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Indiana Teacher of the Year: ‘There’s a calling bigger than you’

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — An engineering and technology teacher for grades 7 and 8 has been named Indiana Teacher of the Year.

Sharita Ware from East Tipp Middle School was selected from more than 63,000 teachers, and the school on Tuesday gave her a special surprise.

Katie Jenner, the Indiana secretary of education, attended the celebration at the school a couple of miles northeast of Lafayette. “Today, at East Tipp Middle School, we have a ton to celebrate.”

One of Ware’s challenges is to help students build critical thinking skills.

Ware said, “There is a calling that’s bigger than you; that is giving to other people, and I want to be willing to do that.”

She launched several afterschool activities, including the FIRST Lego League and the Maker Monday Hour, to give students outlets to be innovative and creative.

Shadd Buss, the principal at East Tipp, said, “The Maker Monday Hour is basically a time for students to come together and work on a project and she usually gives them like a question or a theme.”

Middle schooler Sara Restrepo said of her winning teacher, “I like how she showed us how to do everything, and she had really cool projects so it made me realize how fun doing hands-on projects was.”

As Indiana Teacher of the Year, Ware will work to represent Hoosiers teachers at the national level and support students. “Really just helping kids to dig in and go for it, and just keeping your mind right and while digging in and pushing forward,” Ware said.