Award-winning Waukee Teacher Kerisa Baedke

March 13, 2020
Iowan of the Week

Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Kerisa Baedke, teacher and educator at Prairieview School in Waukee, as this week’s Iowan of the Week.

Kerisa is a foreign language teacher at Prairieview School in Waukee, Iowa. In her Spanish classes, she has built an immersive, vibrant environment in which her students feel comfortable and confident learning a new language. By combining a bright, colorful array of decorations with interactive lessons – taught almost entirely in Spanish – Kerisa brings a world of art, culture, and history to Prairieview School.

Kerisa has a passion for teaching foreign languages and promoting different cultural experiences in her classes. Her whole family speaks three or four language, she says, and that is where she first discovered love and passion for language. She also comes from a family of educators; her parents both dedicated themselves to teaching. Kerisa said she was born to be a teacher and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Prairieview School students look forward to Mrs. Baedke’s class each year, including her well-known projects like creative cultural dances or the “Día de los Muertos” shoebox. Kerisa has made a lasting impression on her students, cultivating a passion for language and for learning. In fact, it was a student nominated her for the Iowa State Education Association’s Excellence in Education Award – and Kerisa won.

The accolades don’t stop there. I am proud to say that Kerisa was also awarded with the National Education Association’s Horace Mann Award. This prestigious national honor is awarded to only five teachers each year for their outstanding contributions to their students and to the teaching profession. Kerisa is the first ever teacher from Iowa to receive the Horace Mann Award, and I know the entirely Prairieview School community is delighted by her achievement.

As a mom, I know that education is the single most important investment we can make in our children. I am proud to know that our children have teachers like Kerisa helping them learn and grow. It is her commitment to creating an engaging, nurturing, and most importantly exciting environment for students to learn that makes her a pillar of our community. It is my honor to celebrate Kerisa Baedke and recognize her as the Iowan of the Week.