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IPS names 2 ‘teachers of the year’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools on Friday named its “teachers of the year,” DaMeisha Fleming of James Whitcomb Riley School 43 and Paige Sjoerdsma of Butler University Laboratory School 55.

Friday marked the first time two IPS teachers have been awarded the title.

News 8 was there with IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson surprised Fleming, a first-grade teacher who has been at the Riley school for five years. Fleming also was credited with creating the “behavior matrix” for the building. She also coaches several sports.

Fleming says the title is a big honor. “It means a lot to be here. I don’t think that I do anything special. I come in everyday ready to love my kids, ready to meet them where they’re at and push them on to the next level. I just know I have to instill in my students a sense of identity and a sense of love and appreciate them daily.”

Sjoerdsma teaches middle school English Language Arts after previously serving as an educator for kindergarten through third grade, according to an IPS news release. She is a founding member of the IPS/Butler Lab School’s Racial Equity Team.

Each teacher received flowers and a box of chocolates.

Aleesia Johnson, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, speaks May 20, 2022, with Paige Sjoerdsma of Butler Lab School 55, who was named one of the the district’s teachers of the year. (Photo Provided/IPS)
Teacher DaMeisha Fleming of James Whitcomb Riley 43 receives a group hug from her students after being named one of the Indianapolis Public Schools’ teachers of the year. (Photo Provided/IPS)