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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 18, 2018 11:58 am

FWCS, SACS name teachers of the year

Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

Karen Gillie, a graphic design instructor at Fort Wayne Community Schools' Career Academy at Anthis, said she was shocked and surprised Friday when school administrators named her the system's 2018 teacher of the year.

"Every day, we need to make sure that our students understand that what they are learning in the classroom is connected to what they will do in their careers," FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson said.

"While Karen has a natural ability to make those connections, she also goes out of her way to ensure students have real-world experiences by working with real businesses in the community. Those connections not only provide hands-on learning; they open doors for students entering the workforce before and after graduation."

Gillie, who has been teaching for 25 years, started as a night school instructor. Each year, she chaperones students at the National SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Kentucky. Nine students qualified this year, including five graphic design students.

Stephanie Merkling, an AP and environmental science teacher at Homestead High School, was named the Southwest Allen County Schools teacher of the year on Friday.

"This is amazing," Merkling said. "I knew the moment I first interviewed with SACS nearly 10 years ago, this is where I wanted to teach. The staff, faculty and students are unlike any one I could find elsewhere. There is no better place I could imagine waking up to go to work each day."

For more on this story, see Saturday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Saturday.

dgong@jg.net