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Simpson alumna accepts Golden Apple award


Simpson alumna Tiffany Thomas-Killam ’18 has always loved to teach. It just took her a little time to find the right fit.

A former yoga instructor, Thomas-Killam began teaching eighth grade health at Prairieview School in Waukee, Iowa, just one year ago. She has now been awarded WHO-TV’s Golden Apple for her exceptional teaching skills.

The award is presented to one Iowa teacher each month of the school year. Nominees possess creative teaching methods, unique classroom activities, or participate in extracurricular activities. Special consideration is given to nominations made by students. 

“I think it says more about the kids, how forgiving they are and how much grace they give me,” Thomas-Killam said of the honor.  

Thomas-Killam graduated from Simpson College as a continuing and graduate student. She commuted to class every day from her home in Van Meter where she raises three young children. 

As a transfer student, Thomas-Killam chose Simpson for the college’s flexibility to accommodate her busy schedule.

“Simpson had the most efficient program for a non-traditional student with kids looking to get through school,” Thomas-Killam said. “Simpson was also the most responsive of all of the schools I reached out to. Linda Jermeland in the Department of Teacher Education went out of her way many times to check my transferring transcripts.”

While at Simpson, she majored in physical education and received a health endorsement. She credits her amazing teachers for her success, including Bob Nutgrass, Patty Woodward-Young, and Korrie Clarkwilt. 

She said Nutgrass taught her to laugh at her mistakes, Woodward-Young taught her about diversity and how to think outside the box, and Clarkwilt taught health in a way that almost felt contagious - the same model she uses in her classroom today.

All three of her professors are still in contact with her. 

“I felt welcomed from the beginning and it felt like a small family,” Thomas-Killam said.  “I always had support when I needed it and my teachers always had time for me.”

WHO Golden Apple Interview with Tiffany Thomas-Killam