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Indiana names all educators Teacher of the Year
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Indiana names all educators Teacher of the Year

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Back to school: Frankie McCullough Academy

Frankie McCullough Academy teacher Lenetha Patterson directs students to their classrooms on the first day of school this August in Gary. The Indiana Department of Education is recognizing all Indiana teachers collectively as its 2021 Teacher of the Year amid educators' response to rapid change during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

INDIANAPOLIS — All Indiana teachers will get to call themselves Teacher of the Year in 2021.

The Indiana Department of Education announced Tuesday it would collectively recognize all Hoosier teachers with its annual Teacher of the Year title, typically given to just one K-12 educator.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick made the announcement in a Tuesday morning webinar among school leaders across the state noting teachers who have stepped up to serve their students and communities during the unexpected challenges brought by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"It’s our way to show as much respect and gratitude and recognition for all of you through this entire process," McCormick said in the Tuesday webinar.

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The IDOE has led its Teacher of the Year recognition program for more than 60 years, according to a department news release. Typically, school districts are encouraged to select school-level and district-level teachers of the year to advance to the state level for screening by a selection committee of former Teacher of the Year recipients, IDOE staff and other community, business and higher education leaders.

The 2020 Teacher of the Year is Katie Pourcho, an elementary school art teacher in the Danville Community School Corp.

Crown Point English teacher Annie Lorek was a top 10 finalist in the 2020 program. Crown Point's Jerome Flewelling — a high school physics, mechanics and chemistry teacher — was given the state's top honor for the 2018 year.

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IDOE plans to resume its traditional selection process for its 2022 program, according to the news release.

Teachers this year have gone above and beyond their academic responsibilities, McCormick said Tuesday, describing the many educators who promoted food distribution programs, organized community parades and reworked lesson plans with little notice in an effort to serve Indiana's 1.2 million students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought new complexities and challenges to schools with no advance warning,” McCormick said in a news release. “Teachers across our state have displayed a level of flexibility and commitment, underscoring the fact Hoosiers really are #INthisTogether.”

Gallery: Let's celebrate Region teachers

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