The Indiana Department of Education announced its Top 25 finalists for Indiana Teacher of the Year. The finalists include three teachers from the Tippecanoe School Corporation: Claire Brown, Jessica Harris and Sharita Ware.
Claire Brown is a kindergarten teacher at Mayflower Mill Elementary School. She is a graduate of Purdue University with 14 years of experience in the TSC.
Brown is the Kindergarten Department Chair at Mayflower Mill and recipient of numerous grants. Principal Shannon Cauble characterizes Brown as an innovative leader: “Mrs. Brown uses Purposeful Play in her classroom that makes every moment an engaging teachable moment. She is a leader in using technology to improve her instruction, connect with families and encourage students to create and demonstrate their learning in a digital world.”
Jessica Harris is a Title 1 teacher at Mayflower Mill Elementary School. She is a Purdue graduate with 14 years of experience in the TSC.
“When you are around Mrs. Harris, you just want to do better,” says Principal Cauble. “She is a kind soul and is full of love for our students, school and staff. She just makes you a better person by being in her presence and our students feel that as well.”
Sharita Ware is a technology teacher at East Tipp Middle School. She is a graduate of Purdue University and in her tenth year of teaching.
Ware transformed the technology room and lab into an engaging, inspiring work space for students to explore their interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). She also founded an after-school STEAM Makerspace group and sponsors Lego League teams.
“My philosophy is to nurture my students and love them,” says Ware. “Once they trust me, I try to open their minds to a world of possibilities helping them explore their passions, work with others and solve problems.”
The state considered nearly 100 candidates before narrowing the list to 25. Typically, each district can submit one elementary and one secondary candidate, but because the pandemic disrupted the standard process for Indiana Teacher of the Year, those parameters were adjusted, allowing district winners from both 2020 and 2021 to enter the state competition. The screening committee will now forward the applications from the Top 25 to the selection committee which will determine the Top 10 within the next few weeks.