May 20, 2020 Achievements

Northwest AEA’s PBIS Person of the Year: Nichole Zoeller

Nichole Zoeller Irving Dual Language PBIS Person of the Year

Nichole Zoeller from Irving Dual Language Elementary in Sioux City was chosen as Northwest AEA’s PBIS Person of the Year. Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) is a Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework. PBIS/MTSS is an every-education decision-making framework that addresses the “whole child,” and attends to academic and social-emotional-behavioral needs of students.

Nichole and others across Iowa were honored “for significant accomplishments in the implementation of Positive Behavioral Supports.” Theresa Dehn, PBIS coordinator at Northwest AEA, said that Nichole is “more than deserving” of the recognition. Below are a few of the reasons why Nichole was nominated:

Nichole is dedicated to supporting all students through the evidence-based practices and systems of PBIS. She is conscientious, data-driven, hard-working, and goes the extra mile, putting in the time to plan, communicate, and coordinate efforts to make PBIS work with fidelity. Equity is at the heart of her work, as she embraces a variety of cultures and family preferences when considering implementing PBIS in a dual language building. She takes responsibility for so many pieces of the puzzle to support PBIS and truly wants to see it make a difference in kids’ lives.

The Iowa Department of Education released all of the Iowa PBIS persons’ of the year in an article here:

With offices in Sioux City, Sioux Center, Cherokee, Denison, Le Mars, and Onawa, Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA) works in partnership with public and accredited private schools in a 10-county area of northwest Iowa to help assure that all children reach their full potential. The AEA provides special education support services, media, and technology services, a variety of instructional services, professional development and leadership to promote school improvement. The Iowa General Assembly created the state’s AEA system in 1975. It is widely regarded as one of the finest in the country. For more information about Northwest AEA, visit

View the full release from the Northwest AEA here.