Northwest Missouri State University

06/13/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/13/2024 13:17

Iwig found home in School of Education, teaching in special education

June 13, 2024

Iwig found home in School of Education, teaching in special education

By Lilly Proctor, communication assistant


Noah Iwig never thought he would be a teacher until he considered Northwest Missouri State University's teacher preparation program, which now has him beginning a career in the special education field.

Iwig, a native of Urbandale, Iowa, graduated from Northwest in April with bachelor's degrees in elementary education and special education. He begins his career this fall as a special education teacher in the United Community School District in Boone County, Iowa.

"The whole Northwest slogan of 'career-ready, day one' - it's true, 100 percent," Iwig said. "I sat down my very first week in PD (professional development) at the district I've been student teaching at, and I was actually able to understand what I learned and see it come to life."

Iwig said he chose Northwest for a few reasons, including the personal attention offered by faculty and staff and the affordable out-of-state tuition.

Once at Northwest, he initially considered a degree in agriculture to follow in the footsteps of his father but took an interest in education after talking with friends in the School of Education.

As he gained teaching experience, Iwig realized how much he enjoyed working with students. He then added a special education major based on his personal experiences with a cousin who has disabilities.

Noah Iwig (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Iwig believes Northwest's profession-based learning opportunities benefited him and opened his eyes to the satisfaction and challenges of working in public school and special education settings. All the while, he honed his skills under the guidance of valuable mentors in the School of Education.

"I had Dr. (Tamara) Lynn and Dr. (Shantel) Farnan for my special ed professors, and they really helped me get ready," he said. "They showed me the ropes and were like, 'Here's what you're gonna do.' The whole ed department, they've had my back; they've had every student's back. It is a family in Brown Hall."

Outside of his coursework, Iwig spent two years as a residential assistant and participated in activities with the Christian Campus House and the Northwest Fishing Club. He also was co-membership chair of the Northwest Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, which works with and advocates for students and adults with disabilities.

"It helped me feel included," Iwig said of his campus involvement. "I came here as a freshman, it was COVID and we didn't have a lot of options. So I was doing anything and everything I could to get out and meet people. Having all the organizations and the University being flexible with us was huge."

Iwig spent the past year student teaching in the Ankeny Community School District in Iowa, working in a high school-level special education classroom, in a traditional fifth-grade classroom and in a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade special education room.

"I'm excited to start my own classroom and start my own traditions and everything, but my time (at Northwest) was something I'd never trade for anything," Iwig said.