During the month of March, we give a little extra attention to all of the amazing accomplishments of strong, determined women of Southeast Polk Community School District. Since 1987, the United States has formally recognized March as National Women’s History Month. Every woman has a story to tell and gifts to share with the world. So get ready, because this month is about honoring the magnificent ladies of SEP, and we are ready to celebrate it to the fullest.

We continue to recognize women in the SEP Hall of Honor. To see all Hall of Honor members, follow this link: Hall of Honor/

Penny Burnett

Penny Burnett

Penny Burnett served her entire teaching career at Southeast Polk Senior High. She made the transition from teaching high school social studies to
counseling and was highly respected in both. Her dignified battle with cancer ended her career abruptly in 1982. Because she was instrumental
in its formation in 1965, the SEP National Honor Society is the Penny Burnett Chapter 12834 in her honor. As a graduate of Dallas Center High
School in 1960 and Drake University in 1964, Penny exhibited many qualities associated with active and talented students. She excelled in the
areas of academics, music, speech, drama, writing, and leadership. She was called a “friend with a winning smile.”

Penny and her parents were very community-minded. When both of her parents preceded her in death, they determined the bulk of their estate be left to their community of Dallas Center. Penny’s will honors their wishes. Those benefited included Dallas Center scholarships, the First Presbyterian Church, the Spurgeon Manor Nursing/Retirement Home in Dallas Center, and the City of Dallas Center for their library and youth recreation programs, and for people wanting to start businesses there. Last but not least, she left a share of her estate for scholarships for students in the district to which she had devoted 15 years, SEP. Since its inception, the Penny Burnett Charitable Trust has awarded $786,000 to 150 SEP graduates at $4,000 ($1,000 per year) each.

Carol Pedersen

Carol PedersenCarol Pedersen, knows that dreams do come true.  From her youngest days, she wanted to be a teacher and it continues to be her passion. In 1976, Carol accepted a teaching position with Southeast Polk. She has shaped so many young minds and touched so many hearts as a respected elementary educator here at Southeast Polk. She retired as a kindergarten teacher in 2009 but continues to serve students at Southeast Polk by substitute teaching and volunteering within the buildings.  

She prides herself on being a lifelong learner, taking advantage of opportunities to learn new things and still takes continuing education classes in the summer.  Carol finds joy in being active, teaching, volunteer work, reading, and doing crafts. She is an active member of our Southeast Polk Community and is a Ram fan through and through. 

Jeri Sanburn 

Jeri Sanburn attended Runnells Elementary as a child and was part of the first group of students to attend the at-the-time new Southeast Polk Junior – Senior High in January of 196Jeri Sanburn5.

After graduating from college Sanburn returned to Southeast Polk where she taught English at the high school for 19 years. Sanburn then created the OASIS program for junior high and high school students and served as coordinator for seven years.

Sanburn’s focus on alternative education gave her the opportunity to create an alternative high school program in Altoona and she was the first principal at Harbor Alternative, serving for seven years.

Before retiring Sanburn spent five years as a school counselor.