Business education is about more than teaching for Dena Irwin, ’94.
The Indiana State University graduate and teacher is ready to take her passion for the subject to the state level after being named the state program leader for business, information technology, entrepreneurship and marketing education.
“I was invited by the Indiana Department of Education to apply for the position this fall, and I was honored to be a candidate and to be interviewed,” she said. “As program leader at the Indiana Department of Education, I will work with Indiana business teachers and school administrators to develop new courses and update existing ones with new standards and content. I will be working with Indiana’s universities on their pre-service education programs while seeking educational resources that help teachers to be more effective.”
After graduating from North Putnam High School in 1980, Irwin worked at Terre Haute Savings Bank from 1981-86. She then became an assistant branch manager at Sullivan-Peoples State Bank until the fall of 1990 when she enrolled at Indiana State.
Prior to graduating from Indiana State, Irwin served as an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College, where she has taught keyboarding and computer software. She also taught at Vincennes University teaching keyboarding before being hired by Clay City High School.
Since she graduated from Indiana State with a degree in business education, Irwin has been a business teacher and taught a plethora of business courses at Clay City High School, Bloomington High School South, and for the past 18 years, at Shakamak Junior-Senior High School.
Now in her 21st year of teaching, the mother of two said the skills she first learned in her high school business courses made her marketable for a career in business. When students take business education courses, they are learning life skills — being a good consumer, balancing a checkbook, making sound investments and preparing a resume and cover letter, to name a few.
“Transitioning from the classroom to the IDOE is exciting to me, because I will be able to help all of Indiana’s business teachers help their students to improve their future endeavors,” she said. “Just as my high school business teacher did for me.”
Irwin says she “worshiped” her business teacher, Veronica Liebold Cook, ’75, GR, ’78.
“Teaching business was a perfect fit for me,” she said. “Students learn these skills while still in high school and use them their entire lives. The business information and practices they learn are useful in making college and employment decisions and in developing personal and business/professional characteristics and expertise essential for success. I’m living proof of that.”