Since 1985, Vickie Parker has shared her teaching gift with students in speech, English and theater. And the positive energy she brings to school each day is one of the reasons GHS Principal Jim Church said he nominated her for the award.
"Whether it's at-risk freshman or an advanced placement student, every single kid she has lover her because she teaches them with dignity and respect," Church said. "I've never seen anyone like her."
Parker began her teaching career in Cloverdale in 1972, after graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in speech communication, theater and English. She went on to earn her master's degree in teaching from DePauw University, and by 1985, she was teaching at GHS.
An active participant in the Putnam County Playhouse, she is well-known at GHS for staging theatre productions that keep students excited in drama. But lately she has added her leadership in establishing the "Connections" class for at-risk incoming freshman that might not seen any relevance in education.
"It is my dream that the class does not just save these students from failure," Parker writes in an essay on her career, "but also gives them the courage to become more involved in their high school educational experience."
Church commends her efforts in getting the average students as much attention in the classroom as the special needs or gifted students.
"I am a cheerleader for the at-risk middle-of-the-road students," Parker states. "That's where my heart and efforts lie. My advanced placement students will learn in spite of me. My special needs studens will get the extra help they deserve and need. I want to step up for our students who can, but don't succeed."
Parkers efforts are felt throughout the high school. She heads the school improvement team, has developed a weekly calendar for teacher collaboration, supervises student teachers, mentors first-year teachers and those working on their own masters' degrees, and is chairman of the English Department.
Her efforts have been recognized in the past â€" as the 2000 Wal-Mart Teacher of the year, and as past Outstanding Teacher named by students in the top 10 percent of the class. Her peers also recognize her talent, voting her the 2005 GHS Teacher of the Year.
Church said when he received the outline of criteria for the state teacher of the year program, Parker came instantly to mind as the Greencastle school district's nominee for the honor. Superintendent Robert Green added his support to the nomination. And Greencastle Mayor Nancy Michael also submitted a letter of recommendation for Parker.
In defining a teacher, Church said Parker has every part of what it takes to educate young people. The fact that she was not selected as "the" teacher of the year by the state may be disappointing, but it is also encouraging.
"If she's a semifinalist," Church said, "whoever won must be straight from heaven. That person must be quite something, because Vickie surely is."