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Oct. 28, 2016 

 
Indianapolis
Public Schools is proud to celebrate excellence in education through our annual
Teacher of the Year program. Our initiative seeks to define effective teaching,
acknowledge excellent instruction and reward the outstanding accomplishments of
our educators.

 

Year after
year, it becomes increasingly difficult to narrow down the finalists from our
talented teaching pool.

 

Our schools
nominated the cream of the crop for our districtwide title, and on Thursday,
Oct. 27, our Board commissioners enthusiastically recognized the top nominees
during the October Action Session.

 

The awardees
include: 

 

Ashlynn
Burkhart
– A second-grade
teacher at Butler Lab School 60, the Butler University alum has made a big
impact in just three years on the job. She leads an inquiry-based classroom,
encouraging students to ask questions and make real-world connections. We look
forward to seeing what she has planned for our students in the years to come!

 

Rocio
Cisneros
– An English as
a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Charles W. Fairbanks School 105, Cisneros has
served our eastside students since 2013. Currently, she is enrolled in the
IUPUI School of Education Graduate Program and is studying to earn her master’s degree
in language education with an emphasis in ESL in the fall of 2017.

 

Kenya
Taylor-Wash
– A sixth-grade
teacher at Daniel Webster School 46, Taylor-Wash 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.

 

Dawn Wilkey – A third-grade teacher at Eleanor
Skillen School 34, Wilkey has nine years of teaching experience and leads an
engaging classroom with rigorous instruction. She works diligently to implement
culturally relevant teaching practices in her classroom; these practices earned
her the Asa G. Hilliard Award in 2011. 

 

Verrena
Anderson
– Anderson is an English as
a Second Language (ESL) teacher for Grades three through six at Ernie Pyle
School 90. TeamIPS has been lucky to have Anderson working in the district
since 2000. Before that, she served as a teaching aide in a Title I teaching
program in Georgia, as well as a classroom assistant in Japan.

 

Lindsey
Freeman
– A former fourth-grade
teacher at Arlington Woods School 99, Freeman now works with our
scholars at George H. Fisher School 93. In her 10th year as an educator, Freeman
believes that building strong relationships with her students and their
families creates a safe haven for her students. The strong bonds built in her
classroom lead to positive interactions and help her students thrive both
academically and socially.

 

 

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

 

 

Amy White – A third-grade teacher at Raymond F.
Brandes School 65, White draws on her 21 years of teaching experience to educate
and inspire her students. She says the most rewarding part of her job is
reaching each student within her classroom and providing him or her with the
best education possible.

 

The board also recognized the overall winner of the 2016-2017 Teacher of
the Year program, Micah Nelson.

 

Nelson teaches
social studies to sixth- through eighth-grade students at Center for Inquiry
School 2. In fact, she has taught secondary social studies in IPS for 13 years!
Nelson uses a
progressive approach to building understanding, including experiential and
project-based learning. She also focuses on literacy and writing skills in the
content areas. You can follow
Nelson throughout this school year on her Teacher of the Year blog.

 

Congratulations
to all of our Teacher of the Year finalists. Thank you for displaying teaching
excellence in all that you do. You all are truly a walking advertisement for
excellent instruction and you are what makes IPS great.

 

We look forward
to honoring all of our building-level teachers of the year at our annual
Teacher of the Year Dinner celebration on Nov. 2 at IUPUI, sponsored by
AXA Advisors.