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We LOVE Teachers!  by Jan


TeacherSquareYep, there’s a soft spot in our heart for teachers. (After all, we ARE the teacher’s credit union!)

I have fond (but vague) memories of teachers. When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. My dad was in the Navy, and we moved every couple of years. My younger brother always struggled with relocating — he was a very social guy who made friends easily and had his heart wrenched every time he had to leave his buddies behind.

As for me, I found solace in books and schools and teachers.

Mrs. Campbell. Mrs. Johnson. Mr. Zito. These are just a few of the teachers I remember from my childhood, which is quite a bit further back than I would like to admit. (Although, truly, my memory has always been a little sketchy due to all the place-hopping our family did.)

I’d like to think that we all have at least one teacher who affected our lives for the better. The one who told you that your artwork was awesome. The one who wrote “Very Interesting!” in red pen at the top of your book report. Or the one who didn’t believe you when you dramatically whined you couldn’t solve the math problem because it was TO-O-O-O-O HARD! And instead of letting you off the hook, that teacher challenged you, enlightened you, and inspired you. That teacher encouraged you. That teacher respected you. And that teacher told you that no matter what it was, no matter how impossible it seemed, “You could DO it!”

And you believed that teacher. And by believing that teacher, you learned to believe in yourself.

So… here’s to all the teachers who make a positive difference in a child’s life. In doing so, you are changing the world.

Linn Area Credit Union would like to say “Thanks!” to all our area teachers.

Please join us for our Teacher Appreciation Party at the Teacher Store on May 3rd from 3:30 to 7pm. Enjoy food and drinks, do some shopping, and socialize with other area educators. There’ll also be door prizes and giveaways! Print out your very own invitation, including a Teacher Store coupon good for five Teacher Bucks.

Enter for a chance to win! In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6, Linn Area Credit Union will randomly select five lucky teachers to each win one (1) $25 Granite City gift card. To enter, tell us why you love teaching. The drawing will be Monday, May 9.

Thanks for all you do for our children and our community!

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Chad  by Tara


Last but not least… a huge congrats to Chad Bakkum of Harding Middle School! You earned our last $50 Granite City gift card. Thanks so much to Chad and ALL of our teachers!

Chad Bakkum

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Shawn  by Tara


Here’s to Shawn Thomsen, teacher at Kennedy High School! A well-deserved $50 gift card to Granite City is coming your way. {Stop by tomorrow to see our last winner!}

Shawn Thomsen

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Anita  by Tara


Let’s hear it for Anita Ehmsen from Harding Middle School! Enjoy your $50 gift card to Granite City! {Two more winners to go!}

Anita Ehmsen

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Cindy  by Tara


Cindy West from Jefferson High School is walking away with a $50 gift card to Granite City! You are amazing! {Who will be next? Come stop back tomorrow to find out!}

Cindy West

Teacher Appreciation Winner: Jill  by Tara


Congrats to Jill Novotny from Prairie Hill Elementary, our first winner of a $50 gift card to Granite City! Thanks for all that you do!

Jill Novotny

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?