LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Andrea Flynn

Position: French Language Teacher
School: Portage High School
School District: Portage Township Schools
City, State: Portage, IN

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Andrea Flynn was nominated by multiple family members.

The minimum requirements for one to be a Life Changer are just the beginning for Ms. Flynn. She not only upholds the highest standards in education for her students, but advocates for them and their futures every day of the year. Students call her "Ma" which is short for the French "Madame" but is also their way of calling her "mom" for the affection they feel toward her. She has had students come to her confiding their deepest fears and secrets, including abuse in the home, crisis pregnancies, or suicidal thoughts. She has walked with them through those hours and days, helping them find safe harbor in their darkest times of need.

Ms. Flynn treats her students as her own family. When somebody passes away, she is treated by the surviving family as an immediate relative and offered a place of honor at the funeral. When former students graduate from college or go on to marry, she is invited and treated as a special guest. Her classroom is a virtual wonderland of foreign culture and experience, immersing her students in the dynamic world of French and German landscapes, language and culture. Annually, she takes her students to Chicago to experience the Christmas Trees Around the World display at the Museum of Science and Industry, followed by a meal together and some Christmas shopping on the Magnificent Mile. Her fundraising leadership has allowed many classes to participate in field trips to cultural events that would otherwise be virtually unattainable. Her devotion to her teaching and her students shows that education isn't just a job or even a career for her. It's the fulfillment of her calling. 

Ms. Flynn does all of this with two special needs children at home. She is the mother of a daughter and two sons. Both of her sons are on the Autism Spectrum, and one of them has profound hearing and speech delays and communication difficulties. While she devotes more time to her children than many parents, she remains unceasingly committed to her students as well. 

Ms. Flynn has two Master's Degrees in education and French, with an emphasis on the history of language and grammar. She understands French and the very nature of language itself from an absolutely fundamental perspective. But that, by itself, does not make her qualified to teach. She has a natural talent for imparting her love of knowledge and language to others. More importantly, she possesses the desire to make other people's lives better. She knows that education is the key to achieve that. She wants every person to be educated and have equal access to justice, to work, to resources and to equity. Ms. Flynn moves the needle every day in that direction by her teaching.

Comments (19)

Desiree Garnett Posted 12 months ago

Great job, you deserve this! <3

Norma Santiago (Maceo) Posted 12 months ago

Mrs.Flynn is such an awesome teacher to have! I remember taking her French class and I loved that more than just teach the French language, she taught us about the French culture. Her class was one of the first things that really made me think about continuing my education. While I did not take French in college, I still remember frases that were taught in her class. Mrs.Flynn was one of those teachers you have an never forget. She had a huge impact on me because of the type of person she is.

Brianne Cipich Posted 12 months ago

Madame Flynn was more than just a teacher to me, she offered true, genuine support and went above and beyond to help every student succeed in and out the classroom. French was my favorite class in high school because of the way Madame Flynn challenged me yet always left me feeling so encouraged with her words of wisdom, not just about studying for French class, but regarding all aspects of life. Educators who care for their students the way Madame Flynn does are hard to come by and I’m grateful that I was lucky enough to end up in her class.

Elizabeth Gertzen Posted 12 months ago

Ms Flynn was Mayra's favorite teacher and biggest influence. When Mayra passed, Ms Flynn stopped everything to help Mayra's family communicate with French authorities at the embassy and with Mayras husband's family who only spoke French. I know this is just one example of her character. I wasn't even her student but she always treated me as one. She deserves this more than anyone I know.

Khadija Posted 12 months ago

My comment will be in french. Merci pour ce que vous faites Mme Flynn. Merci pour l'aide que vous avez apporté à mon fils et votre réelle implication. On sent que vous aimez ce que vous faites et vous le faites bien. Vous manquez beaucoup à mon fils et il espère vraiment vous avoir comme professeur plus tard. Encore merci.

Dana Posted 12 months ago

Congrats on your nomination, I hope you go all the way!

Cindy Tuitman Posted 12 months ago

Mrs Flynn certainly cares about her students. She treats them like they are her own children. My son is one of her students and talks about how much she cares everyday. She has won over his confidence and that’s hard to do. He feels like she is a mentor and friend and has his best interest at heart.

