Area Educators Honored by Ashford University

Teachers receive scholarships and 'Teacher of the Year' award

For the third consecutive year, Ashford University has presented full scholarships to three area school teachers. During “Ashford Night with the Clinton Lumberkings” on April 21, Joen Larson, dean of Ashford’s College of Education, announced that Jennifer Kizer, Jennifer Miller and Tami Vandercar will receive the 2012 scholarships for master’s level programs.

In addition to the scholarship winners, Rachel Truelsen received the Ashford University 2012 “Teacher of the Year” award.

Scholarship winners will enroll in either of Ashford University’s two online teacher education programs – the Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) or the Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology (MATLT). These scholarships include full program tuition, all books and a technology fee waiver.

As recipient of the “Teacher of the Year” award, Truelsen will receive $500.00 for classroom materials or supplies.

“We are thrilled to present these scholarships and ‘Teacher of the Year’ award to some of our area’s best educators,” Larson said. “Ashford University appreciates the dedication of these four individuals and of all of our area’s education professionals. On a daily basis they are making a difference in the lives of their students.”

Jennifer Kizer is a third grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic School; she has been teaching there for five years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Clare College and will enroll in Ashford’s MATLT program.

Jennifer Miller is completing her first year of teaching fourth grade special education at Eagle Heights Elementary School in Clinton. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ashford University in 2008 and is currently completing her instructional specialist endorsement at Ashford. Miller will enroll in the MAEd program.

Tami Vandercar has been at Riverdale Elementary for almost 18 years where she is now a kindergarten teacher. She graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree and will enroll in the MATLT program.

Rachel Truelsen is a seventh grade language arts teacher at Washington Middle School, Clinton where she has been for six years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ashford University.  Truelsen is the school’s yearbook advisor, student council advisor, and she coaches or has coached volleyball, track and basketball. She also regularly hosts college interns, practicum students and student teachers.  Brian Kenney, principal at Washington Middle School, said, “The WMS staff is proud of Rachel for being recognized for all the great things she does for Washington Middle School.”

Teachers applied for the full-ride scholarships by submitting a reflective paper; Ashford accepted nominations for the “Teacher of the Year” award.

The person who nominated Truelsen said, “(She) has graciously served as a member of (Ashford University’s) practitioner preparation internal committee, teacher advisory board and as a mentor teacher for practicum and student teachers. She is a credit to the teaching profession as she acts as an inspiration to middle school students and pre-service teachers alike.”


About Ashford University

Ashford University is defining the modern college experience by combining the heritage of a traditional campus with the flexibility and effectiveness of online learning. The University provides a vibrant learning community where high-quality programs and leading-edge technology create a dynamic, immersive and stimulating learning experience. Ashford University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association ( The University offers practical and progressive associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, as well as bachelor’s degree programs at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. Ashford University – where heritage meets innovation. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.