By Heather Lusk
Fifteen years ago, when Lindsay Alessandrini began student teaching at Zionsville Community High School, she never imagined that someday her mentor teacher, Kris Cavolick, would present her with the district’s Teacher of the Year award.
“It was really a nice full circle moment for me,” said Alessandrini, currently a Spanish teacher at ZCHS. “I had learned so much under her mentorship and she really gave me such a great start in teaching.”
Alessandrini was announced as the Zionsville Community Schools 2015 Teacher of the Year at the school board meeting May 11. The top teacher is selected by a group of Zionsville residents who do not currently have children in the district. Alessandrini is now in the running for Indiana Teacher of the Year, which will be announced this fall.
Alessandrini wants her students to be able to experience and use language in ways that are meaningful to them, and she incorporates culture and history along with her language lessons.
“We know with any education, personal interest drives learning,” she said, “so when kids outside of the classroom can latch on to something that they really enjoy, their learning just comes more naturally.”
It’s the personal interest that has led Alessandrini, who lives in Zionsville, to make several trips to Honduras as part of the Indiana group Heart in Education Teacher Outreach. Indiana educators bring educational supplies that are difficult to find in Honduras to poor rural areas, and then they partner with local teachers to assist with training.
Her eyes light up as she describes providing these students with the basics for learning.
“It’s such a really neat experience,” she said. “And it’s a great way to practice my Spanish.”
As a youngster, Alessandrini enjoyed playing school with her younger brother and eventually had the opportunity to host an exchange student from Spain while attending high school in Fort Wayne. She then studied in Spain during her junior years of both high school and college before graduating from IU with a major in education with a concentration in Spanish.
Alessandrini feels grateful to the school, the corporation, the families and especially to her students.
“When you love your students then it’s fun and it’s easy,” she said, “watching them taking it in for themselves.”
ZCS TEACHERS OF THE YEAR
ZCS recognized a 2015 Teacher of the Year from each school. They are:
- Ericka Sorrells, Boone Meadow Elementary
- Christine Wright, Eagle Elementary
- Julia Parks, Pleasant View Elementary
- Leslie Frobig, Stonegate Elementary
- Megan Magoni, Union Elementary
- Chelsea Bibler, Zionsville Middle School
- Dabney Frothingam, Zionsville West Middle School
- Lindsay Alessandrini, ZCHS