A student of hers has been published in a poetry analogy by Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS). She suspects another student of hers could be published in the upcoming CEEAS short story publication.
“They taught me I need to check in and know their background and we’re they’re coming from,” Willis said.
The key for Willis is developing a relationship with her students. Respect has been instrumental to building relationships as well as “meaning what you say when you say it.”
The selection committee members for naming Indiana Educator of the Year noted that the most challenging students in Indiana pass through Willis’ classroom doors. She remains effective in delivering quality education, according to a press release from the committee.
Many people who know Willis praise her. Harold House, an Indianapolis educator and former municipal judge, said Willis has conducted training for other correctional professionals throughout the state.
“She stands less than five feet tall yet deals with the toughest kids in Indiana,” House said. “She is extremely effective and they love her.”
Willis mentioned how thankful she was for the supervision at the facility.
“You never win an award by yourself. The staff and teachers are very supportive,” Willis said.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her: @PharosAES.