PCSC Teacher of the Year logo

For a teacher, the respect of your students, their parents, and your colleagues is hard to top. For that reason, Plainfield's Teacher of the Year process includes nominations from staff, with the final selection committee made up of school and community stakeholders.

Due to COVID-19, Indiana's 2021 Teacher of the Year program was set aside, instead honoring all teachers throughout the state for their heroic efforts to pivot to online learning, practically overnight.


  • 2022 Liza Payton, PHS

  • 2021 All Teachers

  • 2020  Adam Ferguson, PHS

  • 2019  Ann Mennonno, Clark Creek

  • 2018  Brad DeHoff, PCMS

  • 2017  Michelle Burress, PHS

  • 2016  Jonelle Heaton, PHS

  • 2015  Krissy Sullivan, Brentwood

  • 2014  Susan Ament, PHS

  • 2012  Natalie Boyer, Brentwood

  • 2011  Andrea Birke, PHS

  • 2010  Elizabeth Fisher, PCMS

  • 2009  Judy Reed, Brentwood

  • 2008  Chris Cavanaugh, PHS

  • 2007  Joan Effinger, PCMS

  • 2006  Susan Gabonay, Brentwood

  • 2005  Teri Carpenter, PHS

  • 2004  Larry Castor, PCMS

  • 2003  Mary Winters, Van Buren

  • 2002  Laurie Gatlin, PHS

  • 2001  Jon Arvin, PCMS

  • 2000  Teresa Walters, Van Buren

  • 1999  Ray Saxman, PHS

  • 1998  Martha Jennings, PCMS

  • 1997  Nell Voelker, Van Buren

  • 1996  Carol Kellogg, PHS

  • 1995  Don Dones, PCMS

  • 1994  John Chapin, Van Buren

  • 1993  Jerry Hankins, PHS

  • 1992  Kathy Owen, PCMS

  • 1991  Pat Lilly, Brentwood

  • 1990  Bruce Milburn, PHS

2022 Plainfield Teacher of the Year, Liza Payton, shown here with her AP Seminar English class.

The standards and expectations for teachers are high in Plainfield. We hire the best of the best, and hold everyone accountable. So when it comes time for the Teacher of the Year process, there is no question that the person selected is truly an outstanding educator. 

Earlier today, Superintendent Scott Olinger visited a classroom to share the news that PHS English teacher, Liza Payton, has earned the title of Plainfield Schools 2022 Teacher of the Year. From the reaction of her students, it’s clear that they appreciate the significance of the honor and agree with her selection.  

Superintendent Scott Olinger introduces 2022 Plainfield Teacher of the Year, Liza Payton, with PHS Principal Mel Siefert

Liza left Pike Township for Plainfield in 2004. With wide-ranging courses that include Freshman Honors English, an English remediation course, to courses that focus on novels and etymology, and two AP courses plus a Dual-Credit Composition course (offered through Indiana University), Liza’s strong, but quiet personality reaches many students every day. 

With a philosophy that serious learning should be grounded in fun, interesting and engaging work, it’s no surprise that her students look forward to class. Whether it’s the annual March Madness Literature tradition, her creation of games to introduce problem solving, repetition and communication skills to the learning process, or her focus on communication and collaboration in the daily class experience, Liza shares her own love of learning with students. 

Of course, classroom instruction and impact is a significant part of the Teacher of the Year consideration, but community service is also considered. Liza is the founding sponsor of the PHS Interact Club, which is related to the International Rotary program, and affiliated with Plainfield's Rotary chapter. Interact chapters must serve their local community, while also taking on an international service project. As the club sponsor, Liza’s role is to allow club members to learn about leadership while making their own decisions, at the same time helping them understand the importance of scope and reality. Along the way, students and Liza have discovered that their capacity to meet big goals should never be underestimated.

Over the summer, Liza will complete the in-depth application to the Indiana Department of Education’s state Teacher of the Year program, and all who know her have no doubt that she is an excellent candidate for the state's highest educator award.