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2013 Teacher of the Year: Tania Johnson  by Tara


Teacher Appreciation Week is in full swing! Our Linn Area Credit Union roots are actually with teachers (see why here or find out about The Teacher Store here), so we especially ADORE this week. But enough about us. We are so proud to have Tania Johnson as a member! You might know her as the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year, but we like to think of her as family. :o)

Tania was kind enough to chat with us a little bit about her teaching experience and receiving such a prestigious honor! (Did you like that 50 cent word I threw in there??)


Left to Right: Gov. Terry Branstad, Tania Johnson 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. Photo credit:

Who was your favorite teacher?
I had many favorite teachers so I can’t list just one. If I think about who my favorite teachers were and why. They were all my favorite for the same reasons, not because of how they taught me but because of the feeling they gave me … the feeling they really cared about me. From my favorite elementary teachers to my favorite middle school and high school  teachers, they all made a connection with me and showed they cared about me.

What made you decide to become a teacher?
I became a teacher because I had the opportunity to visit classrooms when I was in school and really liked helping the kids. I also think that the teachers I had influenced me to go into teaching. I had many experiences at UNI to find out I enjoyed teaching in the primary grades.

What is your favorite part of your job?
The kids and the families.

Where were you when you notified that you were Teacher of the Year?
The day after my interview I had a phone message from someone from Des Moines. I stopped at home to pick up the kids for piano, saw the message and returned the call in the car on the way to piano lessons. I didn’t realize it was “the call” since we weren’t supposed to find out for a week. When the person I was calling said, “Yes, this is Jason Glass, I called you.” I thought it might be and then when he said, “Congratulations!” I knew. I didn’t hear much more of what he said except that I couldn’t tell anyone until they announced it in September. So my family had to keep the secret for a month.

Who is the first person you told?
My kids were the first to figure it out, since they were in the car and heard me talking on the phone. I told my husband next. Everyone else had to wait.

How has this honor changed you?
I hope it hasn’t but I do believe this honor is going to give me the opportunity to learn a great deal about education in Iowa and the nation. I hope I can be a voice for teachers.

Were you nervous to accept the honor?
I was nervous to accept the honor and relieved to not have to keep the secret anymore. The best part about accepting the honor was being able to say thank-you to everyone who has been a part of making me who I am. Being the Teacher of the Year is not an honor that I have earned independently; so many people have encouraged, mentored, collaborated and worked with me over the years. I could not have done this alone.

Besides being named teacher of the year, what is your favorite memory from your career?
Too many memories of students to list ( great field trips, kindergarten excitement, seeing kids in public, getting National Board Certification, teaching overseas).

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?
I always thought I would be a vet because I love animals but in reality I can’t imagine not being a teacher.

Thank you so much to Tania and all the other AMAZING teachers out there! We appreciate ALL that you do!


Inside look at The Teacher Store  by Tara


If you’ve ever been to Kathy’s Pies, you probably know what The Teacher Store looks like on the outside. But are you curious what The Teacher Store looks like on the INSIDE? Come along, I’m going to take you for a little tour!

Want to know more about The Teacher Store? Click here.

Tell us in the comments below, have you been to The Teacher Store? What kind of cool things did YOU discover while there???

Nom the Mom 2012: The winner is…  by Tara


After nearly 300 votes for the finalists, I’m excited to give you the woman YOU voted as Linn Area Credit Union’s 2012 Nom the Mom. Check out the video of us surprising her:

Congratulations to our winner and to our other finalists!!! you are all amazing women! Happy Mother’s Day!

Now THAT’S a Big Check!  by Tara


On behalf of Linn Area Credit Union, I wanted to give a round of applause to Alliant! The Alliant Energy Foundation has given The Teacher Store a generous donation of $1,500. This money will go towards replenishing some of the most popular items in the store, such as Clorox wipes, Kleenex, markers, folders, and backpacks.

On Thursday, January 17th, Leah Rodenberg from the Alliant Energy Foundation stopped by The Teacher Store to present us with the coveted “big check” – and, YES, it actually was a BIG CHECK! She was given the grand tour and was very impressed with how much the store had to offer. (Go here to see some pictures of the Teacher Store.)

“What is this Teacher Store?” you might be asking yourself. The Teacher Store is a non-profit place where teachers can come to get things for their classrooms. We realize that schools cannot afford to supply everything necessary for each classroom and that often means that teachers end up buying things right out of their own pockets.

So in 2008, Linn Area Credit Union joined forces with the Cedar Rapids Education Association to open The Teacher Store, with the goal of providing classroom materials and supplies at no cost to local educators. In fact, the only form of currency accepted at this store is the Teacher Buck. Educators can earn Teacher Bucks in several ways, including by becoming a member of Linn Area Credit Union, being part of the CREA, or even by volunteering at the Teacher Store.

Okay, because YOU are so awesome and a loyal Bloggity Blog reader, we are going to give you a Teacher Buck to print off and give to your favorite educator! Just click on the picture of the blue Teacher Buck  and the picture should appear in its own screen. You can print it off from there, fill it out, and give it to your favorite educator! If you have any trouble, shoot me an email at

So tell us, who was YOUR favorite teacher in school?