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Inaugural AEA Awards Presented to Individuals Who Represent AEA Mission

April 11, 2017

Chad Houston, Sharon Moser, David Barajas, Bill Withers
Winners of the inaugural AEA awards, were, left to right, Chad Houston, Sharon Moser, David Barajas and Bill Withers.

It is with great pleasure that Iowa’s Area Education Agencies announce the recipients of its first ever AEA awards.

Friend of the AEA Award
David Barajas, CEO, Marshalltown Regional Partnership
Chad Houston, President, Kruck Plumbing in Boone

The Friend of the AEA Award acknowledges contributions by policymakers, citizens, board members, school district partners, businesses and organizations who have been great partners and demonstrate strong support for furthering the mission of Iowa’s AEAs.

David Barajas was honored as a business leader who is always looking to support the students of Marshalltown Community Schools. He has been instrumental in bringing Project Lead the Way biomedical and engineering programs to a reality at Marshalltown High School.

Chad Houston was nominated for his contributions in helping Boone High School reach its mission. He directly influences students with special needs who are supported by vocational rehab and AEA staff. Kruck has also partnered with Boone High School to create only the third pre-apprenticeship program in the state of Iowa.

Innovative Creator Award
Sharon Moser, Library Paraeducator, Fort Dodge Community School District

The Innovative Creator Award celebrates amazingly innovative and creative thinking and actions to get results for students, educators, the AEA system, school districts and other partners. Open to AEA staff, board members, educators, policymakers and students.

Sharon Moser was honored for her instrumental role in creating a Makerspacer at Feelhaver Elementary School in Fort Dogde. She researched activities, contacted local funding streams, businesses and foundations to begin fundraising and redesigned the physical space in the library. If you were to walk into the Feelhaver library today, you would see kids creating, innovating, teaching and collaborating on a daily basis.

Dr. E. Robert Stephens Award
Dr. Bill Withers, Board Member, Keystone AEA

The E. Robert Stephens Award, named for Dr. E. Robert Stephens, acknowledges contributions from AEA administrators and board members in the area of innovation and support to local districts, AEAs, the Department of Education and other partners/organizations. There should be evidence of outstanding contributions to the well being of the educational community.

Bill Withers was honored for his service to Keystone AEA, where he has been a member of the board of directors from the Agency’s inception in 1974 until 1992 and then from 1998 to the present. He continues to meet with the boards of education of the school districts he represents and brings feedback to the AEA board table.

The winners were honored at the annual Iowa AEA Boards of Directors’ Conference on March 30-31, 2017 in Des Moines. Over 50 people were nominated among the three categories.

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