Amazing EAs: Angie Dill
School employees get a front-row seat in education on every child’s knowledge journey. It’s easy to see student progress, happy art projects, tales of friendships, and teachers. What isn’t as easy to see is the silent force that often works tirelessly behind the scenes, weaving a system of support and encouragement for students. We refer to these unsung heroes as Educational Assistants or EAs, and their impact transcends the traditional boundaries of classrooms.
The story of Meeker EA, Angie Dill and student Noah Thuney, is a story of resilience, empathy, and the transformative power of an idea. She started working with Noah at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.
“Educational assistants are essential in schools,” said Dill. “We work alongside the teachers and other school staff.”
But Dill’s work went a little further, all while fostering inclusivity at Meeker. Students had the opportunity at the beginning of the school year to participate in Mileage Club. Mileage Club is an eight-week walking/running program for central Iowa elementary school children, which is coordinated by Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center and sponsored by the Mary Greeley Foundation. Dill was determined to make sure that Noah, who uses a wheelchair, would not just watch his classmates participate but be a participant himself.
“Noah chose to join his peers for mileage club on some of the days it was offered,” said Dill. “It’s very important that all kids are provided with the same opportunities.”
Undeterred by aches and pains or simply good old Iowa weather, Dill made sure Noah participated in Mileage Club on any day he wanted. Together, they walked the path at Meeker, Noah earning toe tokens just like his peers.
“I’m in awe of how much our EAs love our students,” said Meeker Principal Lisa Clayberg, “and work tirelessly to help our students with differing abilities feel included.”
To Dill, it’s all in a day’s work as an EA. In fact, she says she could write a book that includes many moments like these because there are just so many. She spoke of teachers providing students with many fun and educational experiences in the classroom. From recess to music, art, and PE, many memories are being created along the way.
“I have really enjoyed reading with students,” said Dill. “It’s amazing to see them throughout this learning process.”
“I get a front row seat into the care and compassion that all of our EAs pour into our students,” said Clayberg. “We want everyone at Meeker to know that they belong here and this is simply one example of how people show up for each other throughout the day.”
Noah’s joy is apparent as classmates run alongside his wheelchair, offering words of encouragement or just a friend to walk with. Adult volunteers help log miles and cheer students to achieve their goals. What is seen at Meeker on these days isn’t just a program meant for physical fitness but the building of a community.
“There are many challenges to being an EA. Every child has different needs,” said Dill. “It can be difficult to determine how to help our students sometimes. We need to be patient and understanding.”
Dill’s patience and understanding are just one example of amazing work in the Ames CSD; we know there are many more just like this. Her commitment to inclusivity transformed Noah’s school experience and rippled through the entire Meeker community. Her work symbolizes unity and determination, reminding everyone that, when guided by compassion, even seemingly impossible barriers can be overcome. As students finished another Mileage Club season, they carried with them not just the miles accumulated through toe tokens but a profound understanding that kindness and inclusion are the true markers of success.
“There is no doubt that Noah understands how much people care about him at Meeker,” added Clayberg. “All of the EAs that work with him and other students go above and beyond to ensure that all students have access to experiences that enhance their learning environment.”
Angie Dill is just one example of many incredible stories in our District. Know an EA or a teacher who should be featured in a future story? We want to hear from you! Contact Amy DeLashmutt, Director of Communications, at email@example.com.