Indianapolis Alumni Board Names Two Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Indianapolis Alumni Board presents the Indianapolis Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching annually to alumni teachers who are having a transformational impact on their students’ lives and communities. Award recipients demonstrated extraordinary leadership, a commitment to teaching as a powerful force in the fight for educational equity, and an unwavering belief in the potential for all children to succeed.

As the board examines the exemplary work of our alumni teachers, they seek to determine which teachers might be identified as some of the models of excellence within our alumni network, from whom our organization, our corps members and alumni teachers, as well as the teaching community at large, can learn from.

Meet our 2017 winners below!


Shari’ Thomas

2013 Indianapolis Alumna

7th Grade STEM Teacher

Harshman HL Magnet Middle School

“In my classroom I believe knowing who my students are, as a group and as individuals, is important. When teaching in an environment of diverse learners with a variety of backgrounds and needs, I treat all students as individuals with unique strengths, weaknesses, and needs rather than as generalize them of particular racial, ethnic or cultural groups.”

Shari’ has established a “Girls of Color” affinity group at her school. She uses this platform to discuss complex issues, such as systems of oppression, with the students of the group.  She also coaches middle and high school level volleyball and serves as a mentor teacher.


Samantha Griffith

2014 Indianapolis Alumna

Math Teacher

Christel House Dors

“I have the unique position of teaching adult learners at Christel House DORS, a school for students who dropped out and are coming back to get their high school diplomas. We have students with a wide variety of backgrounds. My students range from 17 to 64 years old and have been out of school for decades, a few years, or are just transferring to us from other schools. I work to provide opportunities whenever possible for students to offer up what they may already know or remember about a topic, and use them as leaders in the classroom.”

Samantha has worked to change the school’s math curriculum and course offerings and 100% of her students have passed the Algebra ECA. She also mentors first year corps members in the region, helping them make an impact in their classrooms.