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CROWN POINT — Jerome Flewelling has been a role model for his students at Crown Point High School. 

Now the physics teacher will be a role model for all the teachers in the state as Flewelling was named the 2018 Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Department of Education. 

The award was announced at the high school Thursday to a surprised Flewelling, who was greeted by family, friends and colleagues waiting for him with state education officials in a room near the school's cafeteria.

Also there were his students, who Flewelling said inspire him to do more, be more and live more in and out of the classroom.

"It's because of you that I'm here," Flewelling said. "You motivate me to be creative and courageous every day in the classroom, and your passion is contagious."

Flewelling, or "Mr. Flew" as his students call him, said he's a reflection of his family, the school and the community.

"I hope that I reflect you well," he said.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick told Flewelling's students they are blessed to have the state's best teacher at their high school.

"Jerome's career has been nothing short of diligently preparing his students for life beyond high school," she said. "I am honored to present this award to him. I know he will continue to represent his profession and our fellow teachers as well."

The 2017 Teacher of the Year, Jitka Nelson, of Logansport, said she sat in Flewelling's classroom and witnessed a commitment to learning and how his students' eyes would light up when she asked about their teacher.

"Students believe in you," she told Flewelling.

Crown Point High School senior Nick Ryan does believe. He said Flewelling connected with him and made him realize how much he loves physics. 

"He's the kind of teacher who will go out of his way to make you know what you are doing and when you are doing it," Ryan said. "He will help you any way he can. He answers emails late at night even when you are trying to do homework. He will go the extra mile for anyone he can."

Crown Point High School Principal Chip Pettit said Flewelling has been a wonderful role model for teachers in the school and for the community for some time.

"We are all very pleased he'll now have the opportunity to serve the state of Indiana and the teachers in the state of Indiana as a role model," he said.

Crown Point schools Superintendent Teresa Eineman said during his tenure as Teacher of the Year, Flewelling will represent the school corporation and share first and foremost his love of students.

"He will be forever changed knowing all our teachers touch lives," she said. 

Flewelling is a graduate of Taylor University with a bachelor's degree in science, physics and education. He has served in education for more than 20 years, first at Frankton Junior/Senior High School as a physics and astronomy teacher.

According to the IDOE website, the last Teacher of the Year recipient from Northwest Indiana was Katherine Stahl, of Hammond's Maywood Elementary School, in 1995.

As the 2018 Teacher of the Year, Flewelling will represent Indiana in the National Teacher of the Year competition. 


Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.