Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Who We Are

The Iowa Council of Teachers of English is the volunteer organization that facilitates deep connections and professional learning face-to-face and online for English/language arts teachers of all stages.

Our organization provides the best English teacher professional development in the state with nationally revered speakers and current trends in education at the annual Fall Conference, as well as smaller opportunities at EngCamp and at writing retreats. We provide social media connections in our Facebook and Twitter  pages, as well as our private group for members. We also provide support when books and curriculum are challenged. Together, we strive toward excellence as an affiliate of NCTE!

Meet your Executive Board members:

ICTE executive board members meet after the 2018 fall conference.

Advocacy Coordinator

Melanie Wirtz

Melanie Wirtz teaches 8th grade Language Arts at Peet Junior High in Cedar Falls. She is a National Board Certified Teacher with a passion for creating a love of reading in her students and helping students grow as writers. Melanie is in her 20th year of teaching. She has taught 7th – 12th grade and loves the energy that comes with junior high students. She is also an active member of ISEA and NEA, working hard to ensure teachers’ voices are heard in the community and by our government officials.  Melanie lives in rural Cedar Falls with her husband Scott and son Carson. Melanie loves to bake, read, and spend time working in the yard.

Conference Chair

Nikki Smith

Nikki Smith is a high school English teacher at Urbandale High School and is currently in her twelfth year of teaching. She loves the new challenges and celebrations teaching offers every day.  Teaching allows her to combine all of her passions: reading, writing and children. She loves the new challenges and celebrations teaching offers every day. Nikki thrives on the professional experiences and opportunities provided through ICTE and the Iowa Writing Project as means to grow as a teacher, learner, and writer.  She and her husband, Casey, are parents to their daughter, Mila and another daughter due in December. She sometimes blogs about teacher narratives at theoneaboutteachingenglish.blogspot.com and can be found on twitter @MrsSmithUHS.

Executive Director

Donna Niday

Dr. Donna Niday coordinates the English Education program at Iowa State University. She teaches young adult literature, English methods courses, and a graduate literature methods course, as well as supervising student teachers. She is a co-author of three books about mentoring beginning teachers. Previously, she taught middle school and high school English. Her interests include reading and traveling, and she never grows tired of either! She has been involved in ICTE for many years and has enjoyed seeing the organization grow and change. She encourages all teachers to actively participate in making the educational profession even stronger.

Past President

Erin Miller

Erin Miller is currently the Associate Principal for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at Ames Middle School. Erin has been active in ICTE for over ten years, serving as awards co-chair, secretary, and president. Erin began her career as a middle school and high school English teacher, and teacher will always be essential to her identity, even as she has moved into other roles. These experiences have left her with a passion for helping teachers to be effective, efficient, and energetic in the classroom. Outside of school, Erin loves to spend time with her family, including her daughter Kate, husband Jake, and loyal dog, Jessie. She enjoys running (ok, jogging), reading, watching ISU sports, and spending time on the water. She loves taking reading suggestions – email her at [email protected] or find her on Goodreads to help feed her passion.

President

Haley Moehlis

Haley Moehlis teaches at Valley High School in West Des Moines and spent the first twelve years of her career at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. She teaches Fundamentals of Writing and Modern American Literature with rotating elective courses (Creative Writing and Independent Literature Survey). She is married to an infinitely patient man as they do their best to corral four children who are equal parts sweet and challenging. She loves to write terrible poems in her pop-up camper (that is perpetually set up in the driveway — a writer’s retreat, but a poor one, as the children don’t have to work hard to find her). She loves: her family; laughing with friends; coming up with grand ideas that never come to fruition; Pilot G2 .38 pens; writing letters; the moon; sewing, painting, and all things crafty; sunrises; the woods; Mary Oliver; reading in the hammock; and the brilliant collective that is ICTE.

NCTE and Professional Organizations Liaison 

Kirstey Ewald has served on the ICTE executive board for 18 years.  Currently, she works as a school improvement consultant at Central Rivers AEA.  Previous to this, she taught in a high school English/language arts classroom for twenty years.  She says, “I’m an ELA teacher who just happens to be serving teachers and students through the lens of my school improvement work.  I most love the times in this position when I’m able to collaborate directly with teachers who are thinking about how to enhance their classroom practice and increase student learning through a new instructional framework.  That reflection about the need to change and the willingness to take a risk is the heart of learning.”  When she’s not driving her car across the state to support districts, you’ll likely find her binging on TV shows via Netflix or Hulu, enjoying a live music show somewhere, or — no surprise here — reading a book.  Reach out to her on Twitter, @KirsteyELA, and/or through old-fashioned e-mail: [email protected]centralriversaea.org.

