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10 IPS finalists could earn one of four $25,000 teaching prizes

Hubbard Life-Changing Teacher Award winners Tina Ahren, Deb Wolinsky, Rhonda Pierre and Cynthia Hartshorn at last year's awards dinner.
Hubbard Life-Changing Teacher Award winners Tina Ahren, Deb Wolinsky, Rhonda Pierre and Cynthia Hartshorn at last year's awards dinner.
Scott Elliott

Ten Indianapolis Public Schools teachers have the chance to win $25,000 for their work in the classroom and their efforts to help their students improve their lives.

The finalists for the Hubbard Life-Changing Teacher Award were picked from 161 applicants. Four will win the top prize, and the remaining six will receive $1,000 each at the awards dinner on May 27 at the Eiteljorg Museum.

The finalists are:

  • Dave Davies, Emma Donnan Middle School
  • Laura DeHart, School 107
  • Ann Mennonno, School 27
  • Donna Pope-Green, Northwest High School
  • Apple Quick, Project SITE
  • Melissa Scherle, School 14
  • Marleen Signer, McFarland School
  • Roslyn Stradford, Shortridge High School
  • Angela Tipton, Key Learning Community School
  • Doris Young, Broad Ripple High School

The awards are the brainchild of Al and Kathy Hubbard, Indianapolis philanthropists and supporters of education causes. They were moved to find a way to honor Indianapolis Public Schools teachers after reading a newspaper column about an inspiring IPS teacher, Jamie Kalb, who who helped turn around the life of one her most troubled students. She was the first winner.

The Hubbards then set out to find and honor more teachers like Kalb with what they intend to be annual awards they have pledged to support financially for at least three years. Working with the United Way and their family foundation, they select reviewers who choose the finalists.

Tina Ahlgren, Cynthia Hartshorn, Rhonda Pierre and Deb Wolinsky won the award in 2014.

“We are thrilled to honor 10 phenomenal educators,” said Al Hubbard, who is the chairman of E & A Companies, an Indianapolis-based business. “These teachers have a tremendous impact on the lives of their students and represent the best of what we hope for in the classroom today.”

The selection panel considered how the teachers teach in the classroom as well as how they affect their students’ lives outside of it. The panel looked at videos of teachers in the classroom and held separate interviews with nominees.

“Thanks to the Hubbards, we are able to give these peak performing educators the respect and recognition they so richly deserve.” United Way CEO Ann Murtlow said in a statement.

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