Q &A with Sara Brown Wessling

By Lawrence Hardy

In an age of standardized testing and calls for ever-increasing accountability, Iowa teacher Sarah Brown Wessling runs a classroom where self-discovery and forming one’s own ideas are paramount. Education “empowers and liberates,” says Wessling, who recently was named 2010 National Teacher of the Year. It is not a static thing, she says, but an ongoing process that involves teachers and students exploring together.

An English teacher at Johnston High School, Wessling, 35, was honored in April at a White House ceremony hosted by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The National Teacher of the Year is a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Wessling was chosen from among the state Teachers of the Year. She is released from her classroom duties for a year to travel and serve as a spokeswoman for the teaching profession.

Here, she talks with ASBJ Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy about her favorite author, her philosophy of teaching and learning, and the challenges facing her profession in the years to come. 

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