Great Prairie AEA’s Positive Impact on Education in Our Community



From the moment a child is born, the AEA is there - serving children from birth to age 21.

In the heart of your community, a silent force has been working tirelessly for nearly five decades to ensure the success and growth of students. Great Prairie Area Education Agency (AEA) stands as a beacon of educational support, positively impacting the lives of children and contributing significantly to the success of your district.

Who is GPAEA? Your child, grandchild, neighbor, teacher, doctor… you are GPAEA. If you or someone your know received a hearing test in elementary school, accessed research databases, worked one-on-one with an AEA staff member on literacy, speech, or therapy, then you are a part of the fabric that makes up Great Prairie AEA.

Since 1975, Great Prairie AEA has been at the forefront of ensuring that every student has equal access to high-quality education, special education services, and resources. Serving 14 counties, 32 school districts, and nine accredited non-public schools, the agency's impact extends to over 36,000 children and youth.

What is an AEA? Great Prairie AEA is one of nine AEAs in Iowa, each assigned to a region of the state. AEAs are public entities funded by federal and state aid and local tax dollars. Great Prairie AEA employs specialists assigned to local communities, school districts, and non-public schools to provide various services. AEA staff members serve children in your community from birth (through direct services in the home to children who may be experiencing developmental delays) to high school (and some high school students with special needs up to the age of 21), families, and educators.

Over 80% of GPAEA’s efforts directly support students with disabilities, offering essential services such as speech-language pathology, school psychology, physical therapy, audiology, and more. This targeted support ensures that students with diverse needs receive the assistance outlined in their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), breaking down barriers to learning.

Beyond special education, Great Prairie AEA enriches the educational landscape by providing educators with ongoing support and professional development. Specialists in various curriculum areas, including math, reading, science, and digital learning, actively engage with local schools, providing training and consultation to ensure teachers are well-equipped to nurture a culture of continuous learning.

The agency also boasts a vast library of children's and professional books, along with digital resources for research projects and presentations. Creative Services further supports our schools by offering printing, graphic design, lamination, and vinyl graphics at a low cost. Moreover, technology support, including networking, Internet filtering, and cybersecurity tools, is readily available to ensure students are equipped for the digital age.

Iowa has long been known for its strong sense of community, dedication to education, and commitment to providing every child an opportunity to succeed. Great Prairie AEA embodies these values, reflecting a shared commitment that has endured for almost five decades.

Nathan Wood, Chief Administrator of Great Prairie Area Education Agency (AEA), invites you to share your AEA story at