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Each year, we acknowledge the dedicated teachers in our
district through an annual celebration that defines effective teaching,
acknowledges excellent instruction and rewards the outstanding accomplishments
of our educators.

 

Because of the number of excellent educators throughout our
district, it becomes increasingly difficult each year to select the
Indianapolis Public Schools Teacher of the Year (TOY) from our talented
teaching pool.

 

After careful consideration, the nominees have been narrowed
down to the Top 10 finalists. These educators were selected from the
building-level winners.

 

The Top 10 Finalists for the 2017 Teacher of the Year are:

 

Amy White is a third-grade
teacher at Raymond F. Brandes School 65 with 21 years of teaching experience.
As many little girls, her dreams of teaching started at an early age. She believes
the most rewarding part of her job as an educator is the feeling of having
reached each student within her classroom and providing them with the best
education possible.

 

Ashlynn Morill is
a second-grade teacher at Butler Lab School 60 with a little over three years
teaching experience. She started her education journey with the Lab school
family during the 2013–2014 school year, shortly after wrapping up her
Early/Middle Childhood Education degree program at Butler University.  She leads an inquiry-based classroom,
encouraging students to ask questions and make real-world connections.

 

Dawn Wilkey is a
third-grade teacher at Eleanor Skillen Elementary School 34 with nine years of
teaching experience. Wilkey leads an engaging classroom with rigorous
instruction. She works diligently to implement culturally relevant teaching
practices, which lead her to receive the Asa G. Hilliard Award in 2011. 

 

Kenya
Taylor-Wash 
is a sixth-grade teacher at Daniel Webster School 46. She
is currently in pursuit of her Doctorate degree in leadership at the American
College of Education. She is a published author of three books for teens and is
a staple in the community for her leadership and child advocacy.

 

Leah Putnam is a
second grade teacher at Jonathan Jennings School 109 with 12 years of teaching
experience. Putnam is a National Board Certified Teacher and a current graduate
student at Marian University. She continually engages her students through
inquiry-based and kinesthetic learning practices and strives to inspire growth
and lifelong learning in the classroom. 

 

Lindsey Freeman is
a fourth-grade teacher at Arlington Woods Elementary School 99. The end of this
school year will mark her ninth year as an educator. She believes that building
strong relationships with her students and their families creates a safe haven
for her children. The strong bonds built in her classroom lead to positive interactions
and help her students thrive academically and socially.

 

Mary Brody is a
first-grade teacher at James Russell Lowell School 51 with two years of
teaching experience. She consistently searches for ways to improve her teaching
practices and sets high standards for the students in her classroom. She
differentiates instruction to meet the diverse needs for each of her students.

 

Micah Nelson is a
sixth- through eighth-grade social studies teacher at the Center for Inquiry
School 2. She has taught secondary social studies in IPS for 13 years. Nelson
uses a progressive approach to build understanding, including experiential and
project-based learning. She graduated from Purdue University in 2004 and completed
her first masters program in teacher leadership from Butler University in 2011.
She is currently pursing a second master’s degree in Education Administration. 

 

Rocio Cisneros has
served as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Charles W. Fairbanks
School 105 since 2013.  She is enrolled
in the IUPUI School of Education Master’s Program. She will receive her master’s
degree in Language Education with an emphasis in ESL in the fall of 2017.

 

Verrena Anderson
joined the IPS family in 2000, but her time as an educator started well before
that. Early in her career she served as a teaching aide in a Title I teaching
program in Georgia. Later, her talents carried her to Japan where she served as
a classroom assistant in the DODDS school system. She now is an English as a
Second Language (ESL) teacher for Grades 3-6 at Ernie Pyle School 90.

 

We congratulate all our excellent building-level Teacher of
the Year winners and wish the best to these Top 10 finalists. The district
Teacher of the Year will be selected from this distinguished group and
announced on June 3. 

 
 TOY Finalists 2017