FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) South Side High School math teacher Tod Croft has been named the 2017 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year.
Croft was surprised in his classroom on Wednesday by District Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson.
A veteran teacher of 24 years, Croft taught at Wayne and Northrop high schools before moving to South Side three years ago. He was selected as the district’s Teacher of the Year as a result of his “dedication to ensuring all of his students succeed by being a cheerleader, a motivator, a supporter and an advocate for them,” the district wrote in a news release.
Croft regularly visits students outside of math class to check in and see how they are doing throughout the day. He also learns their interests and talents to make connections beyond the classroom lessons, the district said.
Croft focuses on teaching students, not just teaching math, the district said.
“Teaching is not about a subject. Math is a vehicle. It’s the best opportunity in the world to give students an opportunity to develop into something outside of high school,” Croft said. “I believe in hope, grace and opportunity for students.”
And that support doesn’t end when students receive their diplomas.
“When you’re a student of Croft’s, you’re a student of mine for life,” he said.
Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said Croft’s commitment to his students represents what it means to be a teacher in Fort Wayne Community Schools.
“We talk about building relationships with students, with families, with co-workers all the time,” Dr. Robinson said. “Tod doesn’t need to be told to build relationships with those around him. He does it because he truly believes teaching is his calling, and it is his moral purpose to care for all those around him – students and adults.”
Candidates for Teacher of the Year are nominated by building principals with finalists chosen by a committee of administrators. The other finalists this year were:
- Elizabeth Dickmeyer, third-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary
- Abbie Jinnings, first-grade teacher at Scott Academy
- Shalauna McMillan, fourth-grade teacher at South Wayne Elementary
- Erin Patton-McFarren, art teacher at Whitney Young Early Childhood Center.
Croft and the finalists will be honored at a School Board meeting in the fall. Croft will be nominated for Indiana Teacher of the Year.