2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year — RPCV TARA COCANOWER (Romania)


Tara Cocanower (Romania 2008-10)


Tara Cocanower, a world history teacher at Bluffton High School, has been named the 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year.

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced on Wednesday that the 2023 Indiana Teacher of the Year has officially been named.

IDOE says the honor has been awarded to Tara Cocanower, a world history and AP U.S. history teacher from Bluffton High School. Cocanower was named a top three finalist on Sept 26, along with Jason Beer of Homestead High School and Joshua DeBard of Lebanon High School.

For many educators, becoming a teacher is a calling to serve others and make a positive impact on the world, one student at a time, and Mrs. Tara Cocanower is the embodiment of someone who was truly meant to be a teacher.

When you see the way she connects with her students, it is clear to those around her that in addition to maximizing student learning, she is positively impacting lives and preparing her students to do the same. By believing in her students and being a trusted mentor, she is empowering the next generation of leaders and, as she calls them, world changers.

Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education.


Cocanower, a teacher for the past 11 years, also served two years in the Peace Corps (Romania 2008-10.) She has also taken on other leadership roles in her community, from organizing a junior golf league and youth track meets to leading a youth ministry in Bluffton, Indiana.

IDOE says the Indiana Teacher of the Year’s mission is to inspire, rejuvenate, and celebrate the teaching profession by recognizing outstanding teachers across the state. The program encourages schools to nominate their local Teachers of the Year for this statewide honor.


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