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Diane Fickel Receives the Jacobson Institute K-12 Innovator of the Year Award

Congratulations, Diane! Our own West High School Business Teacher, Diane Fickel, has been selected to receive the 2021 Jacobson Institute K-12 Innovator of the Year award from the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa (Iowa JPEC). This prestigious award recognizes exemplary leadership and engagement in K-12 entrepreneurship education.

Diane has been an instrumental leader for entrepreneurial education in the State of Iowa and across the country. In addition to going through some of our early entrepreneurship education workshops for K-12 educators, Diane was one of the early adopters for the Jacobson Institute's BizInnovator program. She has served on countless work groups represented Business & Entrepreneurship education, including the cross-disciplinary team that helped develop the Business Innovations course we offer at the Kirkwood Regional Center which uses our STEM Innovator curriculum.

As a recognized leader in Business Professionals of America, Diane spearheaded the incorporation of the Jacobson Institute's "Pitch it to Win it" "Shark Tank" style event held at the United Fall Leadership Conference. This program is now a built-in component of that student gathering. Most recently, Diane serves as a member of the BizInnovator Startup curriculum and design team.

Leveraging her 43 years of teaching experience, Diane helped rebuild BizInnovator Startup into a hands on, student-centric, problem-based curriculum. Launched August 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BizInnovator Startup curriculum has received rave reviews from educators across 41 states who have incorporated it into their entrepreneurship education program.

At home at West High and in partnership with the Jacobson Institute, Diane offers her entrepreneurship students the ability to earn University of Iowa college credits. Countless students have benefitted from this offering, recognizing they have the skills and knowledge needed to identify and solve problems through entrepreneurship.

Congratulations Diane from the Iowa City Community School District!

Check out Diane in-action in her BizInnovator Startup classroom.