DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -

A veteran Cedar Rapids teacher who spent most of her career with kindergarten students is the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

Gov. Terry Branstad recognized Tania Johnson on Wednesday for the state's top teaching honor.

Johnson spent most of her 22 years as a teacher in kindergarten classrooms before she accepted a teacher leadership position with her school district this fall.

Branstad says the Cedar Rapids native is a role model to students, aspiring teachers and her colleagues.

Johnson began her teaching career in Cedar Rapids in 1990. She and the other finalists will be honored on Oct. 26 at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines.