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National hall of fame teacher plans to pay it forward

Read an excerpt from the Advocate article on ISTA member and National Hall of Fame Teacher, Joe Ruhl. To read the article in full, watch your mailbox for your copy of the Advocate magazine.

Joe Ruhl is only the sixth Hoosier teacher inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Now entering his 40th year teaching, Ruhl says this honor and the experiences connected with the hall of fame induction have inspired and renewed an interest in mentoring new educators. 

Following the nomination and selection, Ruhl traveled to Emporia, Kan., home of the National Teachers Hall of Fame on the Emporia State University campus, for the induction ceremony. He and four other teacher inductees spent the week in Emporia - fondly dubbed "Teacher Town" - where they were welcomed with signs and photos in storefronts, visited the Teachers Hall of Fame museum, participated in radio interviews and spoke at an education roundtable. 

"I felt honored and humbled," said Ruhl. "There are lots of people who I know - if I were to be honest - are just as worthy, if not more worthy than I am." 

Ruhl was quick to add the induction is not only a reflection on his teaching, but the quality of the profession in Indiana and the high-level of professionalism of ISTA members. 

Reflecting on the excitement and numerous opportunities since his nomination, Ruhl has committed to championing mentorship for new educators. 

"I've been blessed with a long teaching career, and I need to be more intentional about reaching out to new, young teachers who are getting started," said Ruhl. "I think those first three years are critical. They come in with excellent training in pedagogy - emotional support and encouragement is what's really needed. They're not alone." 

He hopes to start conversations back in his school and local. Ruhl likened the Association to a "lifeline." He wants to demonstrate the value and support a new educator can receive by joining and actively engaging in the Association. 

For more information on the National Teachers Hall of Fame, visit