Ann West-Walker, pictured Jan. 9, 2013, is among those nominated as a Marcher for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award Breakfast sponsored by the Gary (Ind.) Frontiers Service Club. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:18AM
Ann West-Walker came to Gary in 1962 from Indianola, Miss., to seek culture and employment.
In 51 years as a resident, she found both and has made a difference in the community. West-Walker has been named a Marcher for the Gary Frontiers Service Club’s Drum Major Award Breakfast honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event is sold out.
“When I was told about the nomination, I was humbled and appreciative that the Gary Frontiers would recognize my work in the community,” she said. “I get a great deal of satisfaction helping people in the city.”
West-Walker has a lengthy résumé in elementary education, entrepreneurship and real estate. She works at Williams Elementary, and her foundation is education.
West-Walker has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Mississippi Valley State University, and a master’s in elementary education from Indiana University Northwest.
Four years after arriving here with her family, West-Walker began substitute teaching in the Gary schools, then was an administrator for the Early Learner program at the Baber Youth Center for 10 years.
She then held various titles at Carver Elementary School for 25 years, including curriculum writer. West-Walker also has served as community coordinator for the Read and Rise Program, which partnered the Gary schools with the Urban League of Northwest Indiana. Under the late president and CEO Eloise Gentry, West-Walker scheduled area professionals to read to Carver students.
West-Walker teaches children about freedom and history by using poetry she’s written to highlight African-American leaders, heroes and icons.
“The children really get into the poetry readings,” she said.
One poem, “The Lady in the Struggle,” honors the late Coretta Scott-King, wife of Rev. King. In 1987, West-Walker had the honor of hosting Scott-King in her home during a visit to Gary.
“She was so elegant,” West-Walker said.