Frahm selected for Gold Star teacher

Every year since 1989, the RJ McElroy Trust and KWWL selects 10 teachers from around northeast Iowa to be honored with the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teacher. This year, Cedar Falls High School’s own Tammy Frahm has been selected for her outstanding teaching as a special education teacher.

Ten teachers are selected through nominations sent in from students, parents and teachers themselves and rewarded with $1,000 cash at a live ceremony. In 2018, 954 nominations from across northeast Iowa were received by the trust.

The program was developed to highlight and encourage excellence in Iowa education and reward teachers for their underappreciated work. The trust says that there is “nothing more important” to education than a teacher who is passionate and good at what they do, and is able to spur growth and excitement in learning within their students. The program highlights members of the profession who are often “overworked, underappreciated and lured into more lucrative fields.”

Frahm has taught for 23 years and describes her teaching style as “consistent and relaxed.” She said, “My favorite part of my job is watching my students learn and grow into young adults.”

While Frahm said that she is “honored to be receiving the Gold Star award,” she emphasized what the award truly encompasses, and contributes her success as a teacher and recognition by the Trust to many others around her.

“Every day I am thankful that I have parents that give me the privilege to work with their children.” Frahm said. “I am grateful for the bus drivers that bring my students to school safely. Our friendly janitors clear a safe path and check with me daily to make sure the room is comfortable for learning. I have a team of teachers in my department that are willing to share ideas, and teachers throughout the building are ready to say ‘We can figure this out,’ and ‘Let’s work on this together.’”

Frahm also recognized others in the school who do not get recognition for their hard work and contributions to the success of her students, including bus drivers who bring students to school safely; janitors who clear safe paths and check in with Frahm daily to make sure the room is safe for learning; the school nursing staff, who have helped to train Frahm to make sure students’ individual needs are met; skilled counselors who work hard even after school hours; office workers; paraeducators, whom Frahm refers to as the “foundation” of her classroom; and support teams, among many others who Frahm believes are necessary to her success.

Even people outside the school building have helped Frahm reach her and her student’s full potential by assisting with the repair of wheelchairs, learning to use communication devices and providing smooth transitions for her students into post-highschool life.

“Each school day I am blessed to work with some of the most amazing young people that are eager to learn everything I can teach them. Truthfully, over the years they have taught me much more than I could ever teach them,” Frahm said. “You see, the award may have my name on it, but a Gold Star teacher encompasses more than just one person.”

Frahm and the other nine Gold Star Award teachers will be honored in a ceremony at the  Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus on May 22 at  7 p.m, which will feature a performance from the Gold Star Singers children’s choir.

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