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Record Number: 5201
Displayed from: Jun 11, 2009 , until: Jul 11, 2009
Snider High School science teacher Francis Mustapha will be honored Friday, June 12, as the 2009 Dolly Parton Chasing Rainbows Award recipient. The National State Teachers of the Year (NSTOY) presented the first Chasing Rainbows Award to Dolly Parton in 2002 in recognition of the her love of children and her desire that all children across the country have books in their homes, become better readers and expand their imaginations. Since then, NSTOY has selected one teacher annually to receive the Chasing Rainbows Teacher of the Year Award. The award is given to a teacher who overcame obstacles to become an exemplary teacher. It is a way for the organization to honor teachers who enhance the teaching profession in the eyes of the public. In the letter announcing that Mr. Mustapha as this year's winner, Edna Rogers, director of the award, said, "We feel Mr. Mustapha is very deserving of this prestigious award and truly feel his students are receiving a better education because of his sincere dedication to the profession." Mr. Mustapha was born in Medina, a small village in Sierra Leone, West Africa. His pursuit of education eventually led him to the United States where he studied biology at Indiana Wesleyan University and education at Indiana University. From 1976-78, he worked as a science teacher in East Allen County Schools and then worked as a substitute teacher for Fort Wayne Community Schools for a year. In 1979, he and his wife returned to West Africa to work at teacher training schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone. He returned to Fort Wayne in 1983 and began working as a biology teacher at South Side High School. In 1996, he took his current position as a science teacher at Snider High School. In 1994, Mr. Mustapha was named the FWCS Teacher of the Year and went on to become a National Teacher of the Year finalist. That same year, he received the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University School of Education and the Outstanding Alumni Award in Education from Indiana Wesleyan University and was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. As the Chasing Rainbows recipient, Mr. Mustapha and his wife will spend a week in Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and meet Dolly Parton. A plaque with his name will be added to a sculpture that stands in the showcase window of Dolly Parton's Chasing Rainbows Museum.

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.