by Jason M. Rodriguez
— Andrew Bever grew up on a sheep farm in Forest, about 40 miles south of Logansport, with a mind that looked at the world more deeply than what’s on the surface.
“It’s not just a world we live in,” said the Logansport High School physics teacher. “It’s a wonderfully magical place that’s full of a bunch of crazy stuff.”
Bever is a 2008 graduate of DePauw University and is working on his master’s degree in education from Purdue University.
He teaches at LHS on a Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship, which is awarded to those with science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds who are interested in teaching at a low-income school system.
Bever said that’s part of the reason he took the fellowship.
“The kind of people that I get along with the best are the ones who are at that low- to middle-income level,” he said. “Those with lower income seem to treat people more equally... I understand that kind of thinking.”
Participating schools include Ball State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, University of Indianapolis and Purdue.
There is a $30,000 stipend that goes with the fellowship, which helps pay for schooling, board and more.
There’s a selective process that goes with the fellowship, said John Hill, clinical professor in the department of education studies at Purdue.
At first, senior-level or master’s students interview with the fellowship board, and then if chosen, they decide where they will teach.
Hill said the fellowship is for particularly intelligent people. He said Bever fits the bill.
“Andrew’s really bright, and he’s creative,” Hill said. “You’ll find, at least in my dealings with him, he knows how to relate to students real well. He’s just got so much potential.”
Fellows of the program commit to a three-year agreement at the school. During those three years, Purdue assists the fellows with a generalist coach in teaching and a content area specialist and get the fellows set up on a personal improvement program. Hill said that part of the fellowship helps retain quality teachers.
“If a person gets into teaching without the proper support, many of them leave the profession within the first three years,” Hill said. “We have a real strong reputation for our science program. One of the things we look at is what can we do as a university to help prepare high school students at a higher level than how they are entering college currently, and this fellowship helps us do that.”
LHS Principal Matt Jones said the fellowship helped the high school fill a sometimes tough void.
“The fellowship really does provide a deeper pool of candidates for those in science and math,” Jones said. “It can be a challenge to find teachers in those fields.”
Bever said his experience so far has been a great blend of teaching his passion and working with students who are eager to learn.
“I can’t complain. It’s been wonderful,” he said. “I really enjoy the people here.”
• Jason M. Rodriguez is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.