Quick Links

Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Main Navigation


Governance & Admin

Home > breadcrumbs: About Us > breadcrumbs: Governance & Admin >


Ajax Loading Image


IESBVI's Superintendent Earns National Honor

Steve Gettel     Gwen Woodward

Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Superintendent Steve Gettel was presented the prestigious William H. English Leadership Award at the annual Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB). The award was presented during COSB’s conference banquet night, Oct. 3 in Louisville, KY.

Gettel serves as superintendent for both Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Iowa School for the Deaf. Annually, a board of COSB members reviews nominations and selects one educational administrator from blind and visually impaired programs/schools from across the country for the honor.
“His legacy is cemented in his relationships with those he has served,” read his nomination form.  He was nominated by a former coworker at Montana School for the Deaf, where he served as superintendent from 2001 to 2014. “I will always remember Steve as a teacher, working with a variety of students in a wide range of subject areas. He smiled and laughed with his students, and cares about them, their families and the schools.”
Supt. Gettel has worked in the field of sensory disabilities more than 35 years, first as a teacher of the deaf at Idaho School for the Deaf. At Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, he held teaching and administrative positions before becoming superintendent.
His work with the Montana legislature to allocate funds for teacher salary increases, special student projects and other aspects of school operations critical to promoting student success were highlighted at the banquet. “Steve’s results-driven leadership and diplomacy have borne fruit through his participation and connections with state special education directors and various state agencies,” read his supporting award evidence.
The award is named for William H. English, an educator of children with visual impairments and administrator of special schools. English had Iowa roots, having earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College in Mount Vernon and a master’s degree from Iowa State University.  English was known for his  leadership in expanding visual impairment services through outreach programs and a systemized method of delivery.
Gwen Woodward, the western Iowa regional director for Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was also recognized for her contributions to the advancement of K-12 education for Iowa students who are blind or visually impaired. Woodward is housed on the Iowa School for the Deaf campus, and was pivotal in bringing the transition program for blind and visually impaired students to Southwest Iowa.  She received the 2018 Principal/Director of Programs Leadership Award, which is typically awarded to individuals from traditional schools with day or boarding programs for blind or visually impaired students, rather than to the statewide system for which she co-administers.

Back To Top