Muscatine man wins prestigious adult-education award
Jason Walker, an adult education and literacy instructor at Muscatine Community College, is the recipient of the 2017 Archie Willard Adult Education and Literacy Educator of the Year. Walker was given the award in front of his colleagues and peers during the statewide Adult Education and Literacy Conference this week.
The award is in memory of Archie Willard, whom many consider to be the grandfather of Iowa’s adult education and literacy programs. It recognizes educators who embody the value and principles that Willard demonstrated through his dedication to increase access to adult education and literacy across the nation.
With many deserving adult education and literacy educators across Iowa, Walker’s nomination showcased his dedication to helping adult students in Eastern Iowa realize their potential. One of his former students, Mason Brown, explains the difference Walker has made in his life.
“Jason changed my life by showing me that I was not stupid and I could be taught,” said Brown, a high school equivalency program graduate and student at Muscatine Community College. “He’s a huge part of the reason that I attend college and I will always be forever grateful for everything he has done for me. Without Jason, I know I would not be where I am today - a sophomore in college set to graduate this year with an associate degree.”
“He encouraged a high school dropout to make something of his life and I can honestly say that I never would have enrolled at any college without his guidance and his belief in me as a student and as a person,” Brown said. “I believe he is the only person I know fit to carry the title of Educator of the Year.”
Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from Morningside College and a master’s degree in public administration from Western Illinois University. He has been the lead teacher for adult basic education, high school equivalency and English as a second language at Muscatine Community College for three years. Prior to his employment at the college, Walker taught English in Madagascar as a Peace Corps volunteer, worked as a community organizer and served as a supervisor in corrections and human services settings.
During Walker’s tenure as the 2017 Archie Willard Adult Education and Literacy Educator of the Year, he will help shape the adult and literacy programs across the state by serving as a consultant to the Iowa Literacy Council and the Iowa Department of Education and participating in the state’s professional development committee.