by Danielle Wagner
APLINGTON (KWWL) "He's a phenomenal teacher. He's a great person, too. but he's a phenomenal teacher," said Kathie Barry.
Brian Sammons is a third grade teacher at Aplington Elementary. He's taught there for 11 years.
"He goes above and beyond as a teacher. That's a good phrase for him. He's above and beyond in every way," said Guidance counselor Kathie Barry.
This year his students are learning even more about Abraham Lincoln. That's because during the summer, Sammons spent a week in Springfield, Illinois learning all things Lincoln.
He applied for and won the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship through Horace Mann Insurance.
"I just thought it was a really good chance to expand what we do here in third grade. Our lessons on Lincoln are about two paragraphs and the Civil War is about a half, and I thought there's a lot more I could use," said Brian Sammons.
Sammons joined 24 other educators from across the country for the fellowship. He got lessons plans plus behind the scenes tours of places associated with the 16th president.
"It was probably the most powerful educational experience I've ever had," said Sammons.
Back in Aplington, Sammons shared some of the materials he got on his trip. He said Lincoln is well-known for the Civil War, but he's important for other reasons, too.
"Everything he became he became because of what he did. Nobody pushed him to do anything. He had all the self motivation from within, and I think that's something all ages of kids and adults love to hear," said Sammons.
Sammons encourages other teachers to apply for next summer's fellowship. He said it's a great way for teachers to also keep learning, which is important for eastern Iowa students.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner