ACTE Announces Iowa Program Coordinator and Assistant Teaching Professor as National Award Finalist


September 25, 2023 

Contact: Dominique Frascoia 


ACTE Announces Iowa Program Coordinator and Assistant Teaching Professor as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Laura Van Waardhuizen, Family and Consumer Science Education & Studies Program Coordinator and Assistant Teaching Professor at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, as the 2023 ACTE Region III Teacher Educator of the Year. This award recognizes the finest career and technical education (CTE) educators at the secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities. 

Van Waardhuizen graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her bachelor’s degree in textiles and apparel. She went on to intern in the quality assurance department at Lands’ End, Inc. She felt like something was missing and transitioned to technical design and later, creative design. An invitation to serve on a national “future search” committee for the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) discipline ignited a passion for teaching. She returned to school and earned her teaching license with endorsements in FCS and health. Laura then spent a decade teaching at Waukee High School, one of Iowa’s fastest-growing school districts.

Laura’s purpose is to share others with the necessary skills to make conscientious choices about their lives and careers. While teaching, she earned her master’s degree in teacher effectiveness and professional development. In 2018, she became the Program Coordinator/Assistant Teaching Professor for the FCS Education & Studies Program at Iowa State University where she works with undergraduates. As the only FCS post-secondary faculty in the state, she also engages with professionals entering teaching through an alternative licensure pathway and teachers from other content areas transitioning into CTE.

Van Waardhuizen serves on boards at both the state and national levels including the Iowa Governor’s CTE Advisory Committee and as the state president for Iowa ACTE. She has recently finished a fellowship with ACTE, focusing her work on removing barriers and attracting diverse candidates to “Say YES to FCS” and CTE. She believes that CTE is the best forum for all students to engage in authentic learning and find success. 

Van Waardhuizen is one of five finalists for the 2024 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Gala, an award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on November 29, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. The Awards Gala is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, Goodheart-Willcox, The Army, and Stratasys. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage. 


About ACTE
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.