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Sarah Janssen | The Journal Gazette
Teacher Sharon Smith questions students during class. Smith teaches fourth-grade at Woodlan Intermediate School.

teacher honor roll

Sharon R. Smith

School: Woodlan Intermediate

Grade/Subject teaching: Fourth grade

Education (where you went to school, degrees earned): Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education, mild interventions from the University of Saint Francis

Years teaching: 13 total. I taught special education at Harding High School for 11 years and have taught fourth grade at Woodlan Intermediate for 2 years.

City born: Hicksville, Ohio

City raised: Butler

Current hometown: New Haven

Family: My son Logan Smith, 17, is a senior at New Haven High School

Last book you read and what you thought of it: “Private Games” by James Patterson. It was a good book. I enjoy James Patterson books. For school, the first book in the Ghost Buddy series, “From Zero to Hero,” by Henry Winkler. It was a good book about finding your place in a new situation and making good decisions. My students enjoyed it, too.

Favorite class in school: I enjoyed hands-on classes, like graphic arts, home economics, and journalism while in high school.

Biggest influence in your decision to become a teacher? When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to work with children in some way; however, I never envisioned going to college. When I was 25, I decided to become a nanny in New York. During my year there, I became friends with the aunt of the child I was caring for. She happened to be a middle school teacher in Brooklyn. One day she asked me, “Why don’t you become a teacher?” When my contract year was up, I moved back home and started college. I will always be grateful for her inspiration.

Nominated by: Jaylee Lounsbery, student

Nomination: Jaylee says Ms. Smith will always lend an ear when someone is upset and needs to talk, and she provides hands-on learning activities for students. “I love Ms. Smith. She is like a mom, and I think everyone should know that!”


•Avilla Elementary first-grade teacher Michelle Yoder was named an Indiana University Jacob Teacher Educator. The annual Jacobs Teacher Educator Award honors five teachers out of 25 nominees who use technology to support innovative, inquiry-based teaching and learning activities in their classrooms.

•Heritage Junior-Senior High School students won national honors at this year’s Future Farmers of America Horticulture Contest: Austin Franz, first place; Colton Mishler, second place; Grant Hood, third place; and Rachel Hammond, fourth place. In the open class judging, Connor Sheumann received fourth place and Abby Klinker placed fifth.

•Area students Sarah Doty of Grace College and Kirstie Pieper of Indiana Tech have received 2012 “Realizing the Dream” awards. The award honors first-generation college sophomores who have graduated from an Indiana high school, have a superior GPA, and have demonstrated leadership abilities on their college campus.

•West Noble bus driver Gregg Cunningham was recognized as a winner in the seventh-annual Thomas Built Buses Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year contest. Cunningham was nominated by a West Noble Middle School seventh grader in an essay contest.


•Two Fort Wayne students Taylor James, a senior at Carroll High School, and Jacqueline Smith, a senior at Homestead High School, have accepted IPFW Chancellor’s Distinguished Scholarships. James plans to major in biology in the pre-med program, and Smith plans study engineering next fall.

Indiana Tech

•The admissions office will host a visit day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 30 for prospective students interested in engineering or computer science programs. Students will have the opportunity to experience live demonstrations of engineering equipment, participate in hands-on mini projects, interact with professors, tour the campus and learn about the admissions process. For more information or to register for the event, call 800-937-2448 ext. 3103 or visit

Do you have a favorite teacher? Please send us your nominations, including the teacher’s name, school, school district and grade/subject taught as well as your name, phone number and reason for your nomination. Nominations can be sent to Sarah Janssen at The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, faxed to 260-461-8893 or emailed to