Teacher of the Year, Simpson grad to speak in series

by Billy Weathers and Julia Warfield

Charity Campbell is this year’s recipient of the prestigious award, Iowa Teacher of the Year (TOY). Campbell is a Simpson College alumna who graduated in 1996.

Campbell is a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School, the varsity track coach, co-lead mentor and an all around influential leader in the Norwalk district. She attributes much of her success to her experiences as a Simpson student.

Bob Nutgrass, professor of physical education, was one of Campbell’s professors at Simpson and had only exceptional things to say about her character and overall charisma.

“She was a great student,” Nutgrass said. “She balanced her track and athletics with her academics in great fashion as a true student-athlete. She never stopped working hard to improve herself on the track or in the class room. She certainly deserves the recognition that the Iowa TOY brings to her. I can’t say enough wonderful things about her. Simpson College should be very proud to have an alumna such as Charity as a testament to the top-quality type of graduates we develop at Simpson College.”

Campbell spoke at the West Des Moines Campus on March 27 as a part of Simpson’s Speaker Series.

“We have been offering six speakers a year, three in the fall and three in the spring,” said Rosemary Link, associate vice president for academic affairs. “We are particularly focusing on leaders themselves telling us about their experience of leadership so students can hear it from those who know.”

Each speaker focuses on a different topic to capture the attention of a wide variety of students. However, the main focus of each presentation is leadership.

“The distinguishing factors (when selecting speakers) are that someone has several years of being a leader, a successful leader, and that they are willing to talk with us and give us their time,” Link said.

A number of candidates are presented to Simpson each year, but the choice of Campbell was a no brainer.

“She was picked for us because she is the Teacher of the Year for Iowa, the whole (state) of Iowa,” Link said. “So we are extremely lucky to have her. She is someone who is a fabulous example and role model for us and she is a wonderful, energetic and creative teacher.”

Simpson is very proud of Campbell’s success and the education department.

“We pride ourselves on having an outstanding teacher education program,” adjunct professor Marcy Hahn said. “We know that to be effective teachers and to inspire others to be effective teachers, we have to invest in each person academically and emotionally. It’s like a winning sports program, it gets positive attention, and others considering teaching will give us a look.”

Link said Simpson students can benefit greatly from listening to Campbell.

“I hope they attend because it helps them see people who bring passion to their work,” Link said. “Everyone we have had speak really has a sense of vocation and what they do. Someone like Charity Campbell they just really walk the talk. They demonstrate to us what it means to bring passion to their lives. I hope students get that sense of, ‘wow I can really follow through on my dreams even if there are some tough patches.’ I hope that they have the opportunity to network with employers and with colleagues, and come away with a good sense of what good leadership looks like.”

Students believe they can benefit from listening to Campbell too.

“I could learn leadership skills from her such as time management and patience,” said Jaime Williams, sophomore and vice president of Simspon’s Education Club. “I think this is a great opportunity for students to learn from her and get new ideas.”

The Simpson Speaker Series is a great opportunity for students to hear real life experiences from some influential people. The events in the Speaker Series take place on the last Tuesday of each month and transportation is provided to each event free of charge.