available: Service Award, Celebrate Literacy, Iowa Service, Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year, Iowa Reading Administrator of the Year, and Scholarship Winners.

2021-22 Award Application Criteria & Forms

Iowa Reading Association Service Award

recipient: Diane Bean

The Iowa Service Award may be given for unusual and distinguished service to the Iowa Reading Association. The criteria is admirable service to the Iowa Reading Association in some specific capacity or capacities, requiring special skills, knowledge, and creative effort (eg., as editor, TV producer, founder, etc. on local, state/provincial , national and international levers). Nominee may be a teacher or a school administrator. The results must make a significant impact on the growth of the Iowa Reading Association, on the dissemination of research findings, on the increase of legislation favoring good reading programs or on some other area within the broad field of reading.

Past Service Award Recipients
  • 2018-19 - Marlene Reece
  • 2017-2018 - Heidi Stangl
  • 2016-2017 - Nancy Wright
  • 2014-2015 - Clark Goltz
  • 2013-2014 - Debra Wake
  • 2012-2013 - Mary Pieper
  • 2010-2011 - Glenadean Betterton
  • 2009-2010 - Karla Bronzynski
  • 2009 - Carol Walthart
  • 2008 - Janet Adams
  • 2007 - Deb Mortensen
  • 2006 - Rick Bartosh
  • 2005 - Joy Reinert
  • 2004 - Mary Ann Stuart
  • 2003 - Nancy White
  • 2002 - Leslie Titler
  • 1999 - Yvonne Wilson
  • 1997 - Oline Stigers
  • 1996 - George Wm. Holland
  • 1990 - Coleen McClannahan
  • 1988 - Juanita Reckoff
Diane’s teaching career began in the early 1980’s as well as her member- ship to the Eastern Iowa Reading Council. She is a dedicated member of her council and has put much time and en- ergy into promoting the council, serving in several officer positions, arranging speakers, and actively participat- ing in the planning of meetings. Diane is de- pendable and is always one of the first mem- bers to arrive at meetings and is prepared for her role as Membership Chair. Diane also volunteers to read and judge student entries in the local writing contest each year and or- ganizes and takes care of the needs for the “Basket of Books” project, a program started during the 1980’s. Basket of Books, puts bas- kets of books in local doctor offices and ben- efits various communities with over 45 drop off sites. Diane has been very involved in the Iowa Reading Association and has served as zone director, Director of Membership De- velopment and was instrumental in writing the roles of zone directors, which helped many “newbies” feel comfortable taking a role on the state board. Diane truly promotes Iowa Reading Association to every educator she meets. Her license plate says “READ- ING”. Diane’s car has made many trips across the state as she desired to be a “face” of Iowa Reading. Many people have embraced her energy and contagious passion for literacy and have joined the Iowa Reading Asso- ciation. Diane upholds the organization’s mission of promoting literacy through lead- ership, educational programming and leg- islative endeavors for teachers’ rights. Even though Diane is not currently on the board, her heart is. She continues to support liter- acy in her neighborhood and volunteers in literacy activities. Service describes Diane to a “Tee”. Her dedication to the Iowa Reading Association and the students of Iowa is the reason she is being recognized as the 2021 Iowa Service Award winner.

Iowa Service Award 2020-21: Diane Bean

Iowa Reading Administrator of the Year

In her 25-year plus career Genie has been a second-grade teach- er, a trained reading re- covery teacher/literacy strategist, AEA read- ing consultant, an as- sistant principal and is currently the principal at Glenwood Commu- nity School. She works side by side with teachers in developing read- ing curriculum, presenting staff development, modeling student lessons and even assessing individual deficits when needed to build stu- dent action plans. Genie has high expectations for herself, her staff, and is seen as a forever coach and mentor. Her vision, knowledge, and leadership she has helped her school achieve great success. Genie continues to lead and em- power her teachers with her support, problem solving, and determination to do what is best for kids. No matter what is thrown at her, she displays calm determination, collaboration skills, positivity, vision and leadership keeps her school on the right path to providing what every student needs in order to find success. Genie wants students to thrive as learners, cel- ebrates student success and continuously in- vites students to read with her, demonstrating the importance of reading. Genie O’Grady is an exemplary leader. She created a Book Mo- bile that travels throughout the community in the summer to ensure students can continue to get their hands-on books. Genie has been dedicated to literacy and the education of stu- dents her entire career. Her knack for seeing in others what they don’t see in themselves, going to great lengths to meet students’ needs shows that Genie’s passion for education and students is undeniable. She is a great collabo- rator, leader and administrator. This is why she was chosen as the 2021 Reading Administrator of the Year.

