Two Mills County Educators Earn Lakin Teaching Awards

From left: Glenwood Community School District Superintendent Dr. Devin Embray, Carol Landstrom (Bruce Landstrom’s mother), Bruce Landstrom, Cindy Menendez (nominator) and Glenwood Community High School Principal Lorraine Duitsman.

East Mills Elementary School Principal Melissa Nielsen (left) and fourth-grade teacher Cheyenne Ruby.

Bruce Landstrom accepts his $10,000 check and receives applause from the GCHS student body.

Two Mills County educators have been named Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award recipients.

On Thursday, the Charles E. Lakin Foundation presented Bruce Landstrom, lead teacher at the Glenwood Community School District THRIVE program, and Cheyenne Ruby, a fourth grade teacher at the East Mills Elementary School, with the prestigious $10,000 Outstanding Teacher Awards. Landstrom and Ruby were among four southwest Iowa educators recognized with the award from among a record high 245 nominations.

Landstrom was recognized with the award during a surprise assembly of staff and students Thursday morning in the Glenwood Community High School gymnasium. His mother, Carol Landstrom, was also in attendance.

“This means the world to me,” Landstrom said after the award presentation. “To be recognized as an outstanding teacher. You have to think that’s why we all started teaching. The recognition means so much.”

Landstrom said Thursday’s announcement came as a surprise. He was exuberant while accepting the award at Thursday’s ceremony.

“I’m going to Disney World,” he shouted, drawing laughter and applause from the staff and students in attendance.

Landstrom has been an educator for nine years – the last five in Glenwood. The Council Bluffs native started his career in Illinois, teaching three years in Champaign, and then spent one year at Kirn Middle School in Council Bluffs before coming to Glenwood.

Cindy Menendez, Director of Student Services at the THRIVE Program, nominated Landstrom for the award. In her nomination, Menendez stated that students want to be a part of  Landstrom’s classroom because, “He has a seemingly natural ability to establish mutually respectful relationships with his students, his colleagues at THRIVE, and the parents of the students he works with.”

Menendez added,  Landstrom is “Changing the trajectory of the lives of 25 of the most at-risk students in the district, and many people in the district and community have no idea of the powerful work he is doing.”

Ruby was nominated by a parent of a child in the East Mills school district and a previous Outstanding Teacher Award recipient, Nicole Grindle.

Grindle wrote, “I know that my daughter will be successful because of the foundation Ms. Ruby created for her. I believe that Ms. Ruby set the tone for my daughter to feel important and successful in the classroom and to remain truly engaged in learning.”

The Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award is given annually to four outstanding southwest Iowa public school teachers from non-urban schools within a 40-mile radius of the late philanthropist Charles Lakin’s hometown of Emerson.

Winners of the Lakin Award receive $10,000 for personal use and their respective district receives an award of $2,500. Four Outstanding Teacher Awards were presented this year.


The Opinion-Tribune

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