When Anna Shults (a 1996 graduate of Anderson University) was just a child, she dreamed of someday being a teacher – presiding over a classroom, instilling in others the same love of education she possessed. Still, in all her years playing “teacher” in her basement she never dreamed that she would be named the 2007 Indiana Teacher of the Year. In a surprise ceremony at Fall Creek Elementary School in Fishers, Indiana, that is exactly what happened. Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed joined Hamilton Southeastern Schools Superintendent Concetta Raimondi and Fall Creek Elementary Principal Jerril J. Staley in the special convocation to honor Shults, a third-grade teacher and 10-year veteran of the school.
“Anna’s dedication and passion for her profession are truly an inspiration. She serves as a role model for the students in her classroom and for her fellow teachers,” Dr. Reed said. “We can all learn from the example she sets both as an outstanding educator and a good community neighbor. We are proud she will be representing Indiana in the national competition.”
“The trait that separates (Anna) from most is an unbridled enthusiasm for teaching, her students, and the high expectation she has of herself and everyone around her,” Principal Staley wrote in a letter of recommendation that echoed comments from other administrators, colleagues, parents, and former students.
Former student Brandon Park agreed. “She especially understood me and knew how to help me,” he said in a letter of support. “Mrs. Shults was the only teacher to make me feel happy inside.”
An Indiana Department of Education committee comprised of department personnel and external community and education leaders – including former teachers of the year – selected Shults after interviewing 10 finalists on September 5. Shults was chosen from an initial pool of 47 public and nonpublic educators nominated by local superintendents.
As the winner, Shults will receive $1,000 from Indiana Farm Bureau and scholarship opportunities from Ball State University, Indiana State University, and Indiana University. In addition, she will have the option to become a Teacher in Residence for one year with the Indiana Department of Education. She will also represent Indiana at the national competition in Washington, D.C. next spring.
Todd Roberts of Fort Wayne Community Schools was named 2007 Indiana Teacher of the Year Runner-Up. Roberts teaches TV Broadcasting to students in Grades 6 – 8 at Northwood Middle School.
Roberts will receive $500 from Indiana Farm Bureau and a leather attachè case from Brenner Luggage, plus a framed certificate from the Department of Education.
The SMARTer Kids Foundation of Canada will present the Indiana Teacher of the Year with a technology package valued at approximately $5,000, which will include a SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard and SMART Ideas® concept mapping software (from SMART Technologies, Inc.), an NEC® VT projector (from NEC Solutions America – Visual Systems Division), and a Dana laptop alternative (from AlphaSmart, Inc.).
In addition, each of the 10 finalists receives $100 and will also receive SMART Ideas software from the SMARTer Kids Foundation of Canada. All nominees will be honored November 1 at the Hilton Indianapolis North at a dinner hosted by the Indiana Department of Education and the program's corporate sponsors – Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., the Farm Bureau Insurance Companies, and Scholastic Inc.
The Indiana Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Companies, the SMARTer Kids Foundation, and Scholastic Inc. The National Teacher of the Year Program, presented by the ING Foundation, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers and sponsored by Scholastic Inc.
For more information on Indiana’s Teacher of the Year program, please visit: www.doe.state.in.us/toy.