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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Deanna Casiano goes over project work with Thomas Wartenberg, 14, in their Special Topics in Science class at New Tech Academy at Wayne High School.

Teacher honor roll / Education notebook

Deanna Casiano

School: New Tech Academy at Wayne High School

Grade/Subject teaching: Ninth Grade Environmental Science Perspectives

Education: Bachelor’s degree in secondary education (biology, earth/space science) from Ball State University; California State University Long Beach, specially designed academic instruction in English certification

Years teaching: 18

City Born: Richmond

City Raised: Fort Wayne

Current hometown: Fort Wayne. I spent 10 years teaching for Long Beach Unified School District and then returned to Fort Wayne to be close to my family.

Family : Married for five years to Tony Casiano

Last book read: Fiction: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman; Non-fiction: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

Favorite teacher: Doug Waldman, Homestead High School environmental science

Favorite class in school: Science/biology, environmental science, zoology, chemistry, foreign language (Latin, French, Spanish), history and geometry

Favorite teaching memory: Being a part of the Ocean Challenge program in Long Beach, Calif. A group of 20 students and I explored Long Beach Harbor on a 50-foot sport fisher vessel, learning seamanship, fishing, and oceanography.

Biggest influence to become a teacher: I come from a family of teachers. Both my mother and sister teach. More than that, I would say that helping my younger brother make it through spelling tests and having informal Socratic seminar-type discussions with my brother and his friends about whatever topic they were curious about really helped me realize that I loved helping kids learn. I love the “Aha” moment when students make a connection, meaning for themselves.

A concept you’ve learned during a professional development activity that you use in the classroom: Project-based learning. I work at New Tech Academy at Wayne, which is part of the New Tech Network. I facilitate projects in which students collaboratively apply new skills and knowledge in order to develop solutions to authentic, “real world” problems. This year my freshmen classes are developing and implementing “action plans” to reduce our school’s ecological footprint and become certified as a PLT (project learning tree) Green School.

– Julie Crothers, The Journal Gazette


Chris Culkin, a IPFW graduate student, won first place at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America for his poster titled “Drought Stress in Soybean: Impacts on Soybean Aphid Populations And Soybean Mosaic Virus.”

•Questa Education Foundation announced the recipients of Women in Business funding: IPFW – Ericka Brandenberg and Richelle Reeves; Ivy Tech Community College Northeast – Lydia Neff, Julia Flaningan and Dorothy Lehman; Indiana University – Mackenzie Buhr and Keegan Holle; Indiana Tech – Jessica Roberts, Denise Zent, Ashley Bostic, Amanda Wilt, Keeighja Kinnie, Kelli Schimmoller, Jill Porter , Arkim Palmer, Rakita Rogers and Jasmine Sewell. Funding is available with support from Yergens Rogers Foundation for Allen County women who are completing their education.

•The Indiana Arts Commission approved matching grant allocations as part of its Art in Education grant program for Fort Wayne Community Schools and Northern Wells Community Schools. Schools and teaching artists could request up to $3,000 which must be matched dollar for dollar.

•Canterbury High School senior Reid Collis was named a Scholar in the National Hispanic Recognition Program.

Holly Ehle, a kindergarten teacher at St. Peter’s Lutheran School, was named the Arthur L. Amt Lutheran School Teacher of the Year during the Lutheran Education Association Convocation.

•The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club at Homestead High School recently collected about 5,000 cans to be donated to the Community Harvest Food Bank.


•Sixty-five scholarships are available for U.S. students to study abroad for an academic year with the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad program. Students will live with host families and study for one academic year in countries that may include: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Oman, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey. For more information, The deadline for applying is Jan. 9.

•The Fort Wayne Zoological Society is accepting applications for the Lawrence A. Ackerman Scholarship, a one-time $2,000 award to a college-bound high school senior pursuing an animal-related career. Applications are due Feb. 1. Interested students can download an application at

•Parents interested in information about Bishop Luers High School financial aid for the 2014-15 school year should attend an information meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 15 in room 104 at the school, 333 E. Paulding Road.

Ivy Tech

•Ivy Tech recently announced new employees and promotions including: Lucy LaHurreau, promoted to an assistant professor in health information technology; Richard Washburn, hired as a full-time faculty member in design technology; and Robert McMichael, hired as the new director of career services.

•Ivy Tech Community College Northeast recently received a $43,000 grant from Lincoln Financial Foundation to aid graduates in specific programs in landing a job upon graduation through The Employer Student Connection Initiative.

•The Early Childhood Education Center program at Ivy Tech begins Jan. 13 and tuition costs $105 to $210 per month for care from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays or Mondays and Thursdays. Before-hours care is also available. For more information, contact Rebecca Carothers at 480-4277 or Lois Kaufmann-Hunsberger at 480-4194 or visit

•Beginning in the spring, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast will offer competency-based education classes for students in the Computer Information Systems program.

•Ivy Tech Community College Northeast has selected Laura M. Edwards as its new Executive Director of Resource Development.

•Indiana’s Office of Family & Social Services has awarded the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation a grant for refugees to receive certified nursing assistant training from Ivy Tech Community College Northeast. Refugees must meet requirements to receive the funds. To learn more about the grant or apply, contact Cindy Chenoweth at 480-2092 or

Do you have a favorite teacher? Please send us your nominations, including the teacher’s name, school, school district and grade/subject taught as well as your name, phone number and reason for your nomination. Nominations can be sent to Julie Crothers at The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, faxed to 461-8893 or emailed to