The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 17, 2022 1:00 am

Teacher Honor Roll / Education Notebook

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

A Northwest Allen County Schools educator who has a gift for teaching has been nominated for Teacher Honor Roll. His profile follows.

Jim Walker, National Board certified teacher

School: Carroll High School

Subject teaching: Environmental science

Education: Bachelor's degree from Manchester University, master's degree from IPFW

Years teaching: 21

City born and current hometown: Fort Wayne

Family: My wife and I have been blessed with five amazing children.

Book you'd recommend: “Unbowed” by Wangari Maathai or “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss

Favorite teachers: David Hicks, former biology professor at Manchester, and Tom Wanning, former science teacher at Homestead High School

Favorite teaching memory: I get to remake it every year when I take my Advanced Placement environmental science classes on a daylong field experience to the Indiana Dunes State and National parks. We complete four programs led by either park naturalists or an Audubon ornithologist. We also complete the “3DC” – Three Dune Challenge – and visit the national park visitor center. This is typically the last field trip high school students take, so I try to make it as memorable as possible while also teaching valuable lessons in ecology, resource management and sense of community. It's like a one-day ecotour that helps them better understand the value of our parks.

Hobbies: Gaming – I am a big gamer, all types, especially strategy. Gamer for life! Outdoor activities – camping, gardening, landscaping, hiking, exploring. Family trips – making great memories. Facilitating an annual ecotour adventure to Costa Rica. Fantasy football. Building a great NACS community.

Interesting fact about yourself: I learned many life lessons from He-Man growing up. The original He-Man series always had a “teaching moment” after each episode. I still have all my He-Man figures from when I was a kid, and my own children loved playing with them as well.

What advice would you give to your students as they plan for their future?

• Blend your hobbies with skills you possess to determine a career path to pursue. This way, going to work will be like pursuing your hobby.

• Always appreciate what you have in life rather than dwelling on what you don't have. If you focus on what you don't have, you will always want more. It's only when you can appreciate what you do have that you can attain a state of satisfaction.

• Make this world a better place because you are part of it. Self-interest can cause community problems and may lead to loneliness. Seek to build your community, always love yourself, and care about each other. Be happy.

Recommended separately by parents Chris Newmark and Tiffany Smith

Reason for recommendation: “Some people have a gift for teaching, and Jim is one of those people. He is not just knowledgeable about the subject matter but the way he presents it to his students is engaging, hands on and with an interactive approach. Mr. Walker teaches the subject matter very thoroughly but also rigorously. He encourages critical thinking of his students and even though he expects a lot of his students, he is also very approachable and always is willing to help students achieve success. You can tell he truly loves what he does and cares about his students.” – Newmark

“Jim is very creative in the ways that he engages his students and his passion for the environment is evident. He works to instill that same respect for the environment in his students through field trips and projects that really grab his students' attention and offer them opportunities to learn from each other.” – Smith 


• Pathfinder Kids Kampus of Huntington received a $289,488 Build, Learn, Grow stabilization grant from the state and has invested that money into employee raises. Funds will be used to offset one calendar year of a $2.06 per hour wage increase. The wage scale will start at $15 per hour and scale up based on certification and a college degree. Substitutes will begin at $12.50 per hour for non-certified employees. The grant was part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.


• W. Thomas Smith, professor and dean of pharmacy and graduate life sciences at Manchester University, has been elected to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Council of Deans for three years: as chair-elect starting in July, chair and immediate past chair. The council consists of deans of more than 140 colleges and schools of pharmacy in the nation, as well as assistant and associate deans in pharmacy. Smith will also represent the council on the AACP Board of directors for the three years.

Saint Francis

• As part of a rebranding project, Fort Financial Credit Union partnered with a University of Saint Francis graphic design class to create a new, branded suite of designs for the credit union's debit and credit cards. Fort Financial implemented designs created by Katie Slick of Fort Wayne. Slick graduated from Saint Francis in May. Fort Financial members began seeing the new designs on their debit and credit cards last month.


• The Terra Brantley Foundation announced Brooke Swaidner of Huntington North High School received the Smart Girls Scholarship. This $15,000 scholarship is awarded to female students in good academic standing and who participate in or are graduates of the Boys and Girls Clubs Smart Girls program. Swaidner is involved in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington County.


• Under a partnership with Trine University, DeKalb County Eastern Community School District can now provide employees with more professional development options and easier access to degree programs. DeKalb Eastern employees in all departments will receive the benefits given to all TrineOnline students, including free application for enrollment and unofficial transfer credit evaluation. Trine also is working with DeKalb to develop additional pathways for professional development for all its employees, allowing more coworkers to advance into teaching positions. Go to for information on educational partnership opportunities with Trine.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.

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