Renee White Named Top Instructor for Carmel Clay Schools

White accepting her award. (Submitted photo)

White accepting her award. (Submitted photo)

In a surprise ceremony on April 15, Renee White, third grade teacher at Carmel Elementary, was announced as the 2013 Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year for Carmel Clay Schools (CCS).

Susan H. Backer, widow of Mr. Stephen A. Backer, and Dr. Jeff Swensson, CCS Superintendent, surprised White and her colleagues by making the announcement at her school.

Through her numerous nominations, White was described as “gifted in all domains of education, including the areas of student/parent relationships, planning/assessment/instruction, and leadership.” White will now represent CCS in the state Teacher of the Year competition.

“Ms. White symbolizes the great teaching that occurs every day throughout the Carmel Clay Schools. Her use of best instructional practices, her creative engagement strategies, and her genuine regard for her students illustrate her above-and-beyond approach in the classroom. Our school corporation is very proud of the exceptional professionalism of Renee White.”

White was hired by CCS in 2003 as a third grade teacher at Carmel Elementary School and did her student teaching at Forest Dale Elementary School- also a Carmel Clay school. Before that, White graduated from the Honors College (Magna Cum Laude) at Ball State University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in December 2001 and was valedictorian of her senior class at LaPorte High School in LaPorte, Indiana.

Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year nominations are made by students, parents, and other staff members starting each January. A selection committee consisting of teachers, administrators, and a Carmel Education Foundation representative then thoroughly reviews the nominees and selects a recipient in April. The CCS Teacher of the Year is endowed by the Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year Award through the Carmel Education Foundation. This award was created in memory of Mr. Backer, who was an advocate and supporter of the Carmel Clay Schools. He served on the CCS Board of Trustees from 1994 to 1998 and from 2006 until his passing in March 2009. Mr. Backer held the position of school board president for five of those years. The Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year Award was established shortly after his passing. Donations in support of the award can be made through the Carmel Education Foundation at

To read about previous CCS Teacher of the Year winners, please visit