Grant Wood AEA logo  
The Bulletin Board

Mark Your Calendar:

Cancelled - April 5,
12:00-12:30 p.m.

Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies


April 16

2019 Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive Technology Conference


April 22

11:30 a.m. - 12:00
Family Lunch and Learn Series

4:00-4:30 p.m.

Family Lunch and Learn Series


May 6

2018-2019 TQ Date


May 24

Early release at 3 p.m.,

Memorial Day


Aug. 6-7 (Tues-Wed) and
Aug. 12-13 (Mon-Tues)

New Staff Orientation


Wednesday, Aug. 14

All Agency Meeting - Solon

Aug. 15-16 (Thursday-Friday)

PD Palooza

In This issue:

The Big Picture: Announcement of Leadership Changes
April is Autism Awareness Month
Organizational Leadership visits the Capitol
GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet, May 9
Lunch and Learn video
Chair Massage schedule for April and May
Corridor Corporate Games
Hands Only CPR Class Survey
YMCA April newsletter
Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies
GWAEA Professional Learning Opportunities


Agency Advisory Minutes

Grant Wood AEA Staff Openings

The GWAEA Board Book

The GWAEA Board Minutes



Past Issues of
The Bulletin Board


Articles for The Bulletin Board are due end of the day on Tuesdays.
Submit items to
Valerie Taylor Hill
GWAEA Public Information Specialist.

Grant Wood AEA logo

Grant Wood AEA Mission: To ensure success for all learners.

Grant Wood AEA goals

The Big Picture

Announcement of Leadership Changes

GWAEA The Big Picture graphic

We have several leadership changes in progress at the agency that we want to share with all agency staff.


First, we have two members of our leadership team who have announced their intent to retire at the end of this year: Julie Jensen, a Regional Administrator; and Kevin Hatfield, one of the agency’s Programs/Services Administrators. We wish both Julie and Kevin well during this exciting professional transition.


As we have shared previously, Regional Administrator Bart Mason was appointed to the position of Director of Teaching and Learning to replace Kris Donnelly, who has accepted a new role at the agency, the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. We are pleased to share that Regional Administrator John Zimmerman has accepted the opportunity to join the executive cabinet, and he also will have the title of Director of Teaching and Learning to replace Kevin Hatfield after his retirement.


We also have extended offers to three candidates for Regional Administrator positions at the agency, and we are able to announce publicly two of those three candidates today.  


Darrin Strike is currently serving as superintendent at West Fork Community School District, and has previously worked as superintendent and PK-3 principal at Sheffield-Chapin/ Meservey-Thornton Community School District; a school improvement consultant with Central Rivers AEA; a 7-12 principal with the Ventura Community School District; and as a science teacher.  


Shannon Kehoe is currently serving as a PK-5 principal at Cedar Rapids’ Viola Gibson Elementary, and also has been a K-6 principal with the Iowa City Community School District and a learning strategist with the College Community School District.


The position offers for John, Darrin and Shannon are pending Board approval during our regularly scheduled meeting on April 10th. We will be able to publicly announce the third Regional Administrator in next week’s Bulletin Board, and in the following weeks also will share any changes in leadership assignments for 2019-20.


Please join us in congratulating these individuals on these changes, and welcome our newest additions to the Grant Wood AEA team.

GWAEA PRIDE: Proudly Recognizing Innovation, Dedication & Excellence

Kim Owen receives the Dr. E Robert Stephens Award from Iowa's AEAs

Grant Wood AEA PRIDE

John Speer, Kim Owen, Jim Green

Kim Owen receives congratulations from John Speer and GWAEA Board President Jim Green.

Congratulations to Kim Owen, GWAEA regional administrator, Mentoring & Induction, on receiving the Dr. E Robert Stephens Award from Iowa's AEA at the 2019 AEA Boards' Conference, held March 28, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Johnston.


John Speer, GWAEA chief administrator, presented the award to Kim on behalf of
Iowa's AEAs. In his remarks from Kim's nomination, John shared, "Kim has been the catalyst of innovation to put a system of support in place for AEA partners to collaborate and work across AEAs in service to accelerating and advancing teacher classroom practices that support the academic, social, and emotional needs of students."


Kim has faciliated the creation of the Induction Consortium to support and meet the needs of teachers new to the profession. In the Consortium model, districts share a full-time mentor who supports 15 to 18 teachers. The model has been proven to accelerate teacher practice, increase student achievement in reading and math, and increase teacher retention rates.


The Dr. E. Robert Stephens Award is presented in honor of “Dr. Bob," known as the father of Iowa’s AEAs. The award recognizes contributions in the area of innovation and support to local districts, AEAs, the Department of Education and other partners/organizations. AEA staff who serve in an administrative role and AEA board members are nominated for this award.


