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IE alumna named as Indiana Teacher of the Year

Photo of Tamara Markey
McKenzie Center for Innovation & Technology pre-engineering teacher Tamara Markey smiles as she is named the 2019 Indiana Department of Education Teacher of the Year.
Photo of Tamara Markey & family
Photo of Tamara Markey & family.
Husband Maurice Markey (r) is also a Purdue IE grad (BSIE 1989).
(Photos: Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar)
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) named a Purdue IE alumna as the 2019 Indiana Teacher of the Year.

Tamara Markey (BSIE 1994), an engineering teacher at the McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology (MCIT) in Lawrence Township (Indianapolis), learned of the honor at a surprise ceremony on Oct. 4, 2018.

Markey credits her industrial engineering background and teaching training with helping her pursue her dream of teaching high school engineering.

Prior to teaching, Markey was an engineer with Amoco Oil and BP Pipelines. She began her teaching career at Lawrence Township's Fall Creek Valley Middle School, then moved to MCIT in 2015. Alongside teaching, she serves as a member of the District's Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics Coalition Task Force; a faculty advisory for the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Mentoring Program; and a member of the Graduation Pathways committee. In addition, Markey is a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow and a Project Lead the Way Instructor. As the 2019 Teacher of the Year, Tamara Markey will represent Indiana in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Markey said her high school guidance counselor encouraged her to pursue engineering because of her talent in STEM subjects. "My counselor said 'you're good at math, you're good at science, you’re black, a female... you have to be an engineer'," she said. "It was off to Purdue University to be an engineer."

"I chose to study Industrial Engineering in undergrad because it offered me the most flexibility in combining a technical degree with my interest in management," Markey said. "While desiring an engineering degree, I knew that I wanted a discipline with a 'people' focus. The IE discipline allowed me to take classes in organizational behavior, which later positioned me to explore engineering/business career opportunities."

Markey said she always desired to be an educator. While at Purdue, she tutored calculus through the Minority Engineering Program and "loved every minute of it". Later she investigated different programs that were geared at transitioning professionals from their field of work to teaching. Then she learned about the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and applied, intending to pursue a Master's in education with a mathematics focus.

"When I learned about engineering education at the high school level, I knew that I had found the perfect fit," she remembered.

"My Industrial Engineering degree gives me classroom credibility," she explained. "I am able to draw upon my professional and personal engineering experiences. I remember sitting in Purdue's Freshman Engineering classes like it was yesterday - I remember feeling ill-prepared and scared to fail. Those memories shape my lesson plans, instructional approach, and growth mindset."

Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, said, “Tamara's story of bringing real-world engineering experience to the classroom only helps to better position the students that walk through her door. I am pleased to present this award to Tamara and I know she will continue to represent her profession, and our fellow teachers, well.”
 
"Embrace every opportunity afforded to you," Markey advised current IE students. "You never know where those opportunities will take you. Be present, develop a love for learning, and prepare to share your learnings, gifts and talents with others."
 
Watch the IDOE Video
 
IN DOE Teacher of the Year: For over 60 years, IDOE has conducted the Indiana Teacher of the Year program to recognize outstanding classroom teachers from across the state. One person, in accordance with National Teacher of the Year guidelines, is chosen to represent Indiana teachers at the national level. Finalists are chosen from a pool of applicants and the screening and selection committee is made up of former recipients, IDOE staff, educational organization leaders, business and community leaders, and representatives from higher education. The program’s mission is to inspire, rejuvenate, and celebrate the teaching profession. Former winners are comprised of retired educators, administrators, college professors, and teacher leaders that continually provide support to the education community.
 
The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into teaching in high-need secondary schools.
 
Project Lead the Way's mission to create a transformative learning environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. 
 
Writer: DeEtte Starr, starrd@purdue.edu

Related Link: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2018/10/04/indiana-teacher-year-indianapolis-teacher-takes-top-honor/1513315002/