Six West Des Moines Community Schools educators have received recent recognition for their success and expertise as teachers and coaches.
Valley Southwoods Freshman High School Associate Principal Bryan Stearns and Western Hills Elementary School teacher Mike Beranek were both named to Iowa’s Every Student Succeeds Act Advisory Committee. The committee is providing input on the development of Iowa’s plan to meet the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
Indian Hills Junior High School language arts teacher Allison Koontz and Valley High School language arts teacher Ryan Penning also received recognition this summer. Koontz earned the 2016 Iowa Communication Association Outstanding New Teacher Award based on her service, leadership, and dedication to speech and theater education.
Penning received the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Dr. Robert E. and Phyllis M. Yager Exemplary Teaching Recognition Award, which highlights UNI graduates who have gone on to excellence as K-12 teachers in Iowa. He will speak at a special luncheon with the UNI president in December and receive $3,000.
Two Valley High School coaches were honored after successful seasons. Softball coach Tom Bakey was named to the Iowa Girls Coaches Association (IGCA) Hall of Fame in July 2016. He has coached softball in the West Des Moines Community Schools for 30 seasons, including 20 seasons as the program’s head coach. During those 20 years, Bakey and his teams have earned a .802 winning percentage and five state titles. He was previously recognized by IGCA as Softball Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2010.
Valley High School boys’ soccer coach Aziz Haffar was selected as the 2016 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) State High School Coach of the Year. Haffar has been the head boys’ soccer coach for 27 years and has led the team to a .86 winning percentage and five state championships. He was previously named the NSCAA State High School Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2006.
Congratulations to these excellent WDMCS educators!