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Record Number: 10893
Displayed from: May 28, 2014 , until: Jul 28, 2014

Adams Elementary School Second-Grade Teacher Linda Shafer has been named the 2014 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year. Shafer began her teaching career in 1996 as a substitute and then part-time teacher, joining Adams Elementary four years ago.

Shafer was selected as Teacher of the Year because of her excitement about teaching and her ability to focus on the needs of each child in her classroom, from those who need extra support to those who need enrichment.

“All teaching starts with recognizing the value of each child as an individual,” she said. “Each child learns at a different speed and in different ways. It is my responsibility to discover the best way to reach each child in my classroom.”

Shafer recently formed a foundation called Sparks of Promise, which will provide funding for enrichment opportunities for FWCS students who show high ability but need more support outside of school to reach their full potential. Sparks of Promise will begin with four fourth-graders who will participate in six six-week programs, including exposure to the ballet, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and other activities.

“I would like my students to remember me as the teacher who believed in their success,” Shafer said. “I have seen children make incredible gains and accomplishments because I told them I knew they could do it. I want them to remember that I do believe in each one of them.”

Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson praised Shafer, “Linda Shafer is the kind of teacher every child deserves to have in their lives. She knows that students learn best when they know someone cares for them. She shows that in how she responds to students in her classroom and in her building and in how she focuses on tailoring instruction to each student’s needs. Linda is a great example of what teachers strive for in Fort Wayne Community Schools.”

Candidates for Teacher of the Year are nominated by building principals with finalists chosen by a committee of administrators. The other finalists this year were Doug Koerner, seventh-grade language arts teacher at Miami Middle School; Mark Matson, a Project Lead the Way-Biomedical at Snider High School; Sara Pulse, music teacher at Indian Village Elementary; and Amy Tapp, first-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary. Shafer and the finalists will be honored at a School Board meeting in the fall. Shafer will also be nominated for Indiana Teacher of the Year.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.