UI alum named 2018 Iowa History Teacher of the Year

In the classroom, UI alum Kimberly Meller-Angus ties the past to the present. The past isn’t really the past, she says, it just takes on new forms.

Kinsey Phipps, News Reporter

While student-teaching in Bath, England, in 2006, Kimberly Meller-Angus was asked to teach a unit on Native Americans. The students were so enthralled with tepees, Meller-Angus decided to bring them outside during the next lesson to teach them how to build one.

UI alumna Meller-Angus is the 2018 Iowa History Teacher of the Year. The award is presented by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

According to the institute’s website, teachers must have three years’ experience in the classroom and plans to teach for at least one more, demonstrate dedication to teaching American history, show evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom, and effectively use primary sources such as oral histories, artifacts, and historic sites to engage students with American history. 

Using students’ passion and excitement to surround her teaching practices is just the kind of teacher she is, said Nancy Langguth, the associate dean for teacher education and student services in the College of Education.

“She’s brave and competent at the same time,” Langguth said. “That’s a real powerful combination.”

Meller-Angus’ heart wasn’t in history at first, she said.

“I realized in college, especially after taking psychology classes, that I wanted to teach social studies because I think I could hook people and help them really enjoy it,” she said.

RELATED: Hegde: How to help children succeed in a technology-filled future 

In her classroom today, Meller-Angus is committed to “hook” her students in history. She is committed to tying the past to the present by, for example, comparing Rockefeller to Amazon and the women’s suffrage movement to #MeToo.

“If they don’t see the connection, the class won’t matter,” Meller-Angus said. “I make sure that kids understand that the past isn’t really the past, it’s still occurring. It just takes a different form.” 

Meller-Angus has been teaching full-time since 2006, starting at Clear Creek/Amana School District. In 2013, she moved to Ankeny School District, where she works now. She teaches eighth-grade American history and ninth-grade Global Studies at Northview Middle School, she said.

Though she teaches history now, Meller-Angus had experience teaching many different subjects during her time in Bath, including P.E., special education, and psychology. Teaching abroad taught Meller-Angus to prepared for anything that may be thrown her way, she said. 

A 2006 UI graduate, Meller-Angus holds degrees in history, psychology, and secondary education. In addition, she has an American Sign Language certification and Honors through the College of Education.

She didn’t always know she wanted to teach, however. It was only after tutoring children at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and taking educational psychology with UI Clinical Professor Mitchell Kelly that she found her passion for teaching, she said.

“She is a delightful, bright, happy, and honorable person.  She was great to fun in class, and I was not at all surprised to hear she had been selected as Teacher of the Year,” Kelly said in an email to The Daily Iowan. “Kimberly was a superstar in every sense of the word, and I am just really happy for her and the students who have the opportunity to learn from her.”

Facebook Comments