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Ashford University Recognizes Two Local Teachers
Teacher of the Year Award and a teaching scholarship presented to area educators
Jean Hansen, second from left, was recently named "Ashford University 2014 Teacher of the Year." Pictured with her are representatives from Ashford University's College of Education, Dr. Joen Larson and Mindy Dunlap, and Champ, Ashford's mascot.

Ashford University recently recognized two area teachers for their excellence. Jean Hansen, a teacher in the Camanche School District, was named the “Ashford University 2014 Teacher of the Year,” while Nicole Van Zuiden, who teaches in the River Bend School District, was awarded a full scholarship to Ashford’s Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology program.

Hansen has been in the teaching profession for 37 years, all of which have been with the Camanche School District. Throughout that time, she has taught first, second, third, fourth, and sixth grade. “My favorite activity with the students is to read stories and poetry,” she said. “They are like little sponges soaking up every word. It is very rewarding watching the students grow and progress academically from the beginning of the year to the end of the school year. I believe teaching is an incredibly important profession and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Hansen and her husband, Don, and have two children, Kate and Chris. As part of her Teacher of the Year award, Hansen received $500 to purchase classroom supplies.

Van Zuiden has been a teacher in the River Bend School District for eight years. She taught second grade for one year and first grade for seven years. She and her husband, Mitch, are the parents of two children, Owen and Paisley.

As the winner of the Ashford University Teacher Scholarship, Van Zuiden was given the choice of enrolling in either of the University’s two online teacher education programs: the Master of Arts in Education or the Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology. The scholarship includes full program tuition, all course materials, and a waiver for technology fees.

To be eligible for the Ashford University Teacher of the Year Award and Teacher Scholarship, teachers must be employed at a public or private K-12 school in the Iowa counties of Clinton, Scott, or Jackson; the Illinois counties of Carroll, Whiteside, or Rock Island; or any school district that has hosted Ashford University student-teacher clinical placements. Teachers were nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award, while teachers interested in the scholarship program were asked to submit a reflective paper and letters of nomination and recommendation.


About Ashford University

Achievement belongs to all of us at Ashford University. By offering a traditional college campus as well as online degree programs, Ashford meets the diverse needs of individuals pursuing integrity in their lives and in their communities. Students may earn an associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degree online, while campus students in Clinton, Iowa may earn a bachelor’s degree. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.