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Carmel's teacher of the year is Todd Stewart of Clay Middle School

Todd Stewart, Clay Middle School social studies teacher, has been awarded the 2017 Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year for Carmel Clay Schools (CCS).

Stewart received the surprise announcement from Dr. Nicholas D. Wahl, Superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools and members of the Backer family, at a staff meeting at Clay Middle School on April 27, 2017. Stewart has been a social studies teacher at Clay Middle School since August 2005.

"It is an honor to recognize Todd, an incredible educator, who is a positive influence on students both in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Nicholas D. Wahl. “His commitment to student success is evident as he has developed a culture of learning for the students that are fortunate to call him their teacher.” “In addition, his ability to collaborate with students, parents and staff for the betterment of student learning make him a worthy recipient of the 2017 Carmel Clay Schools Teacher of the Year!”

One nomination described Stewart as an outstanding educator that influences even after the school bell rings. “Mr. Stewart simply has a gift for teaching middle school students and is always opening the minds of our children to the greater world around us. The way he incorporates his own personal stories and sense of humor into his curriculum creates an environment where students can develop passion for learning and are inspired to give back to make the world a better place.”

Stewart will now represent Carmel Clay Schools at the Indiana Teacher of the Year competition which will be held next fall.

Todd Crosby, Principal for Clay Middle School, was quick to congratulate Stewart. “In my 22 years of public education, Todd is one of the hardest working and dedicated teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with. The level of rapport he has with his students and colleagues alike is remarkable. His passion for teaching and his belief in focusing on the whole child—not just academically, but the social-emotional well-being of students makes him an outstanding and influential educator.”

Stewart received his Bachelor of Science in History and International Studies at Taylor University. Prior to being hired at Carmel Clay Schools, Stewart taught English at the WILS Language Institute in Seoul, South Korea. Currently, Stewart is a new teacher mentor and a participant in the CCS Cadet Teaching Program, helping guide current Carmel High School students as they consider teaching as a profession. He also serves as the Clay Middle School football coach and assistant track coach. Outside the classroom, he enjoys being a youth leader at Northview Church and spending time outdoors hunting and fishing.

Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year nominations are made by students, parents, and colleagues each spring. A selection committee consisting of teachers and administrators thoroughly reviews the nominations, conducts interviews with both the candidate’s principal and nominator, and then selects a recipient in April. The CCS Teacher of the Year is endowed by the Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year Award through the Carmel Education Foundation. This award was created in memory of Mr. Backer, who served on the CCS Board of Trustees from 1994 to 1998 and from 2006 until his passing in March of 2009. Mr. Backer held the position of school board president for five of those years and is remembered as an advocate and supporter of the Carmel Clay Schools. Donations in support of the award can be made through the Carmel Education Foundation at

To read about previous CCS Teacher of the Year winners, please visit the Carmel Clay School website at

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