Congratulations, Kim!

April is Autism Awareness Month

The GWAEA Autism Services Team, front row, Courtney Butler, Monica Ryan-Rausch, Kelli Robertson. Back row: Ann Griffin, Emily Deeney, Michelle Sunner, Michelle Nuehring, Lindsay Swartzendruber.


Front row: Robin Endsley, De Wagner, Kalen Yutzy, Denise Wedel.  Back row: Julie O’Malley, Lindsay Bascom, Kelsey Sasina, Jennifer Rinas, and Sam DeMott.


Left to right: Shelley Kramer, Brooke Bulman, Wendi Kaiser, and Mayasa Elgabaly.


The Grant Wood AEA Autism Services Team partners to provide area school districts and families with services in the areas of:

• Professional Development

• Consultation

• Student Services

• Community Outreach, and

• Early ACCESS

Autism is defined by the Iowa Department of Education as, “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before the age of three, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”

Other characteristics often associated with autism include:

  • engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements

  • resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and

  • unusual responses to sensory experiences.

Janel Lesan, GWAEA regional administrator, explained that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. (Reference: Autism Speaks)

Today, GWAEA has seven autism consultants serving our 32 school districts, and three autism consultants serving children in Early ACCESS (birth to age three). “In the last 17 years, we have gone from one autism consultant to 10 autism consultants due to the feedback provided by our superintendents and principals in the Grant Wood AEA service area.  There is a demand for more services and support for all children, birth-age 21,” Janel explained.

How do schools access the Early ACCESS autism team?

“In Early ACCESS (birth to age 3 services), the autism consultants and paraeducators work with very young children, many of whom do not have an autism diagnosis, but are showing red flags for being at risk for having autism,” shared Jeanie Wade Nagle, GWAEA early education administrator.

“After being contacted by the EA service coordinators, the autism consultants evaluate the children to determine the child’s needs, set up a plan to meet those needs, and guide the paraeducators who carry out the plans,” Jeanie continued. “These services are provided in the child’s home or child care center as part of the child’s Early ACCESS services, which may also include services from an EA teacher, SLP, OT, PT or other services. A lot of the work is getting the children to engage in interactions with others.”

If individuals have concerns about a young child (0-3), they can make a referral by calling Erlene Spicer, 399-6746.

How do schools access the school-based autism team?  

“In order to receive services within the school setting, students do not need a medical diagnosis of ASD,” Janel continued. Referrals to the agency’s autism services team are made by GWAEA personnel assigned to the building. “Once the parent is aware of the need for further consultation, a request is made to our team to get involved and join the school’s effort in identifying what supports the child needs in order to be more successful,” she continued. The school-based autism team typically supports special education teachers with children on an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  

The autism consultants are charged with “building capacity” or helping teachers add strategies and supports to their “toolkit” or helping families learn different ways of interacting with their child.  The service delivery is a variety of consultation, coaching, modeling, and professional learning.

The autism consultants are also charged with staying current with best practices in the field of autism so that they can help educators learn evidence-based strategies. The consultants update their classes and are working hard to offer more “in demand” or “real time” learning opportunities.

Members of the autism services teams are also collaborating with the Department of Education, statewide teams, and stakeholder groups in the area of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health (SEBMH) and social engagement.  “This is an exciting time in the state of Iowa as many parts of the system are coming together to address a common need.” said Janel.

For information about the GWAEA Autism Services Team, contact an autism consultant, Jeanie, or Janel.

Organizational Leadership visits the Capitol

The Grant Wood AEA Organizational Leadership cohort visited the Capitol on March 28.



During this annual visit, the OL cohort members have the opportunity to visit with lobbyists and legislators to better understand the legislative process. The group began the day meeting with
Margaret Buckton and David Wilkerson, lobbyists.



This year, the cohort had the opportunity to visit with members of the Iowa Supreme Court: Justice Edward M. Mansfield and Justice Susan Christensen.


Grant Wood AEA staff members participating in this year's trip Des Moines included
Michelle Heiserman, Janet Greene, Sharon Clark, and Tonya Vitense
. Keith Stamp facilitates the GWAEA Organizational Leadership Program.

GWAEA Staff Recognition and Partnerships Banquet
Thursday, May 9, 2019

All employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of employment with
GWAEA, retirees, and persons nominated and selected by agency staff will be honored.


Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Bob and Rich Butikofer/Volunteers at VAST Center - Friend of Education
Daniel Sackett, Technology Systems Technician - Caring Colleague
Brenda Hayes, Level 2/3 Sp Ed Teacher, North Cedar Community - Education Partner

Cliff Ehlinger, Grant Wood AEA Leadership for Learning


Bella Sala, 205 S. Park Rd., Tiffin

Social Hour: 5:00 p.m.
Dinner: 6:00 p.m.

