ExCom Candidate Statements 2024

Below are the candidate statements for ICEC’s Executive Committee nominees for the 2024-2026 term. ICEC’s members are asked to review the statements.

All members in good standing are eligible to vote and will receive the voting link via the November newsletter and follow-up email. If you are a current member (paid annual or Life) and did not receive the newsletter or email, please contact us exec@iowaee.org. We likely do not have a current email address for you!

Voting runs November 1 through November 30, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.

Jared McGovern


Vote for Jared! I love Iowa and Iowans, I have hope, and people are my favorite animals!

Throughout my career, I have worked at various organizations nationwide. Most notably in Dubuque, where I served as the Director of Conservation Programs at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Holding many positions and responsibilities throughout the years at the River Museum, I believe I demonstrated a dedication to conservation and education in Iowa for the entire 15 wonderful years I spent with this amazing organization.

I was honored with the 2021 Bohumil Shimek Environmental Educator Award for Outstanding Efforts by an Environmental Educator from the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition and the Iowa Association of Naturalists for my work engaging youth with freshwater mussel restoration. Also, in 2021 I was recognized as a “Rising Star” in Dubuque by the Telegraph Herald Biz Times for my work in the River Museum and throughout the community. Not as relevant, but equally as awesome. I was awarded judges choice for my theatrical performance combining Trip and Little Light Fantastic and Step in Time as part of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce Dancing with the Stars Dubuque Style in 2019.

At the end of August 2023, I chose a slightly different career path. Recognizing the inequities in access to nature and the disconnect many youths feel from their wild neighbors, I choose to inspire love, fun, and placemaking. I am happy to share that I now serve as the first Director of The Wanderwood Gardens here in Dubuque. I am playing a pivotal role in ensuring the successful development and seamless operation of The Gardens. My experience in education and conservation will be vital tools as I work to curate an enriching experience for visitors while maintaining a strong commitment to ecological sustainability.

The Wanderwood Gardens is set to open its gates in Spring 2025, welcoming adventurers and day-dreamers of all ages to embark on an unforgettable nature play experience. This unique destination will feature interactive art, nature-inspired play areas, and educational programs to encourage a deep appreciation for the natural world.

Tiffany Morgan


Tiffany Morgan has been an ICEC executive committee member since 2021 and secretary since 2022. Over the last 16 years Tiffany has served as an instructional media coordinator and educational consultant at Iowa PBS. She works with both internal and external partners to design, develop and deliver educational media, resources, online courses and services. Most recently she has led the Iowa Science Phenomena project, a collaboration between Iowa PBS, Iowa organizations — including ICEC and IAN — and educators to curate and share a growing collection of Iowa-specific NGSS phenomena. This work includes applying for and implementing the awarded 2019 REAP-CEP Iowa Environmental Science Phenomena and Teacher Cohort grant and 2022 REAP-CEP Iowa Science Phenomena Blitz grant. Previous projects also include leading the identification, creation and curricular alignment of educational resources for the Iowa PBS Iowa Land and Sky production, a project providing an entertaining and educational exploration of Iowa communities, natural environments and environmental challenges.

Tiffany’s duties and strengths include:

  • Organizing and leading conferences and large-scale events
  • Presenting to large groups
  • Leading teams through design, development and process improvements
  • Establishing organizational strategies, key performance indicators, and data collection and analysis
  • Grant writing and reporting
  • Creating and distributing curricula through a variety of channels
  • Communicating and collaborating with many internal and external partners to achieve project goals
  • Taking initiative to solve problems and adapt projects to meet specific needs of educators, students and partners

Leadership and Professional Organizations

  • (2023-Present) United States Distance Learning Association, Board Member
  • (2021-Present) ICEC Executive Committee Member
  • (2018-Present) Iowa Statewide Science Leadership Team
  • (2017-2022) PBS Children’s Media & Education Station Leadership Committee
  • (2012-2015) Iowa Distance Learning Association, Board of Directors Member and President


  • B.S. Iowa State University, History
  • M.S. Iowa State University, Curriculum and Instructional Technology

Ted Neal


ICEC fills a vital role in bridging the outdoors with education. As a former public-school teacher, and now a professor who trains teachers, I understand the value associated with connecting students with the outdoors. Lifetimes ago I cut my teeth for outdoor education as a counselor teaching in Northern Wisconsin, followed by summers at School of the Wild (SOW).

I now find myself bringing my students, and my own children, to learn in these amazing settings. I present on the value of informal education across the globe, sharing what we have researched and learned about the impact of outdoor education on learning. I research the impact of these informal learning opportunities on epistemic orientations towards the environment.

I have had many grants that focus on training teachers and getting them outside, leaning on professionals, many in this organization, to bring the outdoors to the classroom, including partnerships with Wickiup Hill and the EARTH grant with Nahant Marsh. My recent work includes working on the NGSS adoption committee, writing a textbook for teaching 8th grade science standards, partnering with IPBS on the Iowa Phenomena Project, bringing Iowa’s water quality issues and impacts to the classroom, and serving on the ICEC ExCom for the past three years.

With my connections at the University of Iowa, the 2022 Winter Workshop for ICEC was held at the Lindquist Center. This was a great opportunity to mix current formal and informal educators with pre-service teachers at the university.

My day job consists of training future elementary teachers to love science, including teaching at SOW. I coordinate the secondary science education program at the University of Iowa, mentoring and teaching future secondary science teachers. I also coordinate the Bachelor of Science in Science Studies program which is a gateway to students who want to teach in informal settings, not the traditional classroom. I believe my life experiences, coupled with a love of the outdoors, makes me a strong candidate to help guide ICEC into the future.

Jim Pifer


I have had the privilege to coordinate and facilitate many learning experiences at the Metro Waste Environmental Learning Center. Thousands of students and hundreds of teachers have utilized this facility for the last 15+ years.

I am the current Science Curriculum Coordinator and Southeast Polk Community Schools.

I pride myself in participating in a wide range of district, state and national initiatives, including:

  • District Professional Development Leader
  • All staff professional development leader: supporting district goals.
  • Developed and taught credit bearing courses for teachers in curriculum and instruction.
  • Environmental Science Education coordinator
  • Co-facilitator of Drake University Summer Environmental Workshops 2015-present
  • Metro Waste Authority’s Environmental Learning Center governance committee
  • Metro Waste Authority (MWA) outstanding environmental educator award 2013.
  • Iowa Department of Education Science Leadership Team 2013-present
  • Co-developer of Iowa Middle School Science Standards Model
  • Co-writer of the Iowa Core Science Standards Parent Guides
  • Project Lead the Way (PLTW) District Coordinator
  • Google Certified Educator
  • Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). Advisory Council member.
  • Science Content Area Building Course for MS science teachers, 2022-2024

Thank you for your consideration.