Each year Teachers College (TC) honors a few of our outstanding alumni with awards that celebrate the impact that they have on their community, field, and the TC family.
Kristen Poindexter – Teachers College Outstanding Alumni Award Winner
Kristen Poindexter is a recipient of a Teachers College Outstanding Alumni Award. She graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a Kindergarten Endorsement, and again in 2012 with a master’s degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement. She has been a kindergarten teacher at Washington Township in Indianapolis for 22 years. Her favorite subject to teach is science, and she is currently working on earning an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Science Education from Indiana University.
What made you want to earn a degree in education?
I came out of the womb teaching! I used to sit my younger brother and sister up in their bouncy seats as infants and teach them. Teaching is the amazing gift I was given and I truly don’t know what else I would do. It is who I am and what I was put on the earth to do.
What made you choose Ball State?
A church member (who happened to be a teacher) overheard me one day talking about college when I was 15 or 16 and she told me all about Ball State and their reputation for having an amazing Teachers College. She looked at me and said, “Kristen, if you want to be the best teacher you can be, you need to go to Ball State.” It was the only college I applied to and really the only college I wanted to be at and learn my craft at. She told me all about the EXEL cohort and I was able to be part of that one of the last years it happened.
Do you have a favorite part of your time at Ball State? What do you look back on and remember fondly?
I made the MOST amazing group of friends while I lived in Painter/Whitcraft. We are STILL friends and our senior year, we all shared a floor in Baker/Klipple. Each Thursday night, we would get together, no matter what we all had going on and find the biggest table we could in Noyer and eat a meal together. It was like Thanksgiving once a week!
I also remember how dedicated all my TC instructors were. They knew me by name and loved our little cohort so much. Even when I returned to pursue my master’s degree, many of them still remembered me.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your time at Ball State? Any fun projects you worked on? Favorite class/professor/experience?
I am TRULY so thankful that all the parts fell into place so that I could attend Ball State. I tell other educators all the time, that everything I learned about education and teaching, I learned from the best at Ball State. I loved every single one of my EDEL classes and still use much of what I learned in them today, even after 22 years.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out at Ball State
Find your group! Find them and then find time once a week to sit down and enjoy a meal together.
What is your favorite part of working in education?
My favorite subject to teach is Science. I would teach science all day to Kindergarten students if I could. I have made it my mission to help other teachers understand that young children can, and do, understand science, more so than we know. Although it is difficult not to tell them all the answers, I find myself teaching less and less each year and facilitating more and more.
I am a lifelong learner, so any day I can be in a classroom with children, I learn something new! It might be a new joke or the latest toy my students are interested in, or it might be a new strategy for teaching students about words or numbers, but I get to learn something new every day. I also enjoy sparking a student’s curiosity about something new to get them excited. Seeing their faces light up and then checking back in with them later to find out what they discovered, that just makes my day.
Do you have any hobbies, or favorite things you do to relax?
I am a crafter, so I have my own little side business where I make tumblers, shirts, and other craft items.
Fun fact about yourself:
I am a huge IndyCar fan and had the privilege of teaching the children of my favorite race car driver. It was so cool to be able to pick his brain about the science in racing and then to see him as a parent helping in the classroom as well.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Anything you would like to share about your career, or family? How you felt when you found out that you won the award? Any career goals you’d like to reach?
My husband also attended Ball State the same time I did and we lived one floor apart. He nominated me for this award and I had no idea that he did until I received the letter telling me I was the recipient! He collected letters of support from my colleagues and principal without me knowing. He’s my biggest cheerleader!
Once I am done with my EdD, it is my hope to be the new director of our expanding early learning center. I would love to see it be a STEM early learning center using Reggio principles so that all students attending it would have an amazing foundation before entering Kindergarten.
I have truly been blessed to have so many cool opportunities placed in front of me and even though I am not a huge fan of change at all, each one of those experiences, starting with being overheard at church and coming to Ball State has completely changed any trajectory I ever saw for myself!