Bluffton High School’s world history teacher, Tara Cocanower, has been named the 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year. With over 13 years of teaching experience, Cocanower is known for her engaging and dynamic teaching style that sparks curiosity and inspires her students to explore the world beyond their textbooks.
“I want them to know I see them as people who can make a difference in the world and be a change for good,” Cocanower said. “What’s the point in learning about the world if you’re not going to be an active participant in it?”
According to Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education, Cocanower is an exemplary teacher who embodies the qualities of a highly effective educator while also maintaining the necessary genuine authenticity to best connect her students with success. “When you see the way she connects with her students, it is clear to those around her that in addition to maximizing student learning, she is positively impacting lives and preparing her students to do the same,” Jenner said.
The world history educator’s commitment to her students and her love for teaching are qualities that have not gone unnoticed by those around her. Bluffton High School Principal Steve Baker said, “Tara Cocanower has three important qualities: a love for teaching, compassion for her students, and a desire to meet the needs of her students. A culture of leadership and effective instruction coupled with Tara’s compassion for her students is what sets her apart from the field.”
Cocanower’s influence on her students extends beyond the classroom. Bluffton-Harrison MSD superintendent Dr. Brad Yates, said he has witnessed her impact on his own children both in the classroom and on the golf course. “Her lasting impact on students continues to be a bright spot in our profession as she is a true representation of an excellent teacher,” Yates said.
As the 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year, Tara Cocanower will represent Indiana in the National Teacher of the Year program. Her dedication to her students and passion for teaching serve as an inspiration to educators everywhere.