Special Services teacher remembered

Charlie LaRocca, Staff Writer

Center Grove Special Services teacher Ian Slatter passed away on Friday, May 6 due to complications associated with cancer. Slatter joined the Center Grove family midway through the 2021-2022 school year and quickly made a lasting impact on his small group of students in the northwest corner of the building. Compassionate and patient, Slatter made sure to connect with every one of his students like a friend, forming strong bonds with them and bringing an important light to the sometimes dull school day. 

“Mr. Slatter was a very nice and compassionate teacher,” Matthew Phillips ‘24, a student who knew Slatter well, said. “I feel he kept control of the classroom even in difficult situations. It was difficult adjusting to having a different teacher in the middle of the school year, but the way that he addressed his classroom was unmatched. He will be missed by his community and his students.”

If there was down time in Slatter’s classes, students would find him in the midst of a high-stakes chess game with one of his students, a special activity Slater engaged in that underscores the charm and genuine heart he brought to school with him every day. Whether he was squaring off with one of his students or serving as referee for a competition between others, he integrated chess into the day-to-day operations of class time.

I had no idea how many kids knew how to play, and because Mr. Slatter loved playing and understood the game so well, it was a great way to build relationships,” fellow Special Services teacher Lisa Lage said. “Sometimes in the quiet moments of the classroom chess game, you would suddenly hear a dramatic conversation burst out. The kids loved challenging a move, questioning his plays, or thinking they were going to take the game.

Slatter did not begin his career in the field of education. He left a role in government service to dedicate his time and energy to the next generation. As a last honor before his passing, the Indiana State Treasurer awarded Slatter the Sentinel of the Vault Award, a prestigious commemoration of his work as communication director of the Indiana Treasurer’s office.