The Cornerstone – November 2019


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GPAEA Districts Featured in PBIS Article

Winfield-Mt. Union, Van Buren, Cardinal, Fairfield & *Washington were featured in a recent article by Southeast Iowa Union – Principals report seeing progress with implementation of new PBIS system. The article shared quotes and information about these schools implementing Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS). Great Prairie AEA supports these districts through coordination, training, and implementation of PBIS and we are extremely proud of their success!

A huge shoutout to Shelli Blazic for her coordination and support to these districts, as well as our core team behavior specialists, in the area of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS).

See article at

**Washington District is a part of Grant Wood AEA but we are still very proud of their success as this indicates consistency and alignment of implementation of PBIS across AEA’s and our state!

School Psychology Awareness Week – November 11-15, 2019

GPAEA School psychologists help children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate and consult with teachers, administrators, parents, and other professionals to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems. They assess academic skills, aptitude for learning, and social-emotional-behavioral issues, and evaluate eligibility for special services. Evidence-based research is used to develop and/or recommend effective interventions. Counseling, crisis management, teacher training, and helping parents to access community services are just some of the additional services provided.

School Psychology Awareness Week (SPAW) is November 11–15, 2019 and we celebrate our school psychologists for the work they do for students & families in our area! THANK YOU!

Ottumwa Director Dr. Lonna Anderson receives Friend of Math Award

The Iowa Council of Teachers of Mathematics awarded Dr. Lonna Anderson, Director of Elementary Education for Ottumwa CSD, the Friend of Math award on October 14 at the Annual Math Conference at Valley High School in West Des Moines.  Over the past 5 years, Dr. Anderson impacted local schools in Great Prairie AEA as Director of Instructional Services by supporting programs, resources, and professional development by the Math Team.  She also served as in an advisory role for the State AEA Math Consultants during the 2018-19 school year. Dr. Anderson is an advocate for best-practice in math teaching and learning. Congratulations!

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Dr. Anderson (Ottumwa) with Lori Mueller (GPAEA)

Pedersen Named 2020 Iowa Superintendent of the Year



Joel pictured with his family: sons Reece & Grant and wife Jamie

Congratulations Cardinal Superintendent Joel Pedersen for being named the 2020 Iowa Superintendent of the Year! 

See release from Iowa Association of School Boards

Joel Pedersen, superintendent of the Cardinal Community School District, has been named the 2019-20 Iowa Superintendent of the Year by the School Administrators of Iowa.

SAI Executive Director Roark Horn said, “Joel is a leader who exemplifies what amazing things can be accomplished when the culture of a learning community is laser-focused on its students. At Cardinal—due in large part to Joel’s influence—they see everything through a lens of ‘Why not?’ It takes a great leader to build and continuously inspire this environment. His ability to facilitate this is why Joel is an outstanding representative as Iowa’s Superintendent of the Year.”

“It is an honor to be named the 2019-20 Iowa Superintendent of the Year. An achievement like this is not mine alone; my students, staff, team, and community deserve the recognition because without their support I would not be where I am today. With dedication and determination, we lead together so that all kids will succeed. Thank you to them and thank you for this honor,” Pedersen expressed.

Prior to leading the Cardinal district beginning in 2010, he was middle school principal at Davis County Community School District in Bloomfield. He began his career as a fifth grade teacher at Chariton Community School District. A graduate of Buena Vista University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Pedersen also earned his master’s in education administration and specialist’s in educational leadership from Drake University.

He was nominated by his peers and selected for the award by a committee of Iowa superintendents. Administrator of the Year award recipients will be honored at a governor’s awards ceremony in late spring and SAI’s Annual Conference next summer. He will also represent the state in the National Superintendent of the Year Program sponsored by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.


Substitute Authorization Courses Available in Albia & Burlington – January 2020

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Substitute Authorization courses will be held in Albia and Burlington in January for candidates with Bachelor’s degrees and paraeducators who are certified through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. Please feel free to share the registration links below in your districts.

For more information about Substitute Authorization Rules visit

Registration Links:

Course overview: #160422 GP – Substitute Authorization Grades Pk-12



Professional Learning Courses Available – November 2019

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Click on a course number to be directed to the AEA Professional Learning System to login and register. Learn more at

160434 GP – Fierce Conversations – 1 Credit Anne Morgan 11/05/19 12/02/19 R
160468 GP – Fierce Conversations – 2 Credit (Meets Evaluator Approval) Anne Morgan 11/05/19 12/02/19 R
181840 GP – AAIMS Algebra Progress Monitoring Lynn Selking;; Jessica Vance 11/05/19 11/05/19
168416 GP – Paraeducator Course I: Facing New Challenges, Communication, Ethics, and Confidentiality (VIT) Stephanie Vititoe 11/06/19 11/19/19 R
180578 GP – GPAEA Science Networks 2019 Tracy Jarrett 11/07/19 11/08/19 R
181352 GP – ESSA Intervention System 4.1 (System Steps 1-2 and Learner Steps 1-4) Mark Crady 11/07/19 11/07/19
167966 GP – The Project Approach in the Early Childhood Classroom (Formerly Taught as Inquiry Based Learning in Early Childhood) Dawn Johnson;; Anne Michel 11/08/19 05/15/20 R
168695 GP – Digital Planetarium Seth Denney;; Tracy Jarrett 11/11/19 12/20/19 R
168695 GP – Digital Planetarium Seth Denney;; Tracy Jarrett 11/12/19 12/20/19 R
168586 GP – Youth Mental Health First Aid Rachelle Blazic;; Tana Fourdyce;; Kibben Rumohr;; Brianne Stuchel 11/18/19 11/18/19
168684 GP – Iowa Science Standards Module 4: Literacy in Science (Grades K-12) Tracy Jarrett 11/18/19 11/19/19 R
181139 GP – PBIS Enhanced Tier 2 Practices Workshop Rachelle Blazic 11/19/19 11/19/19
168117 GP – Check & Connect 1 Day Mentoring Workshop Rachelle Blazic 11/22/19 11/22/19
168586 GP – Youth Mental Health First Aid Tana Fourdyce 11/25/19 11/25/19

Iowa Teacher Librarians Again Have Opportunity to Collaborate During Monthly Online Sessions

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Iowa’s AEAs are again offering Iowa school teacher-librarians the opportunity to network, share ideas and “talk shop.” The “Better Together: Collaborative Conversations” is a series in which an AEA teacher-librarian and a guest expert will facilitate a monthly online discussion about a predetermined topic with time built in for networking and Q & A. This year’s sessions will focus on the Iowa School Library Program Standards.

And the best part? No cost, no long agenda and no drive time!

Check out this online flyer for all the details.