Inver Grove Heights native wins 'Educator of the Year' Peabody

Surrounded by some of his family, Inver Grove Heights native and Indiana principal Tim McIntosh holds up a check he received after being named "Educator of the Year" at Peabody Energy's Leaders in Education Awards dinner. (Submitted photo)

Growing up in Inver Grove Heights, Tim McIntosh had great teachers.

"I can still name off every one of my elementary teachers; the high school and middle school teachers are tremendous," McIntosh said in a recent phone interview.

The 54-year-old's Inver Grove Heights upbringing helped steer him towards a career in education. His mom, a homemaker, school kitchen worker and data processor, and his dad, an army man who worked nights as a janitor for 20 years and then as a guard at 3M for 25 years, stressed the importance of education. 

"Whether it be a trade or college, (education) would hopefully provide opportunities when they arose; that if it was blue collar or white collar career we would choose, having a certification, skilled trade or post-secondary education would make us more marketable when we would be searching for jobs and choosing a career," McIntosh said.

Now McIntosh, the principal at Helfrich Park STEM Academy in Evansville, Indiana, is being recognized for his influence in education — and for encouraging kids to succeed. He recently was named "Educator of the Year" at Peabody Energy's Leaders in Education Awards dinner. 

McIntosh was selected from 30 outstanding honorees and received $5,000 for the honor, according to a press release. 

The Peabody Energy Leaders in Education program rewards dedicated education professionals — from teachers and coaches to librarians and counselors — who inspire and motivate youths to succeed. A committee of top educators and business leaders anonymously select award recipients throughout the school year.

According to the press release, McIntosh's leadership has helped drastically improve his school's test scores, while he still treated each student like an individual — like "more than a test score." 

"He inspires his staff and others by his incredible ability to motivate students and his incessant pursuit of excellence," the press release said.

 “We are thrilled to honor Tim for his outstanding and inspiring work at Helfrich Park STEM Academy,” said Gregory H. Boyce, chairman and chief executive officer of Peabody Energy in a statement. “Leadership in education, as shown by Tim, is the reason we created the Leaders in Education program — to recognize and honor these committed educators.” 

McIntosh, who graduated from Simley High School, is no stranger to accolades. The Indiana Association of School Principals has honored him as "Principal of The Year."

But despite the recognition, McIntosh points to his teachers, students and community support for the school's success.

"I ride a lot of coattails around here," he said. "My whole role is to support."

McIntosh has four kids with his wife of 28 years, Lori. He's been at Helfrich for 13 years, 11 of which he's been principal, he said. His siblings live in Inver Grove Heights, Korea and Chicago.

—Kaitlyn Roby

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