Allison Berryhill to Receive Top English Teaching Award

She will be the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award.

Allison Berryhill

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Allison Berryhill

Dakota Oswalt, Lead Editor

The Iowa Council of Teachers of English has decided to present the 2022 Distinguished Service Award to AHS English and Journalism teacher Allison Berryhill. An email was sent out on Oct. 1 by Principal Heather McKay informing the student body of the news. The email also says that the award presentation will take place at a conference luncheon on Friday, Oct. 14 in Johnston, Iowa. The high school also posted a statement entailing all of the above information and congratulating the teacher.

Berryhill said that she was “surprised” when she found out she would be receiving this award. “I am humbled by the award. It’s an honor [that] my colleagues across the state have given me,” she said. Her nomination letter came from JoAnn Gage, a colleague of hers from Mount Vernon. “She’s both a Journalism and English teacher and I really admire her so to get that nomination from her felt extra special,” she said. In the letter, Gage said that Berryhill “has changed me as a teacher in profound ways…She continually bolsters my confidence to stretch myself professionally.”

“Allison has changed me as a teacher in profound ways…She continually bolsters my confidence to stretch myself professionally.

— JoAnn Gage

Every year at the awards ceremony, there’s a bulletin that shows past recipients. Berryhill said, “To know that my name is going to be on that list is just really special.”

She has also won other awards throughout her teaching career. In 2017, Berryhill was recognized as the High School English Teacher of the Year by both the Iowa Council of Teachers of English and the Iowa High School Press Association. In 2021, she was also named the national recipient of the 2021 High School Teacher of Excellence Award by the National Council of Teachers.

As far as teaching goes, Berryhill says that the career “suits my personality and skill set,” and she loves interacting with her students while teaching her favorite content like literature, poems, and journalism. “I like pushing my kids ahead of me, that to me is a fun way of teaching. I’d rather trust them too much than not enough,” she said.