BUSSEY, Iowa – There are only about 315 students at Twin Cedars Community Schools, but there’s one teacher who’s making an immeasurable impact.

In Theresa Davis’ classroom, reading is fun.

“So rewarding when that lightbulb goes off and they get it and they’re so proud of that progress,” Davis said.

It’s progress that may be hard to come by for some students, but as the special education teacher Mrs. Davis makes it easier.

“We have a lot of students who have reading difficulties and Theresa took it upon herself to figure out what can we do to help these kids,” Principal Kim Roby said. “And she went to a conference in Ohio. I think it came out of her own pocket, she paid for it, stayed out there for a week learning about dyslexia.”

When Davis came back to Twin Cedars, she developed a program to help those students.

“She really has a heart for kids and it’s evident,” Roby said. 

It’s how she treats all students, in and out of the classroom, that resulted in Davis being awarded the Golden Apple.

“I definitely have a special place in my heart for Twin Cedars and I’m so shocked,” Davis said. 

It was a family member who wanted Davis to be recognized for all she does for her alma mater.

“I nominated my aunt Theresa because she has been so inspiring to so many kids,” Rachael Stoops said. “Kids who I went to school with, kids who are in school now, kids who have graduated and still talk about how wonderful she was for them and for me.”

Because of her aunt, Rachael was inspired to become a teacher and hopes to also teach at Twin Cedars.

A family tradition that will continue for years to come.

“This is my school. I went to school here,” Davis said. “My family… I raised my children here and our grandkids are going to come here. So it’s just been a big part of my life.”

Davis also serves as the Athletic Director at Twin Cedars.

Watch Calyn Thompson’s full interview with Davis below:

Check out the stories of other Golden Apple Award winners here.