A teacher’s impact

May 10th, 2017

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week 2017, Nextech asked tech leaders, educators and other members of our family to share which educator inspired them to become the person they are. Read on and be prepared to be inspired yourself.

Kristian Andersen – Partner, High Alpha

“When I was very young, I studied under a painting instructor for several years named Jackie Guerin. Mrs. Guerin played a pivotal role in encouraging, shaping, and directing my creativity. She instilled in me a deep appreciation for the humanities and sowed the seeds for my career in design and entrepreneurship.”

Scott Dorsey – Co-Founder & Managing Partner, High Alpha

“Professor Tony Paoni (Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern) brought me and my classmates to Silicon Valley to study their booming tech ecosystem.  I fell in love with the innovation, creativity and speed of business – and knew that I wanted to be a software entrepreneur from that day forward.”  

Dr. Lewis Ferebee – Superintendent, Indianapolis Public Schools

“My high school calculus teacher was preparing my classmates and me for much more than math assessments. Mrs. Cunningham’s math class was driven by peer learning and life lessons. She taught us, “To teach is to learn.” A significant portion of our class time was solely students demonstrating for other students how they learned to solve equations. The goal was for everyone to master the concepts. It’s in this class that I grew closer to my calling of becoming an educator and will never forget Mrs. Cunningham’s advice, “you should consider becoming a teacher. You have the patience and spirit.” It is my hope that our classrooms today promote peer learning because our young people often learn the most and best from each other.”

Joni Markle – Operations Associate, Nextech

“My 6th grade teacher Mrs. Fust was always reminding us girls that we could be anything or do anything we wanted to do in life.   We did not need to be concerned about traditional male/female careers.”

Susan Marshall – Founding Partner & CEO, Torchlite

“I’ll never forget my high school math teacher, Mrs. McCarthy (Brebeuf Jesuit High School). We affectionately called her “Sarge.”  She encouraged us all to push ourselves outside our comfort zone, taught us rigor and discipline and gave out a lot of hugs.”  

John Qualls – President, Eleven Fifty Academy

“In high school, I was basically lost and wasn’t confident on what my future could look like. Mr. Marthin was my electronics teacher in the vocational school. He believed in me before I believed in me. He has since passed away, but I had the opportunity to run in to him at the grocery store and tell him how influential he was on my success. What made the moment so special was to have my high school son with me when I told him. I wanted my son to learn the value of a teacher and how important they are on your future.”

Bill Soards – President, AT&T Indiana

“No two teachers made a bigger impression on my career path and passion for technology than John King and Rob Hendrix from the J. Everett Light Career Center in Indianapolis.  As a student at North Central High School, Mr. King and Mr. Hendrix inspired and empowered me to think creatively about the use of technology.  They gave me the foundational knowledge of electronic communications that has led me to become an advocate for advancing tech in Indiana and a lifelong learner in an ever-changing industry.”

Tiffany Trusty – President, Trusty Applications / Senior Tech Advisor, Eleven Fifty Academy

“In 1993, I was a senior in high school. We had no computer classes and only 2 PCs in our entire school that sat quietly unused in the back of the library. One day, I saw computer programming books in Mr. Swagharth’s closet and I said, “Can you teach me?!”.  He created an Independent Study class for us and quickly became my greatest supporter / influencer / cheerleader and fueled my spark for engineering.  When I told him I was applying to Rose-Hulman, he said, “I want an invitation to graduation” and 4 years later, he was there!  His support and belief in me was matched only by my parents and I am eternally grateful to him.”

Stephanie Zircher – Senior Director of Operations, Nextech

“My 10th grade biology teacher Mr. Stalnaker showed me what a difference a teacher makes when he or she takes an active interest in a student’s overall wellbeing, not just their academic success.  I learned more than biology by working with Mr. Stalnaker. I learned empathy, interpersonal skills, and how an adult can truly make a difference in a kid’s life.”

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