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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Erin Hansen, a teacher at Towles Montessori School, works with first-graders Wednesday on problem-solving concepts. She has taught for 8 years and loves students' aha moments.

Education Notebook

Erin Hansen

School: Towles Montessori, Fort Wayne Community Schools

Grade teaching: First through third grades

Education: Bachelor's in education from Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky.

Years teaching: Eight

City born: Lima, Ohio

Current hometown: Fort Wayne

Family: Married to Dirk Hansen for 11 years. We have two children, Braylon, who is six, and Juliana, who is three.

Last book read: "World War Z" by Max Brooks

Favorite teacher(s): Jon Carver, Dr. Ray Olien, and Kelley Anderson

Favorite class in school: Art

Favorite teaching memory: While teaching about the weather, I pulled up a video of a tornado just as it was touching down. One of my students had an aha moment in the middle of the video and exclaimed, "Wait! So you are telling me that a tornado is made of wind and that it is brown because of the dirt it picks up!" Excited, I said he was exactly right. That was a great moment – seeing the aha happen – and it's what this job is all about.

What's a concept you've learned during a professional development activity that you use in the classroom? That a little song can go a long way. Kids like to sing, most of the time. I try to include a little song or chant, if I can, to help reinforce a concept that I am trying to teach. I try to make things fun.

What advice would you give to your students as they plan for their future? I tell them that they are all here for a reason and that our world wouldn't be the same without them. They are here to do an important job, they may not know what that job is yet, but when they find it, they will be amazing at it, so they have to stay focused even when things get hard.

Nominated by: Ryan and Emily Keirns, parents

Reason for nomination: "Not only is Mrs. Hansen an organized, creative teacher, but she does a great job of challenging our son, Foster, to learn as much as he can. Beyond the classroom, she exhibits her commitment to health and service to others by coaching the cross-country team and running a marathon herself while raising money for a cause. She also leads the school's annual blood drive and volunteers as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army along with her students. We are fortunate that our son has had her as a teacher and role model for three years."


•OrthoWorks and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation recently announced plans to support Project Lead The Way's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum in kindergarten through 12th grade in all Kosciusko County Schools. Funding could total as much as $275,000 over a three-year period, depending on how many schools participate.

• The Indiana Department of Education recently awarded a $175,000 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant to East Allen Family Resource Center, also known as LEARN Resource Center. The grant will fund academic enrichment programs in year round out-of-school programs for students at New Haven Primary and New Haven Intermediate Schools. The grant was submitted in cooperation with East Allen County Schools. Other local winners include $200,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington County; $300,000 to North Adams Community Schools and $250,000 to the Steuben County Literacy Coalition.

•Incoming Huntington University freshmen have been awarded the Horizon Leadership Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. Local students include Allison Amstutz of Berne, Hannah Priskorn of Auburn and Leah Ness of Huntington.

•Indiana INTERNnet received a $600,000 grant from Lilly Endowment to help with the service of helping Hoosier students and employers connect. Businesses and students interested in more information about the program can visit or call 317-264-6862.

Saint Francis

•The University of Saint Francis will host its 38th annual School of Creative Arts Student Exhibition and awards ceremony, with an opening reception Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Weatherhead Gallery, Rolland Center for Art and Visual Communication. Awards will be presented at 7:30 p.m.

•CANCELED: Sister Anita Holzer will present "St. Francis/Pope Francis: Don't Forget the Poor" at 1 p.m. April 10 in the University of Saint Francis' Brookside Ballroom.

•High school and college students and their parents are invited to attend Spring Campus Visit Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 12. To sign up, go online to or for more information, call the Office of Admissions at 399-8000 or 800-729-4732.

•The University of Saint Francis Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner program has been awarded the maximum of 10 years re-accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Dr. Karen Monique Gregg, a sociology professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Saint Francis, has been awarded the Indiana Campus Compact grant for Service Engagement through the Lilly Endowment.

Indiana Tech

Cheryl Brown Henderson, plaintiff in a historic Supreme Court decision, will be Indiana Tech Law School's inaugural distinguished lecturer at 5:30 p.m. April 8 at the Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd.

•Students interested in enrolling at Indiana Tech in fall 2014 are invited to a Warrior Preview Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. To register, visit or call the admissions office at 422-5561 or 800-937-2448, ext. 3103.

Do you have a favorite teacher who you'd like to see featured in The Journal Gazette? Send us nominations for your favorite teacher with the following information: the teacher's name, school, school district and grade/subject taught, your name, phone number and the reason for your nomination. Education Notebook listings appear on Mondays. To submit an item or teacher nomination, send a typed release from the school or organization to The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.