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

h o t - a i r

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.

October is Augmentative & Alternative Awareness (AAC) Month

October is Augmentative & Alternative Awareness (AAC) Month and we’d like to acknowledge the hard work of GPAEA’s Assistive Technology Specialist and Team, Speech-Language Pathologists, SLPAs and Early ACCESS teams who do so much to help make sure that kids have a way to access communication!

International AAC Awareness Month is celebrated around the world each October. The goal is to raise awareness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and to inform the public about the many different ways in which people communicate using communication devices.

International AAC Awareness Month was established by ISAAC’s LEAD Project Committee in October 2007. Thirteen countries participated in the first Awareness Month, and events have been increasing in number and scope ever since.

Again, thank you for the work that you do!

Assistive Technology Team

  • Megan Farrell, Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Teresa Miller, Assistive Technology/Media Clerk


  • Erin Bergman, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • Linda Boshar, Early ACCESS Regional Liaison
  • Katie Edwards, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Denise Evans, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Nicole Fraker, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Angie Green, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Nikki Helm, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Jaime Hutcheson, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Kim Johnson, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Jennifer Keith, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • Michol Ludington, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Leesha McGee, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • June Morgan, Special Education Consultant-Early Childhood/Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • Lauren Moyers, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Carmela Murphy, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • Lynn Sheagren, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator
  • Kristin Stuekerjuergen, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Lisa Vohoska, Early ACCESS Home Interventionist
  • Norma Whitaker, Early ACCESS Designated Service Coordinator

Speech-Language Pathology

  • Kaitlin Allen, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Kelley Asperheim, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Jill Baker, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Dr. Christine Bergan, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Emily Borrison, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Kathleen Bullard, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Libby Burdette, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Rachael Butler, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Stephanie Chalupa, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Sara Chaney, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Deena Chedester, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Hannah Childers, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Erin Crawford, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Abby Denning, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Sydney Dick, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Morgan Dickey, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Sandra Durand, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Lora Eddleman, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Erika Freeman, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Dee Gerot, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Marilyn Goertel-Breen, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Kelley Gray, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Tammy Greiner, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Teresa Halstead, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Jennifer Hammel, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Mikayla Hance, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Tiffany Hansen, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Karen Hartl, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Emily Hollingsworth, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Diane John, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Brenda Johnson, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Abby Lynn, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Angie Maher, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Kari Matthias, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Dana McIntire, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Ann Millikin, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Elaine Niggemeyer, Speech-Language Assistant
  • Jennifer Norgaila, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Megan Reeves, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Christine Riegel, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Lindsey Rump, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Melissa Sadler, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Ferra Schinstock, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Elise Sidles, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Katy Smith, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Jamie Vandehaar, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Susan Wetrich, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Barb Winans, Speech-Language Assistant


Substitute Authorization Course available in Burlington beginning November 4

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This 20-hour course is designed to enable participants to become competent in the skills necessary to successfully substitute in Iowa’s elementary and secondary classrooms. These skills include classroom management, strategies for learning, diversity, and ethics. 14.143(3) The substitute authorization certification must be renewed every five years.

Apply with the Iowa BOEE to obtain your certificate once this course is completed. Fingerprinting is required for all new applicants for a Background check fee of $75.00 and a $85 licensure fee, (good for 5 years).  These fees are paid to Iowa BOEE when submitting your online application to obtain your certificate.

Most school district required the Mandatory Reporter training certificate.  Please visit

A book fee of $30 is included in the $100 course registration. 

Renewal requirements for the substitute authorization consist of a minimum of two renewal units equivalent to 30 clock hours and completion of an approved child and dependent adult abuse training program approved by the state abuse education review panel. Please refer to the requirements for Substitute Authorization from Iowa Code: 282_14.143(1)-(3) for the complete explanation of the requirements for substitute authorization.

GPAEA Schools in the News – October/November 2019

Post updated throughout the month. Did we miss something? Send your school news to

Note: The articles compiled in this list come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. GPAEA staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and GPAEA does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles. Some articles may be available only by subscription.

FAFSA Completion Data & GPAEA Districts


Jessica Vance, School Improvement Consultant,

Last year, Iowa became the first state to ensure all high schools have the opportunity to receive and review FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion data, through partnerships with AEA PREP and Iowa College Aid.  At Great Prairie AEA, three (3) districts who use these reports significantly increased the percentage of seniors who completed the FAFSA, from the previous year.

  • Keota: 14% increase in FAFSA completion
  • New London: 19% increase in FAFSA completion
  • Oskaloosa: 8% increase in FAFSA completion

Why is FAFSA completion so important?  According to the FAFSA Completion Initiative, 90% of students who complete the FAFSA proceed directly to college.  Additionally, “checking in” on FAFSA completion gives caring educators multiple opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations with students – ensuring all students have a postsecondary goal and plan.  

New London school counselor Rita Alspach stated, “Having the weekly report helped me reach out to every student, and it was exciting to see our completion rates increase.” She also encouraged working with partners. New London partnered with Southeastern Community College (SCC) during their conferences, which meant the staff was available to support completing the FAFSA – both at New London or at the SCC campus.  

October brings the opening of a new FAFSA season and schools can look forward to receiving FAFSA completion data again, starting in late October or early November.

The Cornerstone – October 2018


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