Register and Reserve a Table Online


The Evening's Menu:
Roast beef, zesty chicken, baked potato, green bean
almondine, Caesar salad, fresh fruit, dinner rolls, coffee,
ice tea & water, and assorted desserts

Cost: GWAEA board members and employees: $13; spouses, friends and retired staff: $25 per person


Reservations Due: May 2

Checks may be made payable to Grant Wood AEA.​


Lunch and Learn video available


Josh Daken with Profile by Sanford facilitated a lunch and learn on
March 28 on the topic of reading food labels.


Visit the link to the all of the Lunch and Learn video archives here.

Lunch and Learn: Profile by Sanford on March 28

Chair Massage Schedule for April and May

Cedar Rapids: April 17, May 1, May 15 and May 29. Contact Stacy Murphy to schedule.

Coralville: A link to a shared registration doc is available from Sue Heath.

Corridor Corporate Games

Registration coming April 11

Corridor Corporate Games

Grant Wood AEA - Division 2/open to current employees and retirees

Grant Wood AEA joins the following DIVISION 2 companies:

  • Collins Community Credit Union

  • Grant Wood AEA

  • Hills Bank and Trust Company

  • MediRevv

  • Raining Rose

  • U.S. Bank

  • United Fire Group

  • University of Iowa Community Credit Union

  • Van Meter Inc.

The Corridor Corporate Games is a company-based competition that offers 25 sports, events, and challenges throughout the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor May-July 2019. All events will be held in the evening and on weekends.


Check out the schedule of events! 2019 Activity Schedule


The registration link and instructions will be in The Bulletin Board on April 11.

Hands Only CPR Class Survey

Would you recognize a heart attack? Would you know how to respond? The GROW committee has been offered an opportunity by UnityPoint Health to host a 30-minute class on Hands Only CPR and signs symptoms of a stroke or heart attack. This is a brief overview and CPR certification is not available. Share your interest in attending this learning opportunity through the survey.

YMCA April Newsletter

Please see the YMCA April newsletter for upcoming events, featuring:


  • Eggstravaganza, April 6th – Online registration

  • New material for Les Mills group exercise classes – BodyFlow and BodyAttack

  • Healthy Kids Day – April 27

  • Parent’s Night out – April 13

  • Mother Daughter Weekend at YMCA Camp Wapsie

  • Experience the Outdoors – out-of-camp adventure trips

  • Camp Wapsie Wish List – share your extra supplies

  • Other events and specials

Questions? Contact Hope Runge, GWAEA YMCA corporate contact.

Eat with us! Embrace Accessible Technologies


EAT with Us! - Embrace Accessible Technologist

The Eat with us! schedule PDF


Mark your calendar:

Cancelled - April 5, 2019, 12:00-12:30 p.m.

5 Gotta Have Chrome Extensions


Join future presentations using Zoom:
Or in Zoom, Meeting ID = 703 027 4197

Can’t attend live? Recorded webcasts will be posted:


For more information, contact Julie Freed or
Maggie Pickett.

GWAEA Professional Learning Workshops

Grant Wood AEA Professional Learning offers a variety of workshops as well as courses for credit throughout the year. Please check the website for a list of courses and workshops. Below is a highlight of PD workshops with national and regional presenters. Please register electronically. Payment is due at the time of registration.


April 2019

5th Annual Standards-Based Grading Conference:
Developing a
Culture of Learning
April 15, 2019
April 16, 2019 - optional

5th Annual Standards-Based Grading Conference:
Developing a
Culture of Learning
April 15, 2019

April 16, 2019 - optional

Using Data to Strengthen Your School Improvement Efforts
April 4, 2019

Building Bridges Accessible and Assistive
Technology Conference
“Making Learning Awesome for All”
April 16, 2019

Early Emergent Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Communication Needs

Feb. 12, 2019 and
March 27, 2019

Early Emergent Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Communication Needs

April 22, 2019 and
May 30, 2019

Substitute Authorization Class

Substitute Authorization Class


June 2019

BASES Conference
June 10-11, 2019

BASES Conference
June 10-11, 2019

School Garden 101
June 10-12, 2019

School Garden 101
June 10-12, 2019


September 2019

Visible Learningplus 
John Hattie, Peter DeWitt
Oct. 16, 2019

2019-2020 Principal Leadership Program



October 2019

Visible Learningplus 
John Hattie, Peter DeWitt
Oct. 16, 2019

Visible Learningplus
John Hattie, Peter DeWitt
Oct. 16, 2019


Evaluator Approval Information

Professional Administrator Licenses require approved Evaluator Approval coursework as a part of the licenses renewal credits. Various course options are available throughout the state. 
A listing of upcoming courses is available on the AEA Course catalog or on the DE website


GW logoAEA logo

Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.