The American Legion, Department of Indiana is proud to announce the selection of Carla Bluhm (Monroe, IN), Paul Hewitt (Vevay, IN) and Michael Lance (Leo, IN) as the 2017 Educators of the Year.
Every year the American Legion Department of Indiana recognizes educators in three categories: kindergarten through 6th grade, 7th and 8th grades, and high school.
The Educator of the Year judging is based on the candidates’ career, community service, family involvement, and letters of recognition.
Each winning teacher also received a $500 grant to their school from the American Legion, Department of Indiana.
The winner for kindergarten through 6th grade was, Carla Bluhm.
Bluhm was sponsored by Post 468, from the Fourth District.
Bluhm has been teaching elementary school students for 31 years. She earned her Bachelor degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University in 1984. She started her teaching career as a Kindergarten teacher for Southern Wells Community Schools.
In 1989, she became a 2nd grade teacher for Southern Wells. Bluhm continued to teach 2nd grade until the year 2000 when you took a position as a reading recovery teacher at Adams Central Community Schools.
Throughout her teaching career, she has stressed the importance of parent involvement in the classroom. She continually brings in “parent volunteers” to be involved in classroom activities. Bluhm says, “It not only develops a positive teacher/parent relationship, but it also allows parents to be involved in their children’s education”.
She is also very active in her community. She has volunteered in multiple positions at the First Mennonite Church such as: Sunday school teacher, piano player and Bible school teacher. She has been a leader for the Adams County 4-H for 15 years. She has always volunteered for Pack Away Hunger for 5 years and roadside trash pick-up for 10 years.
The grades 7 and 8 Educator of the Year is Paul Eugene Hewitt.
Hewitt was sponsored by Post 185 in the 9th District.
Hewitt started his teaching career at Switzerland County Schools teaching 8th grade Health and Physical Education and High School History. He says that teaching physical education highlighted his love of teaching sports.
Hewitt has coached multiple sports at Switzerland County Schools including: 8th Grade Boys Basketball, Jr. High Track and Cross Country, Junior Varsity Basketball, Varsity Baseball and Athletic Director.
Hewitt says that one of the biggest rewards of his teaching career has been the opportunity to take 8th graders to Gettysburg and Washington D.C. He said, “This is the chance of a lifetime for some of our students. Most wont admit it, but I think this is a part of their life they will never forget”.
Hewitt is currently teaching Health and Physical Education and Social Studies at Switzerland County Schools.
The high school Educator of the Year is Michael F. Lance.
Lance was sponsored by Post 409 in the 4th District.
Lance started his teaching career in the year 2000 as a Severe Behavior Handicapped Teacher at the Western Buckeye Educational Servicing Center in Van Wert, Ohio. In 2003, Lance relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana where he started teaching 6th grade Social Studies at Prince Chapman Academy.
After a year at Prince Chapmen, Lance took a position as a Social Studies Teacher at Leo Jr/Sr High School in Leo, Indiana.
Lance has also dedicated time to extracurricular activities. He has help many coaching positions during his career including: 8th Grade Football, Junior Varsity Baseball, 9th Grade Football and Varsity Assistant Football Coach.
Lance has also volunteered for multiple community service activities. He has volunteered for the Special Olympics and the Miss Virginia House. He has also coordinated multiple events to help veterans in the community. Since 2008 he has organized the collection of Veteran’s Day cards for the Indiana Veterans Home.
Lance has been a member of the Sons of the American Legion since 2010.
The American Legion, Department of Indiana honors local heroes in the fields of military service, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services, and educators every year in communities across Indiana.
The American Legion is comprised of more than 77,000 military service veterans who have served honorably during times of conflict in defense of their nation and has been active within Indiana since 1919. The Indiana American Legion has represented veterans from every major conflict since World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan within its membership.
Together, we change lives for Veterans, their families and their communities.
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