Administrator of the Year recipient, Genie O'Grady

Recipient: Genie O'Grady

Iowa Reading Administrator of the Year Award may be given to professionals other than those teachers of reading who have demonstrated their interest, concern and leadership in promoting reading within their domain.

Past administrators of the year
  • 2018-2019 - Brian Sammons
  • 2017-2018 - Josh Bower
  • 2015-2016 - Carol Duehr
  • 2014-2015 - Dr. Christopher Herrick
  • 2013-2014 - Dirk Borgman
  • 2012-2013 - Kevin Farmer
  • 2011-2012 - Beverly Mach
  • 2010-2011 - Tom Kerr
  • 2009-2010 - Lisa Wiese
  • 2009 - Barbara Kady
  • 2008 - Dr. Ann Withrow
  • 2007 - Don Ortman
  • 2006 - Lynn Kilpatrick
  • 2005 - Deborah Snider
  • 2004 - Larry Hicok
  • 2003 - Nancy Foust
  • 2002 - Dr. Merilee Rosberg
  • 2001 - Robert Kirschbaum
  • 2000 - Gene Grell
  • 1999 - Dr. Carolyn Heitz and Clark W. Goltz
  • 1997 - Vicky M. Smith
  • 1996 - Dr. Betty Wells Brown
  • 1991 - Jack Duffy and Dale McKown
  • 1990 - H. James Jackson
  • 1988 - Bruce Bufe
  • 1986 - Theron Kirkpatrick
  • 1985 - David Fairweather
  • 1983 - Maxine Robinson

Celebrate Literacy Award

Recipient: Joan Grothoff

Celebrate Literacy is a project sponsored by the International Reading Association and the Iowa Reading Association. The purpose of this project is to recognize an individual, agency, or institution that has made significant contributions to literacy. This celebration of literacy will familiarize the public with literacy activities actually carried out in local communities and will call attention to work being done by schools in the promotion of literacy as a “universal concern.”

Past Celebrate Literacy Award Recipients
  • 2018-2019 - Laurinda Brimeyer
  • 2017-2018 - Rachel Galvin
  • 2016-2017 - Dawn Miller
  • 2015-2016 - Sue Winter
  • 2014-2015 - Margo Kitzrow
  • 2013-2014 - Marlys Lien
  • 2012-2013 - Pastor Paul Stone
  • 2011-2012 - Judy Afdahl
  • 2010-2011 - Bette Jolliffe
  • 2009-2010 - Ellen Harbaugh
  • 2009 - Nora Birt
  • 2008 - Laura Turnquist
  • 2007 - Glenda Mulder
  • 2006 - Todd Lettow
  • 2005 - Mary Pieper
  • 2004 - Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma
  • 2003 - Sharron McElmeel
  • 2002 - Mary Jo Ruppert
  • 2001 - Northwest Iowa Foster Grandparent Program
  • 2000 - Carrie Bremer
  • 1999 - Deb Dunkhase
  • 1998 - Jack Kennedy
  • 1996 - Carine Schroeder
Prior to being named the director of the Eldora Public Library, Joan worked as a para-educator. During her last few years as a para-ed- ucator, she was transferred to operate the school’s library where she did everything in her power to promote literacy. She knew by heart the books that each child was checking out. She built the selec- tion in the library around the student’s interests. The students loved talking to her about the books they were reading and which books they were looking forward to reading next. Joan would come to the classroom and do a read aloud connected to the lesson for the day and was always a positive and encouraging coworker. This carried over to her new role at the Public Library. Joan is just as important in building literacy in our community as ever before! She has turned the public library into such a fun and inviting place that the children in the Eldora community love to visit. She continues to go the local elemen- tary school and read to classrooms. She has also begun offering book clubs to promote literacy. Joan has a knack for writing grants. She has helped the library receive grants to further promote literacy activities. Joan started offering story walks throughout the Eldora community. She received a grant to purchase items to make the story walk more durable through Iowa’s weather. She began offering curbside pickup right away when the pandemic started. It was important to her to keep books in the hands of the com- munity. Joan and her staff continue to create a community of care and learning for all patrons. Joan is very professional and passionate about the Eldora Library’s future and all the libraries in Hardin County. Her desire to promote literacy extends well beyond her own library and community. Joan’s tireless efforts to keep young children and adults reading has certainly been noticed by the community. Her passion for literacy is evi- dent in everything she is a part of and that is the reason she was selected as this Year’s Celebrate Literacy Award Winner.

