Chamber to Celebrate Outstanding Teachers

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Ten Monroe County teachers have been named 2015 Outstanding Educator Award winners by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce's Franklin Initiative. During a ceremony next month, the group will also honor a longtime social studies teacher with a Lifetime Achievement Award. January 23, 2015

News Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The recipients of the 14th Annual Educators of the Year awards were announced today by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce's Franklin Initiative.

This year, ten individuals and one educational program will be honored at the community celebration which recognizes the best teachers and programs in accredited schools across Monroe County. The awards dinner is scheduled for February 18 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Presidents Hall in Indiana University's Franklin Hall.

Since 2001, The Chamber's Franklin Initiative has supported excellence in education with the annual awards ceremony. In addition to nine educators who will receive an Outstanding Educator Award, Bloomington High School North’s Pat Wilson will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding longtime commitment to education. Wilson, Department Chair for Social Studies, was awarded an Outstanding Educator Award in 2011.

"The Chamber and its Franklin Initiative are thrilled to honor the passion and commitment of these outstanding educators. Our honorees' dedication to their profession encourages our young people to think more broadly, help them to build lifelong skills and develop a true love of learning," said Jeb Conrad, President & C.E.O. of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

The following individuals will be honored with 2015 Outstanding Educator Awards:

Geoff Aiken ‐ Bloomington High School North

Mary Ciasto ‐ RBBCSC/Forest Hills

Denise Eckert‐Hill ‐ Tri‐North Middle School

Jeana Kerr ‐ Batchelor Middle School

Dan Kennedy ‐ Bloomington High School South

Meghan Mann ‐ Edgewood Primary School

Catherine Marchese ‐ Tri‐North Middle School

Jessica Willis – Jackson Creek Middle School

Crystal Wyeth ‐ Bloomington High School North

Again this year, Bloomington‐based company Solution Tree is donating $500 to the school of each Outstanding Educator. In addition, Solution Tree will pay all expenses for each awardee to attend a Solution Tree Institute, or two‐day workshop anywhere in the country.

"We thank Solution Tree for continuing to provide these opportunities for the Outstanding Educator recipients. By attending a Solution Tree Institute, our awardees bring back a wealth of knowledge to both their classrooms and to our community," said Conrad. Other sponsors who support the event are Smithville Communications, Cook Group, Markey's Rental and Staging, Indiana University Health, Franklin College, IU ‐ Office of Engagement, Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington, IU Credit Union, Bunger & Robertson, First Financial Bank, G.E. Appliances, Bub's Burger, Nature's Way and the Herald‐Times.

Leading Light Awards are given to innovative programs that enhance our education community. This year the Monroe County Youth Council will receive a Leading Light Award.

To register for the 14th Annual Educator of the Year Dinner and Awards, please contact the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce at 812.336.6381, or email Carol Kelly, Event Coordinator, at ckelly@ChamberBloomington.org. Tickets are $35 per person; children in grades K‐12 are $20 and there is no charge for Pre‐K.

For more information about The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative, visit www.FranklinInitiative.com.

About The Chamber's Franklin Initiative

For more than a decade, the Chamber's Franklin Initiative (FI) has helped to facilitate career awareness while helping students develop the skills necessary to succeed in employment or in continuing education. FI programs such as Classroom Speakers, Reality Store, and Job Shadowing increase student engagement through real‐world connections, as well as provide the critical link between the education and business communities. The Franklin Initiative's Graduation Coach Initiative provides individualized counseling and career preparation for struggling students to increase the graduation rate in Monroe County students.

Source: Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce