Christie Vilsack is a native Iowan committed to a life of public service. She is a career educator who has always been willing to step up to the plate to build strong communities whether as a teacher, activist or Iowa's leading volunteer as First Lady. Vilsack is a passionate and tireless advocate – fighting to make Iowa an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Christie has been actively involved in strengthening communities in Iowa and nationally by advocating for family literacy, public and school libraries, and computer literacy. Through a partnership with the National Center for Family Literacy and the Verizon Foundation, Christie helped create the Tech Savvy Awards to identify programs across the country that bring parents and children together to learn to use technology effectively and safely and to help parents advocate for 21st Century skills in schools. Most recently, Christie served as the Executive Director of the Iowa Initiative, a privately funded research program focused on women’s health.
For 18 years, Christie taught middle school and high school language arts and journalism. For six years she taught English and journalism at Iowa Wesleyan College. She worked as a reporter and columnist for the Mount Pleasant News for many years and more recently created a column for Offenburger.com.
When Christie’s husband was elected governor in 1998, she had the honor to serve as Iowa’s First Lady. In that role she continued her life-long commitment to healthy adolescents and communities. Best known for creating a statewide literacy initiative, from 2000 to 2006, Christie raised funds to give a book to every kindergartener in Iowa. She also she traveled the state advocating for education and economic development initiatives on behalf of the governor’s office, and represented Iowa in nine countries.
Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Christie is a 1972 graduate of Kirkland College in Clinton, New York, and received a master’s degree in journalism from The University of Iowa in 1992. She and Tom married in 1973 having met while students at Hamilton and Kirkland Colleges. After Tom finished law school, they moved to her hometown where she taught and he practiced law. Together they raised two sons, Jess and Doug, and have a grandson, Jake.