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IPS 2022 Teacher of the Year Makes Top 25 Finalists for Indiana TOY

SHS Assistant Principal Jacob Pactor, Principal Dennis Thomas, TOY Sarah TeKolste and Supt. Alessia Johnson

2022 IPS Teacher of the Year is Sarah TeKolste has been named in the Top 25 Finalists for the 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year. The Indiana Department of Education will announce the winner in the coming weeks. Learn more about Sarah below.

Original story published June 1:

The 2022 IPS Teacher of the Year is Sarah TeKolste, a Spanish teacher at Shortridge High School. IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson surprised TeKolste on Tuesday, June 1, during a special celebration at Shortridge.

An educator for six years, TeKolste said her classes are taught 100% in Spanish using research-based best practices to ensure the language is easily understood. Her classes are also interactive, while students learn the vocabulary, culture, history and prominent figures throughout U.S. history.

“My most fundamental belief about education is that it should be empowering and relevant,” said TeKolste. “I am proud that my students are able to see, through quality instruction that is linguistically and culturally relevant, that Spanish class is a gateway to another world.”

TeKolste started a peer mentoring program at Shortridge, training upperclassmen student leaders to provide support to incoming ninth grade students who are adjusting to high school.

“The peer mentoring program has reinforced my belief that students will lead with brilliance if given the opportunity and the tools,” she said. 

TeKolste also helped launch World Changing 101, a virtual speaker series at Shortridge that brings a diverse range of community leaders to engage in one-on-one dialogue with students about the ways in which they can change the world.

“It’s teachers like Sarah that exemplify our district’s motto – Stronger Together. She has built a foundation of inclusivity for all her students so that they are empowered to be the best version of themselves,” said IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “The students at Shortridge are to lucky to have her and IPS is extremely proud of the work she continues to do to ensure students succeed.”

As part of the Teacher of the Year program, each IPS principal was invited to nominate their building’s top teacher for consideration. The selection committee, made up of a group of their peers, reviewed each nominee’s portfolio, including their teaching philosophy, professional accomplishments and instructional practices.

A special thanks to our community partners The Flower Box and DeBrand Fine Chocolates for their support of the Teacher of the Year announcement.