Waldorf University is pleased to announce Courtney East as the winner of its “Why I Teach” competition. East is a first grade teacher at Bowman Woods Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. This is her 12th year teaching.

“Teaching is not only my job, it is my passion and my hobby,” she said. “Much of my free time outside of school is spent staying up-to-date on the best teaching practices and finding ways to improve my lessons and my learning atmosphere for my students.”

As the winner of the competition, East will receive a check for $1,000 to be used toward purchasing supplies for her classroom. Waldorf President Bob Alsop presented East with the check on Oct. 17 at the university. 

“We are so pleased with all of our participants in the “Why I Teach” Contest,” said Waldorf President Bob Alsop. “As a university that values education at all levels, we could not have been happier to choose such an enthusiastic and passionate teacher as Courtney.”

According to East, teaching is “in her blood.” In fact, East’s mother, Linda Murra Janssen, and grandmother, Brunette Qualley Murra, were both teachers. Janssen and Murra also both attended Waldorf.

“My first instinct is always to ask myself how I would want my own children to be treated. My classroom kids have become my extended family and most days are filled with joy, fun and laughter,” she said. “There are also days when I worry endlessly about my students. Last May, I attended nine graduation parties for former students and to see them as adults and know I had a tiny part in their educational experience was the best feeling in the world!”

The Why I Teach competition ran from June 4-July 20, 2018. Submissions were shared via the Waldorf Facebook page and the winner was chosen in combination by the Waldorf University staff and the number of Facebook likes received.