GRUNDY CENTER - The love of art is so strong for Ronda Sternhagen she doesn't mind sharing it. In fact, that is her job.
The Grundy Center secondary school teacher is being recognized by her peers for her dedication to the art education field. Sternhagen has been selected as the 2012 art teacher of the year by the Art Educators of Iowa.
"When I found out I was the recipient it was breathtaking," Sternhagen said. "What it's really about though is the kids."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Grundy Center secondary school art teacher Ronda Sternhagen works with two of her seventh grade students on a clay project at the school Thursday, including Chasyti Erickson, left, and Zac Osgood. Sternhagen has been named the art teacher of the year by the Art Educators of Iowa.
She has been teaching art for 22 years, with the last 18 being at Grundy Center. Sternhagen teaches sixth through 12th grade at the school and has been very active in the AEI through the years and is a past president of the board.
Chasyti Erickson, a seventh grader in Sternhagen's class who was making a clay birdhouse Thursday, thinks her teacher earned this award.
"She is a great art teacher," Erickson said. "She teaches us very good stuff."
Grundy Center Principal Steve VanderPol said Sternhagen has an incredible passion for her work.
"The involvement in various school, community and state events, along with her organizational involvement, is accomplished through her commitment, talents and communication skills," VanderPol said.
Kassi Nelson, a former student of Sternhagen's, is now art teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck schools. Nelson said Sternhagen's love of art is contagious.
"She makes her students fall in love with art," Nelson said.
Sternhagen will receive the award at the art education conference Oct. 6 in Council Bluffs.
"It will really be special because my parents will be there and my husband and two sons," Sternhagen said.
She already expects to shed a few tears when she is handed the award.
"I'm an emotional sap," she said.