Carmel High School English teacher Katie Overbeck acknowledged she gets bored easily if she does the same thing for very long.
But that hasn’t been the case with regard to her 20-year career at CHS.
“Every year of teaching is a different year,” Overbeck said. “The job doesn’t get old or boring, because the year is not the same from one year to the next year. Every year we get a new set of students, so it’s 100 new faces and 100 new life experiences.”
Overbeck’s enthusiasm for her job helped her earn the 2022 Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year honor for Carmel Clay Schools, presented May 5 at an annual banquet.
Overbeck, a 1993 CHS graduate, said she knew she was one of eight teachers from the high school who had been selected to attend the banquet.
“It took me by surprise that they selected me for the district teacher,” said Overbeck, who is finishing her 20th year teaching at CHS. “It’s quite a nice honor now that it’s able to sink in a little bit.”
While every year is different, nothing has been quite like what teachers and students have dealt with since the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close in March 2020.
“In the last couple of years, it’s been just a series of adjustments as we dealt with different schedules and the pandemic,” Overbeck said. “It’s made us all aware of meeting kids where they are and to adjust even more than we do in a typical year to what they need. The last couple of years have shown those of us who can adapt and can adjust can continue to make an impact on the kids in positive ways. We all are aware this has been more difficult in the formative years on teenagers and younger kids than us adults who have perspective.”
Overbeck is the International Baccalaureate Program coordinator and volunteers to work with various student and staff committees and afterschool activities.
Overbeck graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1997. She previously taught English at Forest Park High School in Georgia before joining Carmel Clay Schools.
“Katie Overbeck is remarkable to watch in the classroom,” CHS Principal Tom Harmas stated. “The level of engagement and leadership she provides is what makes Carmel High School a special place for our students.”
Overbeck said it was nice to receive recognition from parents, colleagues, administrators and, especially, students during the banquet.
“It’s nice to know the work you are doing every day is carrying meaning in their lives,” she said. “It’s what we all are looking to do, but we don’t always hear it directly. In this forum, we could hear it directly, so it’s reassuring about the job we’re doing every day.”
As the district winner, Overbeck is entered in the Indiana Teacher of the Year competition.
Overbeck and her husband, Dan, a North Central High School graduate, have three children. Steven, a 2021 CHS graduate, recently finished his freshman year at Miami (Ohio) University. Ellie will be a senior at CHS this fall, and Emily will be an eighth-grader at Clay Middle School.