Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE)— “I love my job. I love what I do. I love my school and I love all these kids,” said 2014 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year Linda Shafer. The second grade teacher from Adams Elementary School was honored with the award on Wednesday.
“It’s an amazing honor because everybody I work with I think is an amazing teacher,” Shafer said. “Everyone I’ve ever worked with in the district I feel like is an amazing teacher and I learn from everyone I work with every day.”
Shafer started her teaching career in 1996 as a substitute teacher after a brief career in media. She joined Adams Elementary School four years ago as a full time staff member.
FWCS selected Shafer because of her enthusiasm for teaching and the way she focuses on the needs of the students in the classroom.
“All teaching starts with recognizing the value of each child as an individual”, Shafer said. “Each child learns at a different speed and in different ways. It is my responsibility to discover the best way to reach each child in my classroom”.
Shafer hopes that her students “remember [her] as the teacher who believed in their success. I have seen children make incredible gains and accomplishments because I told them I knew they could do it. I want them to remember that I do believe in each one of them.”
One of Shafer’s accomplishments was her recently formed foundation Sparks of Promise. It will provide funding for enrichment opportunities for FWCS students who show high ability but need more support outside of school to reach their full potential. Sparks of Promise will begin with four fourth-graders who will participate in six-week programs like exposure to ballet and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“Linda Shafer is the kind of teacher every child deserves to have in their lives,” Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “Linda is a great example of what teachers strive for in Fort Wayne Community Schools”.
Shafer along with other finalists for Fort Wayne Community Schools will be honored at a School Board meeting in the fall. Shafer will also be nominated for Indiana Teacher of the Year.