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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Public Schools announced its Teacher of the Year, choosing a middle school math teacher at Center for Inquiry School 70.

Alexandria Stewart has been a teacher for five years and joined the district in 2016. Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee surprised Stewart in her math class and then escorted her to the gym for a school-wide celebration.

Stewart has helped implement the middle school program at CFI 70 and worked with school administrators to create class schedules, expectations for students and an advisory program.

She is cognizant of the effects of school discipline on low student achievement and has advocated additional training for teachers on how to effectively handle students’ mental health issues.

“Teachers are often the most influential adults in a child’s life and are in a good position to effect positive changes in a child’s behavior,” she said. “Training outside of school ensures that teachers are able to create a supportive environment in which struggling students learn coping strategies, feel safe and are motivated to work towards long-term changes.”

Volunteerism is also a big part of Stewart’s life. She volunteers with TeenWorks and Indy Urban Acres, two organizations focused on preparing students from low-income families for college and the workforce.

“My greatest accomplishments center around building strong relationships and providing students I teach in the classroom and mentor through the summer with the tools they need to form emotional and intellectual attitudes such as empathy and problem-solving,” Stewart said. “With these skills, students are better prepared to meet and respond to life’s challenges.”

To select IPS’ teacher of the year, each principal was invited to nominate their building’s top educator. A selection committee then reviews the candidates’ portfolios and makes the final determination.