Mrs. Punteney earns the Dan Chavez Beyond the Horizon Teacher Award


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Mrs. Wendy Punteney received the Dan Chavez Beyond the Horizon Teacher award for 2019. She is pictured here with her nominator, and TJ teacher, Jim DeMott.

Kelsie Anderson, Reporter

This year, Mrs. Wendy Punteney earned the Dan Chavez Beyond the Horizon Teacher Award at the Iowa Culture and Language Conference in Coralville, IA. This annual award is given to a person who has demonstrated extraordinary effort on behalf of the immigrant, refugee, and non-English speaking populations of Iowa.

“I didn’t try out for the award,” said Punteney. “My teaching partner (Jim DeMott) had nominated me without telling me, so it was kind of a surprise.”

The description of the teacher award states that teachers are eligible on any educational level who have demonstrated exemplary performance in the following areas: teaching of content material or English as a second language to English language learners, advocacy for the needs and rights of English language learners and their families.

The Dan Chavez Beyond the Horizon Teacher Award is in remembrance of Dan Chavez. He worked as a Bilingual Consultant for the Iowa department of education. 

The Dan Chavez Beyond the Horizon Awards have three separate awards. These three awards are Individual Advocate, Organization, and the Teacher Award. 

“I was surprised and shocked at winning the award and after I thought about it for a while, it was a nice award,” said Punteney.

Punteney also said that if her students were to try for something that she doesn’t want them to give up, put in a lot of hard work, ask for help for when you need it, and look for those people who can support you instead of dragging you down.

Punteney explained that she doesn’t believe that she will try out for an award again because she doesn’t really like the attention, and that she would rather just do her job and fly under the radar. But it is nice to get recognized for different things like this but it’s not something that she actively seeks out.

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The Dan Chavez Beyond the Horizon Teacher award was awarded to ELL teacher Wendy Punteney.