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School of Education celebrates alumni as Teachers of Distinction

Alumni Jun 16, 2022
Chancellor Sciame-Giesecke and Dean Leah Nellis stand with this year's teacher of distinction, Vince Lorenz.
Chancellor Sciame-Giesecke and Dean Leah Nellis stand with this year’s teacher of distinction, Vince Lorenz.

KOKOMO, Ind. – The hard work and dedication of teachers was celebrated recently, by the Indiana University Kokomo School of Education  

The School of Education, along with the IU Alumni Association Kokomo region recently recognized six exceptional teachers for their commitment to education.  

In her remarks, Dean Leah Nellis pointed out the presence of a young child in the audience, as a “reminder” of why teachers are committed to their profession, of the “hearts and minds that are open to being influenced, shaped, and guided.” 

“That’s really at the heart of why we’re here tonight; the children,” she added.

Nellis said that she has a sense of hope for schools, communities, and the future of the teaching profession.

“There’s a lot of challenge in teaching. Sometimes there’s a lot of negativity in what we hear and what we read, and what we see in the media,” Nellis told the crowd. “But we show up every day and continue to do the work.”

Nellis added that she also has hope, because of the “dedicated, resilient and caring future educators who are students in our School of Education.”

“Every day, I am reminded about the passion and commitment that they bring to the profession, and their desire to be a teacher,” she said.

Teachers of Distinction honorees were selected in a nomination process, joining a group of teachers created by the inaugural recognition in 2017. Two new awards were presented for the first time; the Early Career Award, granted to IU Kokomo School of Education alumni who have shown outstanding work and effort in the first four years of their careers, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring those who have made a significant and lasting impact in education in the IU Kokomo region.

Those recognized with the Early Career Award were:

  • Lela Crawford, B.S. ’18, has taught at Tipton Elementary School since her graduation in 2018. She recently completed a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, and looks forward to continuing to learn and grow as a professional so that she can support students of all abilities an positively impact their lives.
  • Angel McCord, B.S. ’15, has taught for four years, and is currently a teacher at Bon Air Middle School. She creates a welcoming, yet challenging classroom environment in which students are actively engaged and demonstrate substantial academic growth.
  • Catherine Murphy, B.S., ’18, teaches third grade at Pettit Park Elementary School. She prioritizes relationships and compassion in her classroom for both her students and IU Kokomo Education practicum students.
  • Taylor Sampson, B.S., ’21, taught fourth grade at Green Meadows Elementary School after her graduation in 2021. She is proud of the success and growth that the students in her inclusive classroom made over the course of the year.

Vincente Lorenz, B.S., ’21, was honored with the Teacher of Distinction award. Lorenz teaches science at Kokomo High School, where he has worked since graduating in 2012. In addition to his duties at Kokomo High School, he serves as an adjunct instructor for the School of Sciences at IU Kokomo.

Committed to experiential learning, Lorenz researches the impact of field experiences on high school physical geology students and incorporates best practices into his teaching through trips to national and state parks and museums, team-based learning, and interactive technologies.

Lorenz serves his community by participating in a long list of volunteer organizations, and leads KHS students in service learning. He continues to support his students, both from KHS and IU Kokomo, after their graduation by serving as a mentor and advocate.

Ann Millikan, B.S., ’59, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, teaching in the Kokomo School Corporation for 42 years after earning her degree from Indiana University Bloomington. She taught first grade at Bon Air Middle School for 18 years, before serving as a program administrator for various programs including Title IV guidance program, the KEY program, and Title I.

Millikan was responsible for multiple initiatives during her time in Kokomo Schools, and earned additional endorsements in High Ability and Administration. She has served on the Board fo the Kokomo Schools Education Foundation for many years, currently serving as president. She is also involved in organizations including Delta Kappa Gamma, The Indiana State Teachers Association, Tri Kappa Associates, and the Kokomo Area Reading Council.

She continues to contribute to the IU community through her service and leadership on the IUAA Kokomo Region board, and as a mentor in the School of Education’s Emerging Educator Mentor Network.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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