Indianapolis Public Schools proudly hosted the district’s exemplary educators at the 2015 Teacher of the Year Dinner. Student achievement is always our top goal at IPS, and we’re honored to recognize each school’s top teacher for their dedication and inspiring methods!


Our Teacher of the Year Dinner was held at the Lilly Corporate Center, on the same campus where approximately 50% of Eli Lilly and Company’s research takes place. Board Commissioner Michael O’Connor, Director of State Government Affairs for Lilly, outlined some of his company’s groundbreaking pharmaceutical achievements and he highlighted the root of all great scientific discoveries – people inspired by amazing educators.


“They got their start because someone was touched by a teacher,” said Commissioner O’Connor, “and that teacher made a difference.”


All building-level Teacher of the Year winners were invited to the celebration dinner, hosted by Chalkbeat Indiana Bureau Chief Scott Elliott. Elliott shared memories of his 7th grade English teacher, a World War II veteran who encouraged students to expand their writing skills through emotion-driven essays.


“There are things you do every day that you don’t realize have a huge impact on the students you teach,” said Elliott. “I know that was true for me and Mr. Dougherty.”


Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee shared his favorite educational advice with those in attendance: leave a lasting impression on students; take care of yourself; and be firm, but inspiring and encouraging.


“You must keep in mind we have human beings who are balancing all of the life challenges that come their way,” said Dr. Ferebee, “and our relationships with them are paramount.”


“My hope is that every single teacher is willing to be as much of a risk-taker as Amy Wackerly,” said Center for Inquiry School 2 Principal Andrea Hunley of the 2015 IPS Teacher of the Year.


Mrs. Wackerly got her start in the athletic world, so it’s no surprise to hear Michael Jordan quoted regularly in her classroom. After reflecting on Jordan’s well-known quote: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed,” Wackerly says her students really shared her philosophy on the key to success in and out of the classroom. As one student summed it up, “you have to make mistakes in order to succeed.”


We are proud of the many amazing educators who help our students learn and grow each day at IPS; congratulations to Amy Wackerly and the 2015 Teacher of the Year finalists!