10th DMPS Educator Named Iowa Teacher of the Year
The week at Hoover High School began with a pep rally. Students filled the bleachers. The marching band and cheerleaders fired up the crowd. Even the new Husky mascot made an appearance. But, while the winter sports season is now underway, this was a pep rally to celebrate what happens in the classroom.
More precisely, it was to announce that one of Hoover’s own is the 2024 Iowa Teacher of the Year: Ann Mincks. The award recognizes exceptional teachers who demonstrate excellence in the classroom and who have made a significant impact on student outcomes and their fellow educators.
Mincks, who is an ELL teacher at Hoover, has been with Des Moines Public Schools for nearly 16 years and is the 10th DMPS educator to be honored as the state’s top teacher.
In making the announcement, Iowa Department of Education director Mackenzie Snow said: “Each day, Iowa’s outstanding teachers, like Ann Mincks, provide students with what they need to meet high expectations and realize their incredible potential. Ann is an expert in meeting the needs of students who are English language learners and leverages the Science of Reading to best support students. On behalf of Governor Reynolds and all of us at the Iowa Department of Education, we thank Iowa’s dedicated educators and congratulate Ann on this honor!”
“I believe our actions as educators matter,” she said. “I want students to have an experience that truly breaks down the walls of the classroom and connects students to their future successes in a career and as a community member.”
“Ann’s award is a recognition of her embodiment of empathy, outstanding teacher skill, and her ability to create an environment where happiness and learning flourish together,” said Superintendent Roberts. “In a career that demands patience, creativity, and an endless reservoir of love and kindness, Ann has excelled and set a standard for what it means to be a great educator. Her ability to connect with each student, to understand their needs, and to support them in their personal and academic growth is remarkable.”
Mincks, 39, comes from a family of teachers and has helped to increase literacy proficiency at her school through the use of evidence-based, effective literacy instruction grounded in the Science of Reading. With many of her students new, not only to Des Moines but to the United States, she strives to connect them not only to their curriculum but also to the community.
“Ultimately, no one will argue that learning English is important for immigrants and refugees who move to the U.S. However, as a teacher, I strive to do more than just teach students English,” Mincks noted. “I want students to have an experience that truly breaks down the walls of the classroom and connect students to their future successes in a career or as a community member.”
“Ms. Mincks is second to none when it comes to building authentic relationships,” added Hoover principal Qynne Kelly. “She feels a sense of efficacy over her students’ performance and knows that the way to a student’s mind is through their heart. She often goes above and beyond for students, lending an ear and supporting them when they are facing struggles, but also celebrating them as well.”
Ann Mincks joined DMPS in January 2008 as an ELL teacher at East High School. She has also served as an instructional coach for the school district as well as an adjunct professor at both Buena Vista and Grandview universities before joining the faculty at Hoover High School. She has a BA in English education from Iowa State University and an MA in education from Viterbo University.
The Iowa Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958. The annual program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Honorees serve as ambassadors to schools, higher education and communities across the state. The state teacher of the year honorees are in line to be named the National Teacher of the Year, which will be announced later in 2024.
Prior Iowa Teachers of the Year from Des Moines Public Schools
- 2015 – Elizabeth Clemencia Bulthuis, Spanish teacher, Merrill Middle School
- 2005 – Vicki Lynn Goldsmith, English teacher, Roosevelt High School
- 1998 – Ruth Ann Gaines, Drama teacher, East High School
- 1984 – Sharon June Lee, 3rd Grade teacher, Douglas Elementary School
- 1976 – Betty Burres-Youngs, Remedial Reading teacher, Washington Irving Junior High School
- 1974 – Genevieve Treichler Wallace, Teacher, Woodlawn Elementary School
- 1969 – Jane Sharp, Teacher, Kirkwood Elementary School
- 1965 – Betty Jean Hyde, Teacher, Callanan Middle School
- 1964 – William V. Houser, Science teacher, Roosevelt High School