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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Susan Thomas, U.S. history and government teacher at South Side High School, checks on the progress of senior Kimberly Nunez as she researches the role of the governor on a laptop during class.

Monday, December 18, 2017 1:00 am

Teacher honor roll/Education notebook

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Susan Thomas

School: South Side High School

Grade or subject teaching: 11th and 12th, U.S. history and government

Education: Bachelor's degree at IPFW, master's degree at Walden University

Years teaching: This is my 24th year with Fort Wayne Community Schools

City born: Auburn

Current home: Fort Wayne

Family: Sons Nate and Nick, who are attending college

Last book read: “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah

Favorite teacher(s): Mrs. Alguire, grade four, and Mr. Alguire, grade five. They made everything interesting and made you want to learn. They were also very nice people; my friend Amy and I even went over to visit them in their home when they had a baby. That was a big deal to us

Favorite class in school: Any social studies class

Favorite teaching memory: There have been so many over the years. I can't just name one. I enjoy it when there is a class discussion over the topic we are learning about. I am so happy when I hear from former students and catch up on how they are doing. It also makes me happy when a student I taught in a different class brings up something they learned in that class that pertains to the new material. I'll stop there before I end up writing a book

Favorite extracurricular activity: At South Side, cheerleading. In my personal life, being with my sons

What advice would you give to your students as they plan for their future? Be happy, choose the path that brings you joy. You also need to be prepared to go with plan B or C or even more because life brings many changes and while you may not end up where you thought you would be, you can end up where you are supposed to be

Recommended by: Former student Stella Bowler

Reason for recommendation: She was “very personable, sweet and kind. She made sure that you knew what you were learning.”

Scholarships, grants and recognitions

• The Fort Wayne Zoological Society is accepting applications for the Lawrence A. Ackerman Scholarship, which bestows a one-time, $2,000 award to a college-bound high school senior pursuing an animal-related career. Students in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley counties in Indiana can apply. Visit for information. Students may also call 260-427-6800 or visit their school guidance office for an application. The deadline is Feb. 1.

• IPFW is part of a $531,000 grant renewal to recruit STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – teachers in Indiana. The grant, announced in November by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, was awarded through the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund, which was created by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013. The STEM Teacher Retention through Mentoring program involves IPFW, the University of Southern Indiana, Butler University and 11 public school districts, including East Noble and Garrett-Keyser-Butler in northeast Indiana. The grant will allow the program to continue supporting the more than 90 current mentees and teachers who are in their first five years of teaching. There are 59 mentor teachers.

• More than 130 students on 50 teams from northeast Indiana competed in Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana's Titan Tournament on Nov. 30. Carroll High School students Colin Coplen, Alexis DePrey and Joe Lett placed second overall. Other participating schools included Adams Central, Bellmont, Garrett, Huntington North, Manchester and Norwell.

• Cedarville Elementary School collected 237 gifts and $1,718 in gift cards for five families in need.

• Ossian Elementary's fourth-graders raised more than $800 to provide Christmas gifts for children under Forgotten Children Worldwide's care in Africa, India and Nepal. Their efforts surpassed their $345 goal and will benefit 36 children.

Indiana Tech

• Indiana Tech has launched an online Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity degree program designed to prepare students for careers and leadership within the information security field. Visit for more information.


• The IPFW chapter Kappa Delta Pi, the national education honor society, last month held mock interviews benefiting pre-service teachers and graduate students preparing to become school administrators. Faculty adviser Wylie Sirk paired nine grad students with nine seasoned administrators, who conducted the mock interviews with 48 student teachers in teams. Faculty adviser Sharon Parnin and the undergraduate members of KDP organized the interview schedules, additional presentations and refreshments. The event provided an opportunity for future principals to hone their interviewing skills and for soon-to-be teachers to practice sharing their educational philosophies and passions.

Ivy Tech

• The building construction technology program at Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne Campus is partnering with more than 16 high school and career center classes to build custom homes for northeast Indiana residents. Schools include Fort Wayne Community Schools' Career Academy, Central Noble High School and Garrett High School. Students are enrolled in dual-credit classes at Ivy Tech, and for most programs they are on the jobsite daily. Throughout the winter and spring months, they will work inside their project houses to complete mechanical, electrical, plumbing, drywall, paint, cabinets and flooring.


• Trine University and Citizens Energy Group, which provides utility services in the Indianapolis area, have begun a collaboration through Citizens' Partnership for Excellence in Research and Learning program. The intent is to encourage graduates to stay in Indiana to fill workforce needs. It is also hoped the partnership will create more professional development opportunities for Trine students.

• Trine is developing a physical therapist assistant program to be based at its Health Sciences Education Center in Fort Wayne. The university has completed a comprehensive need analysis that has demonstrated the program will address a significant regional need for outstanding graduates.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.