2019 CEA Region 3 Teacher of the Year Finalists
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Chris DeHart- Indiana
US History Teacher
Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility
Indiana Department of Corrections
A year following graduation, I worked as migrant education liaison and substitute teacher. I considered returning to college to attain an elementary education license, but shortly thereafter, I was approached about a teaching position at Providence Jr./Sr. High School. At the time, I didn’t know there was a juvenile prison less than 30 minutes from my home. In September of 2019, I will be celebrating 13 years of teaching there and couldn't be more fulfilled. My career has come with some uncertainties. I remember walking to my car after my first week in the classroom thinking, "what the hell am I doing here?" A year later, my passion and vision for teaching would start to take shape after the hiring of a “new” English teacher.
I strive to create a learning environment that mirrors that of a traditional school. From the moment students walk into my classroom, they are not offenders, criminals or social outcasts, but rather scholars. Through the use of collaboration, best practices, and an inquiry instruction model instruction, students are immersed in curriculum rich in primary sources.
Recently, I was named both 2019-2020 Armstrong Educator and an Armstrong Teacher-in-Residence through Indiana University. I will serve with 10 other teachers as part of an educator panel to work with current college students pursuing a career in teaching.
On a personal note, I just recently celebrated 10 years of marriage to that “new” English teacher. Together, we share three children. In my free time, I referee soccer at the high school and collegiate levels and enjoy cooking.
Belmont Correctional Institution,
Ohio Department of Correction & Rehabilitation
Throughout my youth, countless people reached into my life to make a difference. The Boys and Girls Club taught me how to live, the church taught me why to live, education made it possible to live, and a family that gave me life. Paying forward all the effort and care has been my goal. Consequently, I have 8 years’ experience working for the Boys and Girls Club, 25 years in ministry and 25 years as an Educator. The question I ask is, “How can I help!”
As an Executive of the Massillon Boys and Girls Club, I helped by creating new programs benefitting new members and the community. As a minister, I served churches and communities by creating and supporting food banks, clothing banks and community services. I worked as chaplain and program director at camps. I presently hold services and concerts for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I play in my church’s praise team.
As an educator, beyond the classroom I helped by coaching, advising classes, assisting with bands and choirs, and serving on building and district leadership teams. As an OCSS Teacher, as instructed by Principal Kent Litzenberger, I created a Title I Program that helps to motivate student learners to come to class, work hard and be successful. I have shared the materials with my colleagues at BeCI, Title I Teachers in OCSS, and other educators at my sessions at 3 CEA-O conferences. I created a Beekeeping Program at BeCI, and am a member of the Crisis Intervention Team.
I am constantly trying to show my four wonderful children, two sons-in law and three Grandchildren, that I love and support them. They have chosen to pay it forward too. For this I am Grateful.