Amanda Dillon Named 2019 Teacher of the Year for Carmel Clay Schools

Amanda Dillon, Kindergarten Teacher at Prairie Trace Elementary, has been awarded the 2019 Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year for Carmel Clay Schools (CCS). 

Dillon received the surprise announcement at a banquet celebration that recognized 25 CCS Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalists. Dillon will now represent Carmel Clay Schools at the Indiana Teacher of the Year competition which will be held in the fall. 

An educator of 27 years, Dillon began her career at Carmel Clay Schools in 1992 as a Fourth Grade Teacher at Forest Dale Elementary. In 1998 she joined Prairie Trace Elementary as a first grade teacher and began teaching kindergarten in 2008. Dillon earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Purdue University and her Masters of Education from Indiana Wesleyan.

One nomination described Dillon as a dedicated educator who is caring and kind.  “Mrs. Dillon is a master teacher for Carmel Clay Schools and dedicates 110% to her students, parents and colleagues,” the nomination read. “Throughout the years, Prairie Trace has endured many changes although one thing has stayed the same and that is Mrs. Dillon’s ‘Bearsville’ classroom which continues to provide a solid foundation of community and love! Her passion, leadership and her belief that every student can be successful does not go unnoticed.” 

For students and her colleagues, Dillon’s classroom is better known as “Bearsville,” a name that was conceived from her very large collection of teddy bears and bear themed decorations. The name “Bearsville” has now evolved to represent a safe learning environment and community where students are encouraged to lead with kindness.

Prairie Trace Elementary Principal Jill Schipp was honored to recognize Dillon.  “In my time as an administrator and as a teacher, I have honestly never witnessed anything like the magic that is created in Amanda Dillon’s classroom each and every day. Motivating kids is her area of expertise and she incorporates different novelty incentives and interactive adventures throughout the year. Our school culture is more collaborative and supportive because of Amanda Dillon’s influence. Amanda is dynamic in her creativity, relentless in her pursuit for every child to be successful, and proactive about adding new knowledge to her repertoire.”

Dr. Michael Beresford, Superintendent of Schools, extended his congratulations to Dillon on earning the achievement. “It’s so important for our youngest learners to be engaged in activities that instill a love of learning.” Beresford said. “Mrs. Dillon’s class epitomizes those qualities we want all of our students to experience: to be known and loved, to be challenged appropriately, and to be kind and caring toward others. We are fortunate to have a teacher the caliber of Mrs. Dillon serving the students and families of Prairie Trace Elementary and Carmel Clay Schools.”

To watch a short video on the 2019 CCS Teacher of the Year, please visit:


About Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year

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 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