Simon Youth Foundation honors Grimes


A local school board member and teacher who recently battled cancer has been honored at the national level for his work in education.

Todd Grimes, lead teacher at Simon Youth Academy at the Greenfield-Central Community School Corp. and Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. board member, has been named Simon Youth Foundation’s (SYF) 2023 Teacher of the Year.

The national nonprofit, which is dedicated to helping students graduate, announced the news at an awards ceremony during its annual national conference in Orlando, Fla.

“Congratulations and thank you Todd Grimes, who is so deserving of this honor and award,” said foundation President and CEO Andrea L. Neely in an official statement. “SYF believes that all youth, no matter their personal circumstances, should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams through education, and Todd Grimes is an example of how we fulfill our mission, because of his passion and dedication to student success.”

Grimes received a $2,500 honorarium in recognition of his service.

“It sounds so cliché to say that I don’t teach for recognition, which is certainly the case,” he said. “But it is pretty cool to win this award among so many other passionate, deserving educators from across the nation.”

Officials noted Grimes remained dedicated to helping students even in the midst of a uniquely difficult time.

Grimes was initially diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and told in May of 2022 that he had about a year to live, he said. However, after further biopsies, doctors discovered that the cancer was limited to his pancreas.

He has since undergone surgery and chemotherapy, and his cancer is in remission. He said he is “taking life three months at a time, in between bloodwork and scans.”

“As he was going through treatments, surgeries, and recovery, against the advice of his doctors to rest, Grimes continued to check in on student progress on a weekly basis and managed to call and email teachers with suggestions to ensure students continue to make progress towards graduation,” Simon Youth Foundation officials said. “Grimes made an effort to remain in contact with students as much as possible, even subjecting himself to a few Zoom calls with the entire student body when he was not feeling his best. He has proved to be one of the most selfless, kind, caring and genuine people.”

Grimes said that receiving the national award is “quite an honor.”

“I’m in my 33rd year (of teaching) and hopefully have several to go,” he said.