Bonnie Fancher honored as ‘Indiana Teacher of the Year’


Switzerland County High School science teacher Bonnie Fancher has been honored as the “2010-2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year” by the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association. The award was presented at the association’s Small and Rural School Association Conference on Monday in Indianapolis.

The award was presented by Steve McColley, President of the Indiana SRSA, and Dr. John Hill, director of the National Rural Education Association and a professor at Purdue University. As part of the honor, Bonnie Fancher was also presented with a check for $1,000 from the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Accompanying Bonnie Fancher to the award ceremony was Switzerland County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elizabeth Jones; school board members Jim Phipps and Virgil McKay; and Shannon Phipps.

Representing Indiana, Bonnie Fancher has also been notified that she is the second runner up for the National Teacher of the Year by the National Rural Education Association. She was one of four finalists selected from the state winners from all 50 states.

She will be honored for that achievement at the National Rural Education Association’s conference, which will be held in Branson, Missouri on October 15th-17th.

Bonnie Fancher has been teaching at Switzerland County High School for 31 years, and currently teaches Advanced Placement environmental science, chemistry, chemistry II, and physics.

Outside of the classroom, she is the chairperson of the steering committee for the Indian Creek Watershed Project; and also participates in the watershed project as part of her classroom experiences for her students.

Her AP environmental science students serve as volunteer water quality monitors, doing water testing in the Ohio River and in other streams in the county.

“I would tell you that she is one of the most fantastic teachers that I’ve ever been around,” Switzerland County High School principal Dan Noel said. “What she does with kids, the water program and all of the extra things and the time that she puts in is unbelievable. She is here late at night and on weekends. She helps young teachers, and she’s available to anybody who needs her help, and student, any teacher, at any time.

“It makes me feel great to even be associated with her,” Principal Noel continued. “She’s just a great teacher. If I had kids in school, I’d want my kids to have her as a teacher.”

The National Rural Education Association was founded in 1907. It is the oldest established national organization of its kind in the United States. Through the years it has evolved as a strong and respected organization of rural school administrators, teachers, board members, regional service agency personnel, researchers, business and industry representatives, and others interested in maintaining the vitality of rural school systems across the county.