“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in
creative expression and knowledge.” —Albert Einstein



Although May 3 is designated
as National Teacher Day, many are extending their celebration throughout the
entire week to show gratitude for the dedicated staff that molds the minds of
our youth.


The origin of National Teacher
Day is unclear, but the movement is thought to have been sparked after a major
push from Eleanor Roosevelt to observe and celebrate our teachers in 1953.
Congress declared National Teacher Day in 1980.


IPS is proudly among the largest
districts within Indiana with more than 2,000 teachers in our schools. With a
vast pool of excellent educators, it’s challenging to recognize every teacher,
but here’s a snapshot of some of the committed staff throughout our district
(chosen by school principals and vice principals).


Join us in celebration as we
recognize the amazing educators throughout our district.


Rachelle Phifer, Art Teacher at Elder W.
Diggs School 42

Rachelle Phifer  For eight of
her 17 years within IPS, Mrs. Phifer has dedicated her life to the families and
students of Elder W. Diggs School 42. She is a key player in student success in
and out of the classroom.

Mrs. Phifer
serves as the baseball, softball, basketball and Gospel Dancers coach; she
manages the “It Takes a Village” school mentoring program; organizes
afterschool clubs and activities; and serves as a sponsor for the Art Club.



“As a mentor and
coach, Mrs. Phifer plays an important role in the lives of our scholars. Her
passion and ability to motivate our scholars and support them in the learning
process is invaluable.” — Jean Ely, assistant principal, Elder W. Diggs
School 42.   




Erik Catellier, 6th–8th
Grade Teacher at Center for Inquiry School 2


Erik Catellier For over 20 years, Ms. Damin has served as a dedicated educator of CFI, yet her level of energy and passion has never waivered. Ms. Damin works closely with the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers and serves as a mentor for new teachers.  As a leader of her school, she constantly goes above and beyond to create meaningful and lasting memories for the students while maintaining a high level of rigor and success in the classroom.



“This summer, Ms. Damin will celebrate her zest for
life by hiking the El Camino Trail in Spain. She has inspired open-mindedness
and risk-taking across the staff and students by living her life to the
fullest, so much so that our Spanish teacher is going on the trip, too!” — Andrea
Hunley, principal, Center for Inquiry School 2




Lindsey Newburn, 3rd-Grade Teacher at
Phalen Leadership Academy
Lindsey Newburn With a keen eye for detail, Mrs. Newburn is a master at keeping an organized classroom. She has a genuine compassion for every student and ensures that each one receives the love, and support they need when faced with challenges. With her hands-on teaching style, Mrs. Newburn’s ability to change the class energy is second to none.
“Mrs. Newburn exemplifies
what it means to do whatever it takes for our scholars.  She runs a
well-managed classroom with high academic expectations; even the scholars that
struggle are able to make gains in her classroom. Mrs. Newburn has
enlisted the support of her in-laws, who both spend two days a week
volunteering in her classroom.” — Agnes Aleobue, principal, Phalen Leadership



Kimberly Sweet, 6th-Grade
Teacher at Wendell Phillips School 63


One of the latest additions to the Wendell Phillips
family, Mrs. Sweet joined the team in January and immediately began to build
lasting relationships with her students. After a student was involved in a
major house fire with sustained injuries, Mrs. Sweet coordinated a school-wide
donation drive for the family and built connections with Riley Children’s
Hospital to ensure that the student received the academic and social support she


“Mrs. Sweet is consistently reaching out to students
and parents, providing all levels of support including school supplies,
clothing etc. She goes above and beyond the scope of her position as a 6th-grade
teacher.” — Paul M. Wirth, principal, Wendell Phillips School 63.



Ways to Celebrate
National Teacher Day

throughout the district have coordinated with parents and community supporters
to create an ultra special week for their dedicated educators. Some schools
will treat their teachers with special lunches and snacks, while others will show
appreciation through letters of support and gratitude.


those last-minute planners, you still have time to organize an inexpensive but
thoughtful way to say thank you to an educator who has touched your life.

Here are some gift ideas:


  • Snacks, treats or candy
  • Art! A handmade creation
    is always appreciated
  • A special letter or note
    of appreciation
  • A small gift card to a
    local coffee shop
  • An inexpensive gift, such
    as a mug, hand lotion or candle