Publications Co-Coordinator 

Allison Berryhill

Allison Berryhill teaches at Atlantic High School. Allison taught in Exira and Audubon before taking a 14-year hiatus to raise her six children with farmer-husband Dan Hoegh. In 2003 she joined the staff at Atlantic High School where she advises the journalism program and teaches freshman English and creative writing. She is the chair for NCTE’s Public Language Awards Committee, which selects the recipients for the George Orwell and Doublespeak awards.  She also serves on the board of the Iowa High School Press Association. She is also an accordion player, a front-porch poet, and a wedding officiant.  Follow her at @allisonberryhil  for photos of #IowaSky and schoolblazing.blogspot.com for random musings.

Publications Co-Coordinator

Austin Hall

Austin Hall teachers at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines. He is entering his 11th year in the classroom. Obsessed with growing his classroom library, Austin believes in choice as a central means of empowering students. When he’s not feeding his Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Half Price Books addictions, Austin enjoys visiting his family in the Twin Cities, binge-watching Netflix and HBO Go, and loyally following his oft-underachieving sports teams: Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Buffalo Bills. He can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @teachguylibraian.

Recognition Coordinator

Colleen Flathers

Colleen Flathers is a high school  Language Arts teacher at Central DeWitt High School in DeWitt, Iowa. Currently, she primarily teaches 10th grade but also teaches a second chance reading class to incoming freshmen. She is starting her 17th year at CDHS and really enjoys getting students back into reading.  Colleen along with her husband Kurt is currently trying to navigate the empty nest syndrome after having children at home for 26 years.  In her spare time, Colleen enjoys reading, scrapbooking, attempting to blog (Musings of an old English Teacher), and playing with her two cats Sox and Tabitha.

 

Secretary

Lauren Stephens

Lauren Stephens teaches at Dike-New Hartford High School. Lauren will be entering her fifth year of teaching Creative Writing, Yearbook, Individualized Reading, English II, and English IV. She spends most of her time outside of school running the Cedar Valley trails with her husband, reading historical fiction, and planning her next vacation.

 

Treasurer 

Laura Meyer is a lead teacher at Irving in the Waterloo Community School District.  This is her first year in that role as she has spent the last 5 years as a literacy coach and curriculum leader for Waterloo Community Schools and the 14 years before that as a middle school literacy teacher. Laura is also a reviewer for articles being submitted to Voices in the Middle.  If it has words, she “reads” it!

Website Coordinator

JoAnn Gage

JoAnn Gage teaches English and journalism at Mount Vernon High School. She advises Mount Vernon’s newspaper and yearbook, is an MJE in the Journalism Education Association and is actively involved in the Iowa High School Press Association. Her courses include AP Literature and Composition (for the first time this year!), Mystery Stories, 21st Century Journalistic Writing, English I, and Publication & Design. JoAnn enjoys taking photos of her husband and two sons, who do not enjoy having their pictures taken. You can find her on Twitter at @joann_gage.

 

 

We are the Iowa affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of EnglishJoin NCTE today!


We are dedicated to intellectual engagement, collaboration, and excellence.

In a November 2012 TEDx Talk, John Green explains where the title of his third novel came from, and he illuminates the history behind the fictitious town of Agloe, New York. Green explains that what two cartographers fictitiously created in the 1930s became a reality when developers built a general store on the cartographers’ site and named it Agloe General Store in the 1950s.

Green describes Agloe as “an irresistible metaphor to a novelist, because we would all like to believe that the stuff we write down on paper can change the actual world in which we’re living.” As English/language arts teachers, Green’s idea of writing changing the world through writing is irresistible to us as well.

At the end of his TEDx Talk, Green talks about the ability of the Internet to provide “places for intellectual engagement” and community. Green says: “When we invented Agloe, New York, in the 1960s–when we made Agloe real–we were just getting started.” So welcome to the Iowa Council of Teachers of English website, a place dedicated to intellectual engagementcollaboration, and excellence.

We facilitate deep connections & professional learning for ELA teachers.
Who We Are