FWCS Names Secondary Teacher of the Year

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Record Number: 19745
Displayed from: May 15, 2023 , until: Jul 15, 2023

Christabel “Emma” Adhiambo has been named the 2023 Fort Wayne Community Schools Secondary Teacher of the Year.  

Adhiambo has taught for 21 years and has been at the FWCS Career Academy for two-and-a-half years leading the Young Adult Transition program (YAT). Her story is one of perseverance, strength and hope. As a special education teacher, Adhiambo prepares her adult students to be productive citizens no matter how long it takes and has built partnerships with companies throughout the city to provide real-world experiences for her students.  

“Teaching should not be limited to a physical classroom,” she said. "It should take place in a school building, in the community, at home and in any public setting." 

Parents describe Adhiambo as a gift to FWCS, a teacher who is amazing for her students and loved by her staff. 

With tear filled eyes, a parent recently stood during a YAT presentation at a meeting of the FWCS Board of School Trustees and thanked Adhiambo for the difference she has made in her daughter’s life.  

“Not a day goes by that my daughter doesn’t blossom and grow,” Marlie Gernhardt said. “My daughter is excited to go to YAT and she can’t wait to come home and share what she learned.” Gernhardt went on to say that this would never have happened without Miss Emma.  

Adhiambo believes her students deserve the opportunity to explore and discover their unique abilities hands-on in a safe and productive learning environment.  

“We take each learning experience one step at a time even if the steps are small,” she said. 

Candidates for Teacher of the Year are nominated by building principals with finalists chosen by a committee of administrators. The other secondary finalists this year were Reba Ervin, science teacher at Northrop High School, Josie (Beaver) Gorman, sixth grade math teacher at Towles New Tech, Melanie Rice, process teacher at Amp Lab at Electric Works, Amy Schmitz, Digital Imaging Teacher at North Side High School, and Katie Sheppard, English Language Learner (ELL) teacher at South Side High School. Adhiambo will now be nominated for Indiana Teacher of the Year. 


2023 Secondary Teacher of the Year, Finalists and Nominees 


Secondary Schools 

Melanie Rice, Finalist 

Amp Lab 

Melinda Keller 

Blackhawk Middle  

Christabel “Emma” Adhiambo, Secondary Teacher of the Year 

FWCS Career Academy 

Todd Townsend 

Jefferson Middle  

Susan Boyce 

Kekionga Middle 

Kimberly Speed 

Lakeside Middle 

Sarah Matson 

Lane Middle  

Tracey Saylor 

Memorial Park Middle 

Isaac Davis 

Miami Middle 

Amy Schmitz, Finalist 

North Side  

Reba Ervin, Finalist 


Christina Ragukonis 

Northwood Middle 

Yolanda Osorio 

Portage Middle 

Kurt Tippman 


Katie Sheppard, Finalist 

South Side 

Josie Gorman, Finalist 

Towles New Tech 

Aaron Koch 



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.