St. Joseph Central Elementary Teacher Named FWCS Teacher of the Year

Record Number: 12910
Displayed from: Jun 04, 2015 , until: Aug 04, 2015

St. Joseph Central Elementary School Music Teacher Laura McCoy has been named the 2015 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year. McCoy began her teaching career 35 years ago and has been at St. Joseph Central for six years.

McCoy was selected as Teacher of the Year because of her passion for teaching students at all levels, from those with special needs to high achievers, and for her ability to connect various disciplines through the arts.

“We’re all in this together,” McCoy said. “I’m valued as a music teacher, but really, it’s all about the academics. Everything fits together, and arts are the best place for kids to see this.”

McCoy believes every child should have the opportunity to study music.

“Many of my colleagues around the country share horror stories about deep cuts of the arts in their elementary schools. I am proud that FWCS has prioritized music, art and physical education for elementary learners,” she said. FWCS not only provides music instruction for general education students but also special education students, who McCoy appreciates having in class.

“I strive each and every day to raise students up and have music be a joy in their lives,” she said. “From the special needs learner to the student chosen for All-State Honors Choir, each individual has different desires and needs in regards to his or her music education.”

In addition to being a music teacher, McCoy has also been a driver education instructor for 35 years and now oversees the FWCS program.

“We have kept driver education as an option for those that live and work in our community,” she said. “Often, we are training the first driver in a family who is new to our country. I am committed to doing what it takes to help all of these students succeed and have the driving skills to support their entry into higher education or the workforce.”

Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said McCoy comes from a family committed to supporting the community in a variety of ways.

“Laura is a great example of what it means to be a teacher in Fort Wayne Community Schools,” Dr. Robinson said. “She doesn’t just come to school, teach and go home. She is part of the community in a variety of ways, including serving on the board for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra Youth Symphony, leading the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Friends’ annual Young Artist Concerto Competition and serving as a group facilitator at Erin’s House for Grieving Children. I am honored to recognize her as the FWCS Teacher of the Year.”

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 Rachel Achenbach, eighth-grade language arts teacher at Kekionga Middle School; Stephanie Martin-Jordan, fourth-grade teacher at Weisser Park Elementary; Mary Vendrely, sixth-grade language arts teacher at Lane Middle School; Amy Warren, fifth-grade teacher at Scott Academy; and Victoria Williams, special education teacher at Indian Village Elementary. McCoy and the finalists will be honored at a School Board meeting in the fall. McCoy will also be nominated for Indiana Teacher of the Year.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.