Indianapolis Public Schools has named Micah Nelson MS ’11 its 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Nelson teaches sixth- through eight-grade social studies at Center for Inquiry (CFI) School 2. IPS said her commitment to global awareness, project-based learning and integrating literacy, and writing instruction into content area curriculum make her an example of excellence in education.
Nelson joined IPS in 2004. She is a member of the CFI building leadership team and serves as a District Lead Literacy Teacher, leading professional development trainings for her fellow educators. She has been published for her research on Progressive Education and student buy-in.
In IPS’s announcement, the district said that Nelson did not always know teaching was her calling. It wasn’t until she was a college student witnessing the reactions around her after the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 when she realized her passion to promote global awareness.
“I had all kinds of minors, and kept taking classes to try to figure out what I really wanted to ‘be when I grew up,’” she said. “Finally, on September 11, 2001, it came to me. In the discussions that occurred after that event, I realized that many soon-to-be college graduates did not have the slightest understanding of world events. I felt like the education system had failed them. Here were students at a well-respected university who had never been pushed to think critically about world events, and had an overly-simplistic view of complicated issues and histories. At that point, I added an education degree to my history degree, and have been trying to inspire an interest in world events in my students ever since.”
Nelson graduated from Purdue University with degrees in history and education. She went on to complete a master’s in Teacher Leadership from Butler University, and is pursuing her master’s in Education Administration from Butler.
In addition to positively impacting the lives of students, Nelson is helping to train the next generation of educators. She is an instructor in Butler’s College of Education, leading prospective teachers through a course on secondary education. Nelson enjoys mentoring future teachers as well as educators in their first and second years of classroom instruction.
To select the district’s top teacher, each IPS principal was invited to nominate their building-level Teacher of the Year for consideration. The selection committee reviewed each nominee’s portfolio, including teaching philosophy, professional accomplishments, and instructional practices, to determine the finalists and the 2017 winner.