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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Lakeside Middle School teacher Julie Bird helps Joshay Williams, 12, with an assignment. Bird teaches language arts and social studies.

Teacher honor roll: Julie Bird of Lakeside Middle School

Julie Bird

School: Lakeside Middle School

Grade/subject teaching: Sixth-grade language arts and social studies

Education: Attended Aquinas University and received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from IPFW

Years teaching: Retiring after 25 years

City born and raised: Sandusky, Ohio

Current hometown: Fort Wayne

Family: Married to Steve for 45 years, and we have four adult children: Kevin, Paul, Danielle, Sean and nine grandchildren

Last book you read and what you thought of it: The last book I read was “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly; excellent book, very factual and interesting.

Favorite class in school: American history

Biggest influence in your decision to become a teacher: I used to play school with my five brothers and sisters every year. My 10th-grade Algebra II teacher helped me to decide that teaching was my passion. She was a Notre Dame sister, very strict taskmaster, and really knew how to make math enjoyable and explain it so you really understood the concepts. Also the small township librarian instilled in me a great love of reading. She had read every book in the library and we would orally tell her what the book was about for our report. She always knew if we didn’t read the entire book.

Nominated by: Husband Steve

Nomination: Julie is an outstanding teacher. She brings her special dedication and her caring attitude into her classroom each and every day. For her this is a labor of love and a calling to help shape our leaders of tomorrow. It is especially gratifying to witness her former students who approach her to let her know how much she has meant to them. One of the most heartwarming times was when our son Paul decided to become a teacher. It spoke volumes of the example Julie has set, that he would want to emulate her. As she approaches retirement and as she sees all the changes in education, her hope is that making a difference in a child’s life never gets lost in the shuffle.


•Huntington County Community School Corp. has selected Diana Sowers, a fifth-grade teacher at Roanoke Elementary, as its Teacher of the Year. Sowers earned her bachelor of science degree and her master of science in education from Indiana University, Fort Wayne. She has 27 years of teaching experience, all with Huntington schools.

•The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans has announced the winners of the Horatio Alger Indiana Scholarship. Scholarship recipients were chosen based on their demonstrated commitment to education, dedication to community service, and strength of character in overcoming personal obstacles to achieve academic excellence. They are: Ross Barrientos, Bishop Luers High School; Ashley Bruner, Northrop; Hannah Harris, Blackhawk Christian; Katana Heredia, Northrop; Jessica Kim, Homestead; and Louis Ortega-Aguilar, Northrop.

•The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has announced, in conjunction with Wells Fargo Bank, the four winners selected to receive The Celebration of Youth Award including a $1,000 scholarship and a Y student membership: Caitlin Funnell, home school; Wilisha Graham, South Side High School; Corinne Kauffman, Columbia City; and Haley Smethers, Homestead.

•The Indiana Association of School Councils has selected Adams Elementary School Principal Federa Smith as the Elementary Administrator of the Year. The nomination came from the Student Council adviser and the Student Council president. The criteria for selecting a recipient are the administrator’s leadership and involvement in student activities.

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 461-8893 or emailed to