Iowa’s 2023 teacher of the year is from Mitchellville Elementary school
Teacher of the Year Krystal Colbert (Department of Education photo)

DES MOINES — The Governor announced Monday that a Mitchellville Elementary School teacher is the 2023 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

Krystal Colbert says she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. “I had a lot of amazing educators in my own life who helped kind of shape that for me. I remember from a very young age, I had teachers who made me feel valued, and loved and respected,” Colbert says. “And I could really tell that they cared about me as a person, and they cared about my success in the future.”

She says every child learns in a different way, and it’s her job to help them understand that. “I believe that student empowerment is when children are able to be in control of their actions and their learning environment. I think it’s really important to help students set goals and to help them know what steps come in reaching those goals. And I always think that children need to be involved in what they’re learning and how they’re learning it,” Colbert says.

She says it’s important to have a one-on-one connection with every student, and that helps build a trusting community. “I really take the time to invest in the relationships that I have with my students, as well as their families. I like to keep them connected to what we’re doing in our classroom through weekly emails and newsletters,” she says. “And I think it’s also very vital to stay connected and build those relationships with my colleagues as well.”

Colbert has been teaching for 16 years and says she’s still excited to get up and go to work every day. She’s also happy to take on the challenge of being the teacher of the year. “I am so excited and honored to be the 2023 Iowa Teacher of the Year. And I look forward to being able to travel the state of Iowa, as well as do a little traveling throughout the United States and just be able to meet amazing educators,” she says.

Colbert lives in Altoona and made her comments in a Department of Education video.