Shawn Chamberlain Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Flynn encouraged my daughter and that led to a language immersion program in France. She is an amazing human being and mother!

Melissa Deavers-Lowie Posted over a year ago

Andrea is a truly one-of-a-kind educator who takes the success and well-being on her students to heart. As a World Languages teacher at Portage High School, Andrea challenges her students every day with a rigorous and engaging curriculum. She sets the bar high, and her students rise to the occasion every time. This is because Andrea works hard to form personal relationships with her students. She develops trust and mutual respect with her students, and they want to work hard for her. In addition to a rigorous teaching schedule, Andrea is very involved in school and district initiatives. As the department chair of the World Langauges department, she keeps all of her fellow teachers informed and ensures everyone has the tools they need to be successful. She is also a member of the school’s Site-Based Team and Districy Quality Schools Team. These organizations at the school and district levels, respectively, discuss best practices in education and provide input into what initiatives will best serve our students. Andrea’s passion for education reaches far beyond her own classroom and has had a profound effect on all of Portage Township Schools. Andrea is the best of the best. Her passion for teaching, dedication to her students, and kind heart make her an exceptional educator.

Jaime Reed Posted over a year ago

Good luck!!

Elizabeth Saeed Posted over a year ago

I am former student of Madame Flynn, and I am now a teacher in the same district as her. Madame Flynn was there for you whenever you needed her, whether it was home life or school related. I always enjoy running into her at school events and seeing her in the community!

Grace Hilsmier Posted over a year ago

Andrea Flynn was never my teacher, but she taught my friends, and they always spoke glowingly of her. Now, as a fellow Portage teacher, I see her dedication on a regular basis, even though we don't even work in the same building. I've seen her tutoring students after school and working tirelessly to support the kids. But most importantly to me, personally, when my friend and her former student passed away in a car accident in France, Andrea stepped in and acted as a liaison between the family and France so that my friend's body could be returned to the people who loved her in the US. She is a real hero and a role model for us rookie teachers in the district.

Katie Ewoldt Posted over a year ago

I worked with Andrea at Portage High School before I retired in 2015. She was always a high energy person who was extremely positive in her outlook and in her work. She is an excellent educator. She has the ability to draw students in and help them recognize their own strengths while encouraging their love of learning. She had wonderful rapport with her students. She was a valued co-worker for the entire staff. She is an excellent candidate for this recognition.

Haley Adcock Posted over a year ago

I never had Madame Flynn in class but throughout my high school career I’ve never doubted her as anything less then amazing. She always has a smile on her face, willing to communicate with coworkers even if they aren’t teaching the same thing, and always willing to lend a hand to support students and staff the best she can. I not only see her everyday in the hall going to English but she was also my proctor for the SAT in December and I was honored to have such an amazing person like her in the classroom. She stands up for what she believes in there’s no doubt about that and anyone who has, had or will have her as a teacher will always remember her as a ray of sunshine at the end of a tunnel that made their day one to remember with the encouraging words and smile she gives each and everyday even trough her own struggles she may have.

Destiny Lewis Posted over a year ago

Madame Flynn is one of the greatest educators and person I’ve ever met. She goes above and beyond in all that she does! Portage is lucky to have her!

Cheryl Clapp Posted over a year ago

Andrea is an amazing woman! She’s constantly going, and never turns back. She’s a go getter!

Nichole Haley Posted over a year ago

Thank you for investing into the students of Portage!

Tami Pender-Rigg Posted over a year ago

Andrea, is an excellent educator who cares deeply for her students.

Teresa Mansfield Posted over a year ago

Madame Flynn is a not “just a teacher”- she is an educational warrior, who vigorously fights to protect and improve educational opportunities for all children, and helps educate everyone on anything that threatens to negatively impact our schools and younger generations. She champions continuous improvement and is an incredible steward for learning. She is also a highly esteemed confident, protector, comforter, and friend to not only her students put her peers as well as ANYONE who is hurting, weak, scared, abused, or lonely. She makes the world a better place every day- and her students see this and grow to emulate her noble virtues themselves for the rest of their lives. Through her daily efforts, the seeds of leadership, compassion, and drive to make things better each day are indelibly planted into each person she helps. Her positive impact is global through the work of those she has taught and inspired. She is one in a million, and a true asset to her school, community and students. They are extremely blessed to have her by their side.