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ISTA Honors Educators

Educators awarded at ISTA Summer Conference.

The Indiana State Teachers Association honored public school educators during the annual ISTA Summer Conference, a professional learning and professional development conference. 

"The public-school educators honored today reflect the best in Indiana's public education," said ISTA President Teresa Meredith. "Each educator recognized plays a unique role in our schools to deliver a quality education to Hoosier kids." 


The N. Robert Montfort Communications Award recognizes the excellence in local association communications programs to support the United Education Profession in Indiana. The New Albany Floyd County Bus Drivers' Association received this year's award for local association with fewer than 100 members. 

Two ISTA members were honored with the J.D. Miller Young Activist Award. Amber Thomas (Miller), NEA-South Bend, earned the recognition following her participation in leadership trainings and skills implementation in her local. Bianka Tinklenberg, Plymouth Education Association, brought her perspective as a new educator to the ISTA Professional Practices & Standards Committee, which supports the development of effective teaching practices. Tinklenberg previously served as the Indiana Student Education Association president. 

Four ISTA members were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Cheryl Fenton is the president of the Seymour Education Association. She has served in various roles on the state level from an ISTA Foundation for the Improvement of Education board member and ISTA board member. Bruce Hall serves as the co-president for elementary and Greater Lafayette Special Services of Lafayette Education Association. His honor comes after years of member services, member recruitment and advocacy for public education on the state and local level. Mark Kessans retired from New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated Schools last fall. Kessans served his local and ISTA in various capacities demonstrating a long-term commitment to the improvement of public education. Kessans was also an ISTA Pacesetter honoree in 2016. Callie Marksbary is a teacher at Vinton Elementary in Lafayette School Corporation. As a former ISTA treasurer, Marksbary has been integral to the operations and growth of ISTA. Marksbary was also an ISTA Pacesetter honoree in 2010. 

The ESP of the Year Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an education support professional (ESP) on behalf of students. This year's honoree is Jack Mize. Mize is a school bus driver in Southwest School Corporation. He is a strong advocate for public schools and works with students with special needs, volunteers for the Special Olympics and mentors students in Future Farmers of America. 

John Comer and Cheryl Fenton received the Pacesetter Award. This award recognizes ISTA members who actively promote public education and protect the rights of members. Comer, a member of the Warren County Education Association, and Fenton, both serve, or served, on the ISTA board of directors and have made a significant impact on public education through advocacy in the Statehouse and communities.