Each year, it becomes increasingly difficult to select the
Indianapolis Public Schools Teacher of the Year (TOY) from our incredibly
talented teaching pool. We are pleased to announce the following teachers have
been selected from among the building-level winners as the Top 10 TOY
finalists:

Jennifer Beeching-Gaines Jennifer Beeching-Gaines is a
Secondary English teacher at Graduation Academy with 19 years of teaching
experience. She never planned on teaching, but life threw her multiple curve
balls, which led her to teaching. She exemplifies what differentiation should
look like, meeting with students individually to support their specific needs
on their journey towards graduation. Her motto is, “The connection with students
feeds my soul.”

 
 
 
Sarah Clark Sarah Clark is a second grade
teacher at IPS/Butler University Lab School 60 with five years of teaching
experience. Clark’s students believe in themselves, and they believe in one
another. Her students also know they are scientists, mathematicians and authors
who can change the world through thoughtful actions and words. Clark recognizes
and responds to what children need emotionally and academically while genuinely
caring about children.
 

 
Katherine Hinkle Katherine Hinkle is an AP Spanish
teacher at Northwest Community High School with two years of teaching
experience. When students enter Hinkle’s room, they see a room of firm
expectations, deep commitment to their success and overwhelming enthusiasm.
Hinkle’s proudest moments and contributions to education are steeped in student
work and are a reflection of her students’ success. She said, “I am most proud
of my work with students who saw college as an insurmountable task.”
 

 
Melissa Mullins Melissa Mullins is a first grade
teacher at Riverside School 44 with 14 years of teaching experience. Mullins’
ability to explain complicated foundational literacy concepts is noteworthy and
exceeds the level of expertise of those with far greater tenure. Any time there
is a school event, Mullins always volunteers to assist. She even worked with
community partners to renovate a plot of land adjacent to the school to create
a garden for her school community.
 
 
 
Denise Paramore Denise Paramore is a K-6 Literacy
Coach at Ernie Pyle School 90 with 26 years of teaching experience. She began
student-centered programs such as the “Popcorn Club,” in which she encouraged
primary students to master all their sight words. Ernie Pyle is an “A” school
with much of their success being attributed to Paramore, her work with students
and her support for the teachers.

 
 
 
Arturo Rodriguez Arturo Rodriguez is a fifth grade
teacher at Charles Warren Fairbanks School 105 with 18 years of teaching
experience. He has students work on projects such as creating videos to
inspire, educate and entertain other students. These include a fun music video
about being in a positive mindset for ISTEP, one about a celebration of black
history and jazz and one dealing with proper hallway procedures. He also
quietly makes home visits with diapers for the newborn baby or to bring food
after a family loss.
 
 
 
Rosalilia Stewart Rosalilia Stewart is a 9-12 grade
Spanish teacher at Arsenal Technical High School with eight years of teaching
experience. One of the many contributions she has made to her school is holding
the highest average of passing advanced placement (AP) students. In 2012 she
inherited the AP Spanish program. Stewart said, “My greatest hope for my
students is they take every learning opportunity and build their dreams and
initiatives to grow. That hope is the fuel that keeps me teaching and building
dreams, even in the toughest of circumstances.”
 
 

Dana Stockton Dana Stockton is a kindergarten
teacher at Thomas D. Gregg School 15 with three years of teaching experience.
Stockton does not defer to students’ limited educational backgrounds as an
excuse not to set high standards and expectations for the classroom. She
consistently develops rigorous curriculum that supports students’ needs by
providing research-based instructional strategies.

 
 
 
Amy Wackerly Amy Wackerly is a third grade
teacher at Center for Inquiry School 2 with 16 years of teaching experience. She
consistently pushes herself to meet her school’s mission and focus. Often she takes
it a step further and incorporates units of study that lead students toward
action and community. She is frequently called upon to share her ideas and best
practices by presenting at district, national and international conferences.

 
 
Kim Ward Kim Ward is a PE/Action Based
Learning (ABL) teacher at Super School 19 with 22 years of teaching experience.
One of her greatest accomplishments is becoming an Action Based Learning Master
Trainer and thus helping create a setting that stimulates the brain while
incorporating academics. Ward organized a “walk to school” program in which two
buses were dropped off at a school not too far from School 19. She and six
staff members walked to the park and back with the students. Ward said, “This
was a great way to ‘energize’ students and staff.” Her jump rope club has
performed at the Indiana State House, and twice for Shape Up Indiana.
 

We congratulate all our excellent building-level TOY 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 5.