More than a teacher: Sara Russell’s 2022 Teacher of the Year Award


Jake Dolphin

Kim Reynolds presents the 2022 Teacher of the Year award to PV history teacher Sara Russell.

Isa Burkhart, News Editor

The role of teachers is fundamental to society. Learning, creating and innovating all come from the significant influence of the people we learn from: our teachers. So what makes a good teacher? 

A  teacher’s impact can be different from person to person. At PV, the teachers of the district worked together to create a Blue Ribbon Award worthy school. Recently, one of its own teachers earned a special title for her exceptional work.

Sara Russell is a history teacher from PV. On Oct. 15, 2021, Russell earned the title of the 2022 Iowa Teacher of the Year Award. Her take on teaching and the fundamentals she brought into the classroom are qualities that gave her this well-deserved accomplishment. Her humbling acceptance and genuinity of her presence in the PV district was more than enough to put herself in the running for the award. 

Although her acceptance and running for the award was definitely a surprise to Russell, her dedication to teaching and the impact she’s made on the PV community led her to her winning of Teacher of the Year. 

 “It was very humbling to receive this honor. I feel like I work with the best teachers in the world so it is hard to feel like you are more worthy of such an honor. In addition to teaching, I also serve as a member of the Teacher Leadership System as a Building Lead, I mentor new teachers, and I work with a number of student groups. When I first received the nomination from Mr. Jones I was extremely surprised. I sent in my application materials to the state and really felt like I would hear nothing. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out I was a finalist and then ultimately won.” 

Russel values not only her teaching of students, but also the influence she has on the incoming generation of teachers. After 19 years of teaching, Russell’s experience and knowledge she has picked up is inspiring to other teachers and students alike. “I would tell new teachers to be brave and to remember that they are not alone. There is a whole community of educators who will help them. I would also urge them to not be intimidated by older teachers and to speak up with their thoughts and ideas.” 

Russell is one of the most loved teachers at PV. Over the course of her teaching, the leadership she’s taken in her career and the impact she’s had on the students earned her the title of the 2022 Teacher of the Year.