“Be a teacher and change the world.” That’s the message Indiana Teacher of the Year Tara Cocanower shared with students during her visit to the district May 15. Cocanower, a history teacher from Bluffton High School, met with students interested in possibly pursuing careers in education at Harrison High School, McCutcheon High School and the Greater Lafayette Career Academy (GLCA). “There are few things more rewarding than serving children and making a better future for our world,” Cocanower told the students.
During her presentation, Cocanower shared her journey that eventually led her to teaching after serving in the Peace Corps. When she first applied to teach she competed with 102 applicants for that position. Recently, only five people applied for a similar position in her district.
“The way that we talk about education and teachers and the attitude we take toward education deeply matters to the health of our communities and nation,” says Cocanower. “Teachers are realizing that they are highly sought-after employees with marketable skills. All stakeholders need to approach accountability and teamwork with a focus on kids, first, last and always. Teachers, administrators and parents are partners in creating learning environments that allow students to thrive and must support each other, give grace and communicate openly.”
Cocanower plans to share that message as she travels the state this year as Indiana Teacher of the Year.
Pictured below: 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year Sharita Ware at East Tipp Middle School, 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year Tara Cocanower and 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year Kathy Nimmer, Director of the TSC SEEDS program to support teachers new to the district.