Carmel Clay Schools educator a state Teacher of the Year finalist

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Sarah Awe with students Daniel Cunningham, left, and Lucas Lemme. (Submitted photo)

Sarah Awe with students Daniel Cunningham, left, and Lucas Lemme. (Submitted photo)

By Amanda Foust

Carmel Clay Schools teacher Sarah Awe has been named one of 10 finalists vying to be named the Indiana Teacher of the Year. The 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year will be announced in October by the Indiana Department of Education.

Awe has a long history at Prairie Trace Elementary, where she teaches in the fourth and fifth grade high ability classroom. She began working at the school after graduating from Indiana University about 15 years ago. Since then she has earned a master’s degree from Butler University and received a gifted and talented endorsement from IU.

CCS chose Awe as the district’s Teacher of the Year in April, making her eligible for the state’s Teacher of the Year honor.

“I am proud to represent the Carmel Clay Schools community,” Awe said. “I never imagined I would be CCS teacher of the year, let alone in the top 10 [statewide].”

The impact Awe has made at Prairie Trace is not limited to her own classroom. Many teachers seek her out for resources and advice for students who are high achievers wanting more from traditional instruction.

“I offer suggestions and book recommendations about how to teach a lesson at a higher level,” Awe said. “I’m a resource for them and am trusted. I truly want what’s best for students, even the ones who aren’t in my classroom.”

PTE principal Jill Schipp is impressed with Awe’s ability to serve as a lead teacher among her peers while also playing a role in her colleagues’ professional development.

“She is a true child advocate and undoubtedly one of the best teachers I have ever worked with,” Schipp said.

Awe focuses on teaching her students that they are capable through encouraging their strengths and empowering them to excel as well-rounded individuals. Katie Cunningham, a Carmel parent, has seen this first-hand when it comes to her son, Daniel, who is in sixth grade.

“Daniel had ideas that might have been different, but she was able to work with him and really encourage him to think the way he thinks and be a part of the process to make him better both in and out of the classroom,” Cunningham said.

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