By Mark Ambrogi
Prairie Trace Elementary teacher Sarah Awe was ready for a normal monthly staff meeting on April 20. All of sudden, the Prairie Trace principal Jill Schipp said there was one special announcement.
“The superintendent walked in with a huge bouquet of flowers,” Awe said.
The flowers were for Awe as Dr. Nicholas D. Wahl, the Carmel Clay Schools superintendent, made the presentation honoring her as the 2015 Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year for Carmel Clay Schools.
“I had no clue. It was very overwhelming. I was thankful to see my mom and dad and my husband and my kids. To have the staff, are my friends?, there was extremely powerful and very meaningful.”
Awe has been at Prairie Trace for 14 years, teaching fourth/fifth grade high ability for these last nine years. She previously taught second grade and then taught second and third grade high ability.
“I embrace change so I’m able to find new novels, find the hottest technology,” Awe said. “I’ve never done anything the same in my 14 years at PT and that’s what I enjoy. I’m constantly changing and looking at the groups of kids and their interests. Keeping them engaged keeps me wanting to continue to teach and loving it.”
The nominations praised Awe for teaching beyond the textbook, sharing ideas and helping colleagues and making it a priority to meet academic and emotional needs of every child.
“Sarah demonstrates the qualities of a truly exceptional educator,” Dr. Wahl stated. “She enthusiastically strives to meet the needs of the whole child, creates innovative and stimulating lessons, is willing to work together with her peers and communicates openly and effectively with parents.”
Awe, 35, will now represent Carmel Clay Schools in the Indiana Teacher of the Year competition. Awe and husband have a 4 1/2-year-old daughter Emma and twin boys Miles and Lucas, 15 months old.
Awe, a 1997 Pike High School graduate, received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education From Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in Education Effective Teaching from Butler University.