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Student & Alumni Accomplishments

Trenton Williams, GR '17, an Educational Leadership graduate, was appointed principal of Howe Elementary School in the Fall of 2019. Previously, Trenton spent eleven years teaching abroad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Southeast Asia, and Norway. Most recently, Trenton acted as an interventionist at McKinley Elementary for four years.

Payton Ball, ED '17, a first grade teacher in Glidden-Ralston School District, was awarded "New Teacher of the Year" by her local radio station KCIM 1380 in Carroll, Iowa.   

Accolades 2018

Chris Mathews was one of six educators in the state of Iowa named as a finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  Chris was a math finalist and she teaches 4th grade at East Elementary in Ankeny and is a current graduate student in the Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Development program.  In response to the question about how to get more students interested in math, Chris stated, "math instruction in many classrooms, schools and districts is transforming from worksheets and the repetitious practice of teacher-taught strategies into environments that value discovery, multiple methods to solve a problem and communication among peers in order to understand the way numbers work and why."  

MSLD graduate, Kaela Phillips, GR '17, recently co-authored and published an article with Associate Professor Cristine Wildermuth exploring students' thought process in a peer evaluation process.  The article was published in the Journal of Academic Ethics.  

Rachelle Karstens was appointed the 11th president of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa.  Rachelle is a doctoral candidate at Drake University.  

Educational Leadership graduate, Renita Lord, GR '10, was appointed principal of the new Montessori school in the Des Moines Public Schools district.  The new PK-8 Montessori school will serve up to 450 students in the Des Moines metro.  An article in the Des Moines Register quoted Lord as stating, "I am excited to have a leadership opportunity in the launch of this new Montessori school as learning needs grow in the district."  

Kimberly Wayne of Des Moines was appointed to the State Board of Education in Iowa. She is the regional manager of Quality and Continuous Improvement at the Siegwerk Company. Kimberly is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at Drake University. She earned a master's of business administration degree from Iowa State University and a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. She has a passion for empowering youth and founded Jewels Academy, an informal STEM enrichment organization for underrepresented young women. 

Clinical Mental Health Counseling student Ramona Wink won a 100+ Women Who Care Award. The award was a  $10,000 gift to the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA) Foundation for a television program project. The TV show was Ramona's brain-child and has been her passion for advocacy. She reports that when God put the idea on her heart, she approached IMHCA and they were very supportive. Don Gilbert, from IMHCA, and Ramona Wink have been working on this project for about a year.

In May, current Drake doctoral candidate, Jennifer Woodley, GR '07, will take over as State Director for Best Buddies in Iowa.  A statement released from Best Buddies International noted, "Jennifer brings a wealth of professional knowledge and proven relationship-building skills to her new role with Best Buddies. A former State Advisory Board member, Jennifer has a strong combination of educational and professional experience that uniquely qualifies her to enhance fundraising and strengthen community building across the state as State Director."  

In March, Natalie Niemeyer, GR'15, was named Master Journalism Educator by the Journalism Education Association.  Niemeyer teaches journalism at East High School where she works with students to publish the Quill and The Scroll (the school's yearbook and newspaper.  

Shelby Douglas, GR'16 in Educational Leadership, accepted a position as principal of Immaculate Conception St. Joseph School located in Gilbertville, Iowa.  Shelby indicated that she is "beyond thrilled to be able to put into practice all of the things that I learned in the Drake program.  You all were inspirational leaders and truly ignited my passion for leadership."

Educational Leadership graduate, Noreen Colbeck-Bush was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Communiity School District.  Noreen has been an educator for 24 years.  She received her MSE in Educational Leadership from Drake in 2005.  

Doctoral Graduates Fall, 2017

  • Mickolyn Clapper Ed.D., Advisor: Dr. Robyn Cooper  
  • Sara Coleman Ed.D., Advisor: Dr. Robyn Cooper  
  • Brooke Gevock Ph.D., Advisor: Dr. Sally Beisser  
  • Jeffry Grassmeyer Ph.D., Advisor: Dr. Robyn Cooper
  • Derrick Craig Joel Ed.D., Advisor: Dr. Catherine Gillespie  
  • Graham Jones Ed.D., Advisor: Dr. Sally Beisser  
  • Megan Knight Ph.D., Advisor: Dr. Robyn Cooper 
  • Susie Lubbers Ph.D., Advisor: Dr. Catherine Gillespie  
  • Kristopher Rollins Ph.D., Advisor: Dr. Jill Johnson  
  • Chuck Sengstock Ed.D., Advisor: Dr. Sally Beisser  
  • Joe Spiess Ph.D., Advisor: Dr. Robyn Cooper


Counseling program alum, Benjamin Barry, MS ’09, was recently granted the Middle Level School Counselor of the Year award from the Iowa School Counselor Association. Barry is a Middle School Counselor in the Carlisle Community School District.

In April 2017, School Counseling student, Gina Beals was appointed as a Graduate Student Chair to the Iowa School Counselors Association Board. She will be representing all school counseling students in Iowa.

In April 2017, Megan Wagner, a pre-service STEM educator received a scholarship from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.

In January 2017, Loan Nguyen, ED’15, a Roosevelt High School English teacher, received a call from U.S. Secretary of Education John King. Periscope TV broadcast the call live, and Mr. King thanked Loan for including all students, for being an inspirational role model, and for her contribution to students' learning.

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