Glenwood and Red Oak Teachers win Outstanding Teacher Awards


April 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Two southwest Iowa teachers are the recipients of the 2012 Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award. Kay Fast, High School Vocal Instructor at Glenwood, and Melinda Smits, kindergartner teacher at Inman Elementary in Red Oak received their awards during special ceremonies held Monday. Both instructors received $10,000, while their school districts received $2,500. Named after a well-known philanthropist, the Lakin award is presented to teachers or counselors in 25 Iowa school districts within 40 miles of Emerson, Lakin’s hometown. Lakin and wife Florence Swoboda Lakin currently reside in Malvern.

Lakin created the award as a way to give back to teachers, who were a big influence on his life. His mission is to reward teachers who entice students to come to school each day, and to emphasize the vital role of teachers in rural communities. Teachers in large urban communities such as Council Bluffs and Lewis Central were excluded from the award. Administrators were also excluded.