Celebrate Literacy 2020-21 recipient, Joan Grothoff

Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year

For nearly 30 years Michelle has been inspiring people around her to love learn- ing. She has taught second and fifth grades and now is the K-8 literacy coach for MOC-Floyd Valley. Mi- chelle enjoys leading sum- mer workshops for teachers and teaching Online gradu- ate classes for Northwestern  College. Her passion has challenged students to be readers, writers and efficient thinkers. Michelle truly enjoys being an active member of North- west Iowa Reading Council for most of her teach- ing career. She has had a steady presence in the council and is a valuable resource. She has served on the leadership team for multiple years as well as managing the social media sites. She supports learning opportunities and encourages others to join and support the literacy mission. Northwest Iowa Reading is lucky to have her to emulate. Mi- chelle is a tireless supporter of Iowa Reading and has presented sessions about literacy and tech- nology at state conference and been an attendee for many years. When people meet Michelle they immediately can see her excitement for learn- ing and literacy and inspires people around her to love the learning process. Her summer work- shops and Online classes provide ways for edu- cators to think deeply about their practices. The strategies and ideas that Michelle promotes in all her presentations are easily transferred by teach- ers to their own classroom settings. She works tirelessly with teachers at all levels to ensure they are implementing appropriate reading interven- tions. Michelle guides coaches and teachers in a professional and caring manner by being model and mentor. This is why Michelle, Mrs. TG or the Other Mrs. TG has been chosen for the 2021 Teacher of the Year.

2020-21 Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year recipient, Michelle TeGrootenhuis

Recipient: Michelle TeGrootenhuis

The Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year must be members of the local, state and national associations of the International Reading Association.  Criteria involves teaching of children , this should be direct teaching of reading, involvement in the International reading Association and professional growth in the teaching profession.

Past Iowa Reading Teacher of the Year Recipients
  • 2018-2019 - Lauriel Weekly
  • 2017-2018 - Michelle Pearson
  • 2015-2016 - Wendy Matson
  • 2014-2015 - Tony Pieper
  • 2013-2014 - Karla Bronzynski
  • 2012-2013 - Becky Pashek
  • 2011-2012 - Patty Gillespie
  • 2010-2011 - Marlene Reece
  • 2009-2010 - Nancy Wright
  • 2009 - Suzanne Kurth
  • 2008 - Margo Sievers
  • 2007 - Lois Van Houweling
  • 2006 - Candace Booth
  • 2005 - Deb Saylor
  • 2004 - Loretta Ramsey
  • 2003 - Leann Van Dyke
  • 2002 - Marge Blake
  • 2001 - Nancy Port
  • 2000 - Martha Wells
  • 1999 - Deborah Mortensen
  • 1998 - Marcia Adams
  • 1997 - Kay Sullivan
  • 1996 - Lori Vicker
  • 1987 - Sharron McElmeel
  • 1986 - Marge Pellersels
  • 1985 - Judy Combs
  • 1984 - Maribelle Betterton
  • 1983 - Bonnie Mansfield
  • 1982 - Dottie Heering
  • 1981 - Judith Smith
  • 1980 - Harret Hanke
  • 1979 - Grace Leinen
  • 1978 - Beth McFarland
  • 1974 - Waive Shields

ILA Honor Councils

Recipients: READ, Hardy, and Eastern Iowa Councils

Members of READ, Hardy, and Eastern Iowa Councils

READ, Hardy, and Eastern Iowa Councils (1 year, 33 years, 19 years respectively)

Iowa Reading Association Technology and Literacy Grant

Wendy Matsony at ceremony for the Technology & Literacy Grant

2018-2019 Technology & Literacy Grant recipient, Wendy Matson

Kari Straube at ceremony for the Technology & Literacy Grant

2018-2019 Technology & Literacy Grant recipient, Kari Straube

Recipients: Wendy Matson & Kari Straube

Need some money to help infuse technology skills, apps, programs… into your literacy study? Look no further than the Iowa Reading Association Technology and Literacy grant. Those that apply will utilize technology in their teaching of literacy skills. Some suggestions might be the use of flip or digital cameras, creating interactive white board lessons, creating a blog or webpage, using software to create student books, use of Power Point or Wordle, money for app purchases. Be creative!

Please fill out the online application by September 30, 2019, so funds can be awarded either after the October Board meeting. Questions? Contact Renee Thomas, project chair,


"Grow a Local Council" Grant

Contact: Nancy Wright -

Outgoing Directors

Marlene Reece at ceremony for Out-going Directors

Outgoing Regional Director: Marlene Reece

Marlene Reece was the Central Regional Director.

Clark Goltz at ceremony for Out-going Directors

Outgoing Executive Director: Clark Goltz

Merit Council
2018-2019 Recipients for the Merit Council

2020-21 Merit Council Recipients