FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A social studies teacher at New Tech Academy has been named the 2016 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year.

Jeff Roberts was named the district’s top teacher in a ceremony at Wayne High School on Monday. The 15-year veteran educator has been at New Tech Academy for four years.

New Tech Academy teacher Mark Roberts, left, was named 2016 Fort Wayne Community Schools Teacher of the Year on Monday, May 23, 2016.

“Jeff is a valuable member not only of the New Tech team and Wayne family but of the district as a whole,” said Dr. Wendy Robinson. “He doesn’t look at his students as just students; he treats them as he would his own children, which means he holds them to high standards but also is compassionate when he knows they are struggling with issues inside or outside the school building. He is creating leaders who are ready for college or careers after graduation by teaching them the skills they need to be problem-solvers.”

A press release from the district said Roberts was selected as Teacher of the Year because of his passion for providing a rigorous education in an environment that helps students understand the relevance of what they are learning. He develops relationships with each student as individuals, serving as a mentor to many.

“Relevance and rigor can never be truly developed and nurtured without relationship building,” said Roberts, whose mother and two brothers are all district educators. “My students can be challenged and pushed because each student can trust that I am doing my personal best to get their personal best every day.”

Candidates for Teacher of the Year are nominated by building principals with finalists chosen by a committee of administrators. The other finalists this year were Julie Cox, chemistry teacher at Wayne High School; Erica Klee, art teacher at Shawnee Middle School; Benjamin McIntosh, social studies teacher at Lane Middle School; and Sherry Sheppard, art teacher at North Side High School.

Roberts and the finalists will be honored at a School Board meeting in the fall. He will also be nominated for Indiana Teacher of the Year.