Theresa Clark, a history teacher at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School in Fishers, was named the Indiana winner of the Smart/Maher Veterans of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Education Teacher Award during a March 25 ceremony at the Indianapolis Marriott.
The Carmel resident was one of 37 teachers nominated from across the state.
“They get graded on different things, what they teach, how they teach patriotism, how they talk about history and what they do with their students other than just teach,” said Richard Leirer, VFW state commander.
Each year. the VFW Teacher of the Year award is given to exceptional educators for their dedication to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Teachers are recognized from the VFW post to national level.
Clark has been a teacher in Indiana for 18 years and currently teaches sixth through eighth grades. She said being nominated was a shock and winning the state level was an honor.
“We have so many wonderful educators in our area, and then from the district level area, but then the statewide as well,” Clark said. “So, this was quite the surprise.”
As the winner, Clark received a $500 cash prize and plaque. National winners are Kelly Garey, a retired Navy veteran and second grade teacher at Van Buren Elementary School in Caldwell, Idaho; Susan Allgood, a seventh-grade language arts and eighth-grade ELA teacher at Stephens County Middle School in Toccoa, Ga.; and Javier Martinez, a Marine Corps veteran and high school history teacher at Kaneland High School in Maple Park, Ill.
Clark said her future goals include continuing to learn and grow professionally.
“I really enjoy finding opportunities to expand my knowledge and what I can learn to bring back to the classroom,” Clark said.