Teachers who are passionate about their subject matter have a way of getting students to think on a deeper level. Ballard global issues teacher, Ben McQuade, is one of those teachers.


McQuade is the recent recipient of the Iowa Council for the Social Studies Helen Finken Award. The award is given to an outstanding teacher with three or fewer years of teaching experience. Kimberly Heckert, the awards chair for ICSS, said McQuade’s social studies unit design plan on the global issue of genocide stood out in many ways, and his inquiry approach compelled students to investigate real world issues.


“He provided opportunities for students to consider the content with opportunities to make claims supported by the evidence of their findings,” she said.


Social studies has always fascinated McQuade. But it wasn’t until he coached baseball during his first year of college that he realized how much he enjoyed working with students and decided he wanted a to spend his career teaching.


McQuade said he wants the students in his class to come away with an understanding of global perspective and how actions impact people from all walks of life all over the world. He believes that having an awareness of other people and other cultures can help people to live more peaceably and collaboratively in the world.


Watching students grow inside and outside of the classroom is what McQuade finds most satisfying about being a teacher. “Nothing makes me happier as an educator than watching students establish, develop and change their thought processes and opinions,” he said.


Ballard High School Principal John Ronca is impressed by McQuade’s work in the classroom. “Ben created the course, global issues, and delivers it with passion,” he said. “He has high expectations for the students and expects them to collaborate in class.”


When he’s not teaching, Ben enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Leigha, and their two dogs. He also loves coaching baseball and spending time outdoors; especially biking on Central Iowa trails.