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

IPS educators across the district are making a tremendous impact on the students within our community on a daily basis; encouraging strength, discovery and innovation from each and every student that they encounter. To recognize, re-energize and support our educators, Lilly Endowment Inc. created the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program to help teachers renew their commitment to teaching.

Supporting continuous learning among educators, the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program enables teachers to explore and develop new or existing areas of interest so that they can return to the classroom refreshed and eager to share their newest discovery.

Over 500 teachers throughout Indiana applied for the fellowship and only 100 were awarded the $12,000 grant. Several educators will utilize their grant dollars by traveling the world and exploring world cultures, others will expand their knowledge locally in areas of interest.

The following are grant recipients within IPS:

Stacey H. Byerly
, IPS literacy coach, will utilize her grant funds to travel to Budapest, Hungary to explore her family heritage. After experiencing the culture, she plans to apply her newfound knowledge by creating an ancestry unit to share with all of the middle/high school teachers from the Satellite schools she serves. “I’m truly ecstatic to be able to fulfill this dream – it’s going to be the trip of a lifetime,” says Byerly.

Cori J. Stumpf
, educator at Longfellow Alternative School, will pursue yoga instructor training so that she can introduce yoga and meditation techniques to the students within her school. Children’s yoga has been shown to reduce problem behavior, test anxiety and can increase focus in the classroom. Studies show that students in all grade levels (PreK-highschool) who participate in yoga have improved academic and behavioral performance. Other benefits can include asthma control, improved attendance and stronger self-esteem.

Mary K. Shimer
, special education teacher at Arsenal Technical High School plans to create five volumes of hand-bound journals and sketchbooks that will reflect her studies of historical, geographical and literary culture within the United Kingdom. “I’m beside myself with excitement! I’m also anxious, apprehensive and intimidated by undertaking something so extensive and out of the box. It’s humbling, thrilling and exhilarating,” says Shimer.

Erin J. Ream
, elementary teacher at Center for Inquiry (CFI) 2 will soon travel to Australia to study and photograph different ecosystems and animal life. She will utilize her time by backpacking through Australia, diving the Great Barrier Reef and visiting various landmarks. Fifth grade students at CFI are required to complete a personal inquiry project at the end of each year, with nature and animal conservation being common topics; her studies abroad will inform her instruction. “This grant is a way for me to set an example of lifelong learning,” says Ream.

Sidney Allen
, visual arts teacher at Wendell Phillips Elementary School will utilize her grant funds to travel to both Chicago and Venice, Italy to attend workshops, learn ancient techniques and talk with experts at with the Chicago Public Art Group, Chicago Mosaic Art Group and the Orsoni Master of Mosaics in Venice. Once her travels are complete, she will apply her knowledge by creating two mosaic panels to be installed within the school for students to enjoy. “This is a rare opportunity for my students and I to leave a legacy of great art on the walls of the school,” Says Allen. The project is expected to be complete by June 2017.

Kelli A. Monedero
, social worker in the IPS Reclaiming Our Opportunities to Succeed (ROOTS) program will use her fellowship dollars to travel to summer camps and athletic departments to learn how experiential learning impacts the performance of students, including student-athletes, in the classroom. “I am honored to have received this opportunity. I look forward to the exposure to a high level of discipline and exploring the correlation between movement and learning,” says Monedero.

As shared in the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program winners announcement by Lilly Endowment, Inc., this is the 29th year of the initiative that, “gives Indiana teachers, principals, guidance counselors and school media specialists the financial support and encouragement to renew their commitment to the profession of education. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. The Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.”

We are extremely proud of the dedication displayed by our six outstanding IPS educators and commend them for their hard work in becoming Lilly Fellows! We look forward to following their journeys and sharing them with our families and community.