Finding common ground: Center Grove honors educator

A Center Grove Middle School Central science teacher is known for making extra time for her students.

And it’s why Andrea McCoy won the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year award for the district.

“She is a selfless professional who wants every student she teaches to reach the highest potential. She works hard to learn new strategies for instruction so that she can reach every student,” said Craig Smith, principal of Center Grove Middle School Central.

McCoy is known for working extra hours to tutor students or coaching middle school cheerleaders after school. She even goes the extra mile in finding common interests with her students, Smith said. For example, she founded a “Survivor” club that watches episodes of the TV show “Survivor” together.

“I always say that when the kids leave, I want them to love science and to be curious to learn more. I feel there are a couple approaches to that. I try to make my classroom an inviting place to be and a supportive place, and I try to do demonstrations and hands-on activities,” McCoy said.

A recent lesson on chemical reactions in a chemistry unit was fun for her students. Students always like to see unexpected color or temperature changes, she said.

“Those reactions always intrigue their curiosity,” she said.

McCoy started out on a different career path. She started out studying chemistry and then business at Indiana University. She was a teaching assistant and discovered she really loved it.

After doing internships in another field, she decided she didn’t like spending her workday in a cubicle.

“I was looking to do something else. I did a transition to teaching program at the University of Indianapolis,” she said, which felt like a natural fit.

After substitute teaching at an elementary school, she decided her calling was teaching young teens in middle school.

“I knew elementary school was not for me,” she joked. “(Teaching at this level), it is a good opportunity to influence and make them feel as supported as they should at this age. They’re a lot of fun.”

“I think I just innately love to learn new things, so I always tell my students, ‘If I’m bored, you’re bored.’ I have to do something different and new. That’s a lot of my motivation in what I do in the classroom.”

Center Grove teacher of the year

Name: Andrea McCoy

Age: 30

Subject: Eighth grade science

Residence: Center Grove area

Length of service: McCoy has been teaching for six years.

How she was picked: A committee from Franklin College evaluates nominees from each district building. She will represent Center Grove in the Indiana Teacher of the Year competition

Award: McCoy will get a $1,000 grant to spend on her classroom.

Author photo
Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2712.