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UNI's College of Education to host Alumni in Residence

April 8, 2013

Andrea Elliott, director of development for College of Education, 319-504-5951,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Several successful graduates of the University of Northern Iowa's College of Education will be on campus again Thursday, April 11, to share their experiences and advice with current students, the campus community and the public.

The participants for the second annual Alumni in Residence event will be 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year Tania Johnson; Harold "Jay" Colsch, special education coordinator with AEA 267; and Kelly Putnam, director of culture, change and engagement with Trinity Health. The trio will spend the full day on campus guest lecturing in classes, meeting with administrators and faculty and participating in a panel discussion that is open to the public.

Johnson, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education in 1985 and a master's degree in educational technology in 2001, both from UNI. She spent 20 years teaching kindergarten in the Cedar Rapids School District before moving to the role of teacher quality liaison this school year. Just after accepting her new role, Johnson was named the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year. Johnson and her husband, Jim, live in Cedar Rapids with their children, Kai and Cam.

Colsch, of Waverly, Iowa, earned advanced studies certificates in educational administration and in special education administration from UNI in 2002. Prior to his current position at AEA 267, Colsch coordinated special education services for AEA 7; was a special education consultant; was an itinerant work experience coordinator; and served as a classroom teacher. Colsch and his wife, Patricia, have five children and two grandchildren.

Putnam, of Mason City, Iowa, earned a master's degree in health education and promotion from UNI in 1997, then began work as the health and wellness coordinator for Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa in Mason City. While there, she created Kailo, a non-traditional approach to worksite health promotion which received international recognition. She is a frequent speaker and consultant on holistic worksite health promotion and has authored many articles on the subject. She was a member of the UNI faculty from 2006-08, teaching coursework in worksite health promotion. Her current employer, Trinity, is the fourth-largest Catholic health care system in the United States.

The Alumni in Residence program will also include recognition of members of the UNI community who have received teacher-of-the-year honors in several categories. This includes several alumni and a faculty member.

The panel discussion is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., in Schindler Education Center, Room 247. The Alumni in Residence and teacher of the year honorees will answer questions. A reception honoring these individuals will immediately follow.