FWCS teacher finalist for state teacher of the year - August 22, 2008
Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher Denise Oaks is one of 10 finalists selected for Indiana's Teacher of the Year honor. Oaks is an instructional interventionist at Lakeside Middle School, a position she moved into this year. As an interventionist she works with teachers to help them refine their methods and become better teachers. Oaks has been teaching in Fort Wayne Community Schools for 14 years and before taking on her current position, she was an eighth-grade language arts and reading teacher at Lakeside. This is the third consecutive year an FWCS teacher has been a finalist for the state award. In 2006, Northwood Middle School Teacher Todd Roberts was the runner-up for the top award. Last year, Waynedale Elementary Teacher Alanna Oatts was a top 10 finalist. What sets Oaks apart is her ability to develop relationships with her students and their families. She sees a story in everyone she meets. By learning another person's story, it helps to understand that person and find out what motivates or discourages them. Knowing that makes her a better teacher. As she learns about her students, Oaks has been able to reach even those who didn't want to be reached. Her strategy isn't easy, but it's been successful. I never have a day where I don't give it my all, Oaks said. I'm in it for the kids. Oaks interviews for the state honor Sept. 2 and will find out later in September if she is the state's winner.